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 1. Install the font with: apt-get install ttf-arphic-uming  1. Install the font with: {{{apt-get install ttf-arphic-uming}}}
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 1. Generate the Taiwanese locale: locale-gen zh_TW.UTF-8  1. Generate the Taiwanese locale: {{{locale-gen zh_TW.UTF-8}}}

Enabling Pinyin Simplified Chinese Input Method via SCIM on Mobile

This page describes how to enable Ubuntu Mobile for:

  • Displaying internationalized ("i18nized") user interface strings in Simplified Chinese font and language (not all strings are already i18nized)
  • Entering Simplified Chinese characters from a USA layout keyboard using SCIM input method


Pinyin is a method for entering Simplified Chinese characters into a computer from a keyboard that has a USA layout. I believe this method is commonly used in mainland China. (Taiwan uses Traditional Chinese characters and the "Chewing" method. Hong Kong uses Simplified Chinese and the "Table" method.)

With Pinyin, the user types phonetically, spelling the sound syllables using English letters and sounds. The input method presents options for Chinese characters that match the typed sound in the user interface, and the user can select the character they want from those presented. At that point, the character is sent to the application. This occurs at the X layer and therefore does not require the application to be modified.


  • A Simplified Chinese font. This is currently provided by the ttf-arphic-uming package
  • Generation of the required locale. The locale is named zh_CN.UTF-8
  • Setting the language at boot up to zh_CN.UTF-8 via the LANG environment variable
  • Installing the scim-pinyin package
  • Installing the im-switch package: this enables input methods. (More detail here would be helpful.)


Installing the Simplified Chinese font

  1. Launch the Ubuntu Mobile system
  2. Enter a terminal
  3. Install the font with: apt-get install ttf-arphic-uming

Generating the zh_CN.UTF-8 Locale

  1. locale-gen zh_CN.UTF-8

Setting the Default Language to Simplified Chinese

  1. Edit /etc/X11/Xsession.d/25ume-config-common_startup
  2. Change this: "export LANG=en_GB.UTF-8" to this: "export LANG=zh_CN.UTF-8"

Note: when you restart, Chinese language and fonts appear in various parts of the system and applications. My supposition is that where Chinese strings do not appear (and English strings do), internationalization (i18n) has not been implemented and the strings have been hard coded.

Installing scim-pinyin and im-switch

  1. apt-get install scim-pinyin im-switch

Restart and Go

  • To enable/disable scim Pinyin input method, type <ctrl> + <space>.

  • When scim is enabled, you should see a SCIM panel at the lower right hand corner of the Ubuntu Mobile screen.
  • Try typing "zh", which is the beginning of a Chinese word. You should see a pop-up panel that displays a set of possible characters. Click on one and it is entered into whatever application you are using, for example terminal, or the URL field of a browser.

Traditional Chinese

(I haven't tested this yet.)

  1. Install scim-chewing: apt-get install scim-chewing

  2. Generate the Taiwanese locale: locale-gen zh_TW.UTF-8

  3. Set the default language via the LANG envronment variable in /etc/X11/Xsession.d/25ume-config-common_startup: "export LANG=zh_TW.UTF-8"
  4. Restart

MobileAndEmbedded/SCIMInputMethod (last edited 2008-08-06 16:40:27 by localhost)