Monday, February 25, 2013

How to use Furigana Inserter in Chrome and Firefox to add furigana to any Japanese webpage

振り仮名ふりがなFurigana is a Japanese reading aid, consisting of small phonetic characters printed above a word with Chinese characters to indicate the characters' pronunciation (as seen to the right). It's used in materials for native-Japanese kids who are still learning the characters and in materials for native-Japanese adults for very difficult characters, but it also has obvious uses for language learners.

Furigana Inserter is an extension for Chrome and for Firefox that will let you add furigana to any open webpage. With Furigana Inserter, you can turn this:

into this:

So as you can see, it's a pretty useful extension for a Japanese learner. Once convenient use for this is adding pronunciation info to dictionaries that don't have them out of the box (ALC, I'm looking at you).

The following instructions lay out the simple steps to get it up and running in Chrome and the not-so-simple steps to get it up and running in Firefox on a Mac.

Chrome

The process for getting this up and running in Chrome is simple and quick (hat tip Yonasu for pointing me to the Chrome version).
  1. If you don't have it already, download Chrome, install it, and open it.

  2. In Chrome, open this link to the Furigana Inserter extension, click "Add to Chrome", and follow the instructions to install it.

  3. Go to a page with Japanese text for which you want to add furigana and click on the "振" button on the right side of the address bar. You should now have furigana right in your browser.

Repeat the last step each time you want to add furigana to webpage.

Firefox

Things are a bit more complicated in Firefox. Unfortunately, the extension's website is very light on instructions on how to install it, and even lighter on how to install it on a Mac, but if Firefox is your browser of choice, strap on your installation seat belt because it's gonna be quite a ride.
  1. If you don't have it already, download Firefox, install it, and open it.

  2. In Firefox, open this link to the Furigana Inserter extension, click "Add to Firefox", and follow the instructions to install it.

  3. In Firefox, open this link to the HTML Ruby extension, click "Add to Firefox", and follow the instructions to install it. Furigana Inserter needs this to run.

  4. Download the most recent version of the Furigana Inserter dictionary, which will be saved as a compressed 7z file. Furigana Inserter also needs this to run.

  5. Download The Unarchiver, which is free and can expand 7z files, and install it.

  6. Double click on the Furigana Inserter dictionary's downloaded 7z file. The Unarchiver will expand this to an .xpi file.

  7. In Firefox: from the "File" menu, select "Open"; in the "Open File" window, navigate to and select the expanded .xpi file; and follow the instructions to install the dictionary.

  8. Quit Firefox.

  9. Open Terminal.app and, at the prompt, copy and paste in the following and then press return:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)"

    This will start the installation of Homebrew, which in turn will allow you to easily install Mecab, which is a database that Furigana Inserter will use to determine where one Japanese word begins and where the next ends.

  10. Wait a bit and then press return again. This will actually begin the installation of Homebrew.

  11. In Terminal.app at the prompt, copy and paste in the following and then press return:
    brew doctor

    This will flag any issues that Homebrew finds on your Mac that may interfere with things, and the number of issues it finds will depend on how much you've mucked around on your Mac. For instance, I had to install Xcode and do a bunch of other things before I got the all-clear:

    Your system is raring to brew.

    You can try to skip this step and Furigana Inserter might still work, but I wasn't able to get it to work until I dealt with all the issues that brew doctor pointed out.

  12. In Terminal.app at the prompt, copy and paste in the following and then press return:
    brew install mecab

    This installs the base mecab package.

  13. In Terminal.app at the prompt, copy and paste in the following and then press return:
    brew install mecab-ipadic

    This installs another mecab package that you'll need.

  14. In Terminal.app at the prompt, copy and paste in the following and then press return:
    ln -s /usr/local/lib/libmecab.dylib ~/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox/Profiles/default.fow/extensions/furiganainserter@zorkzero.net/mecab/libmecab.dll

    This creates some kind of link that you need, and I do it because this guy says you need to.

  15. Open Firefox, go to a page with Japanese text for which you want to add furigana, right click on the page, and select "Insert Furigana". You should now have furigana right in your browser.

Although the above is quite a long set-up process for Firefox, each time you want to do it, once again the only step you need to worry about is the very last one.

1 comment:

  1. For Mozilla Firefox skip all the STEP 4 onwards

    - Go to furiganainserter-dictionary.xpi that you already extracted
    - Right click and select "open"
    - Click on "Select a program from a list of installed program" and "OK"
    - Click "Browse" and choose "Mozilla Firefox"
    - Add-on window will be opened, wait a few secs and click "Install"
    - Restart Firefox and do STEP 15

    You'll get your Furigana. You're welcome ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    ReplyDelete