East Asia Student

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How to get Tibetan to display in Ankidroid (Anki for Android)

I’m taking a Literary Tibetan course this term just for fun, and I am of course using Anki to help me study it. Or more accurately, I’m using Anki to keep time spent on Tibetan to a minimum, as this is my final year and the Tibetan course doesn’t count towards my degree.

I was pretty disappointed to discover that Android doesn’t support Tibetan font display, and that it’s not possible to install your own fonts in Android. What a joke on both fronts.

However, I discovered it is possible to get Tibetan to display in the Ankidroid app at least. The process is very easy, and here’s a quick guide on how to do it.

1: Get a Tibetan font

The reason Android can’t display Tibetan is because, ridiculously, it doesn’t have a font for it. I find this pretty outrageous when there are very comprehensive, free fonts like DejaVu available for anyone to use.

Anyway, we need to make such a font available for Ankidroid to use, so download one. You can either get a specific Tibetan font like DDC Uchen, or get a general purpose one like DejaVu.

2: Open your SD card

Once you’ve got your Tibetan-capable font, open the SD card or memory in your phone via your computer or whatever. Find the folder called Ankidroid in the main directory.

Ankidroid folder contents

There might already be a folder in there called fonts. If not, just create one. Then just copy your Tibetan font into that folder. Now here’s the important bit: rename your Tibetan-capable font to _Arial.tff _. This is because Arial is the default, ‘fall-back’ font in Ankidroid, so by providing a font named Arial that includes Tibetan script, you’ll make Ankidroid display Tibetan.

This might not render perfectly

Some people find that even after getting this set-up, Tibetan doesn’t render completely correctly when they view flashcards in Ankidroid. I have no idea how to fix this to be honest - I was just grateful to get Tibetan displaying at all. If anyone knows how to solve this issue, please let me know.

As always, questions and suggestions are welcome in the comments below.