Sending and Receiving E-Mail in Chinese With Hotmail

Hotmail as Sending E-mail Client:

Hotmail can write and send e-mail messages in Chinese using Microsoftís Chinese Input Method Editors for simplified and traditional Chinese. In the body of the e-mail message, simply click on the language bar or language button on the task bar (this will be present after installing Microsoftís Chinese language support and Input Method Editors (IME), and by default is indicated by the button EN for English). Then select the appropriate language: CN (PRC) for simplified or CN (Taiwan) for traditional.

However, the results on the receiving end can vary depending on whether English, Simplified or Traditional Chinese is selected as the preferred language in the senderís Hotmail account. 

Receiving E-mail Client
English as Hotmailís Preferred Language
Chinese as Hotmailís Preferred Language
Eudora 5.1.1

can read

cannot read

Hotmail (English)

can read

can read

MyRealBox: Web

cannot read

can read

Netscape Mail 7.0

can read

can read

OperaMail

can read

can read

Outlook Express 6.0

can read

can read

Outlook 2002

can read

can read

Outlook Web Access

can read

cannot read

Pegasus Mail 4.02

can read

can read

Yahoo Mail

can read

can read

Total no. of receiving e-mail clients correctly decoding messages sent by Hotmail format
9
8
 
cannot read Message cannot be read or decoded.
can read Message appears correctly as is.
can read Message appears as code initially, but if you select Japanese (Auto-Select) from the View/Encoding submenu, it will display properly.
can read Message appears as code initially, but if you select traditional or simplified Chinese depending on its original coding from the View/Encoding submenu, it will display properly.
can read Message appears as code initially, but if you select Japanese (Shift_JIS) from View/Character coding/More/East Asian submenu, it will display properly.
can read Message appears as code initially after you opened it in its own window. But if you close the message window, select Japanese from the language bar/button, then re-open the message, it will display correctly.
can read Message appears as code initially after you opened it in its own window. But if you close the message window, select traditional or simplified Chinese depending on its original coding, and then re-open the message, it will display correctly.

Hotmail performs well as a sending client with either English or Chinese as preferred language. Only Outlook Express does better.

Strangely, for most receiving e-mail clients, Chinese messages sent by Hotmail with English as preferred language requires selecting Japanese (!!!) encoding for proper decoding; Chinese encoding does not work. Oddly, Eudora and Outlook Web Access can decode a Hotmail message in Chinese when English is the preferred language for the Hotmail sender, but not when Chinese is the preferred language. The results are the opposite for MyRealBox.

A user who uses mostly English but only occasionally reads and writes Chinese may still find that it is worth the hassle to switch to Chinese in his/her preferences before writing a message in Chinese and switch back to English after sending it. The advantage here is that the message is much more likely to to appear in the recipient's mailbox correct as is than when English is the preferred language. Even when a message sent by Hotmail (Chinese) requires manual selection of encoding scheme, choice of Chinese works, which is what it should be, not Japanese, as in the case of Hotmail (English) and several other e-mail programs. However, messages sent by Hotmail (English) but not those composed under Hotmail (Chinese) are readable by Eudora.


Hotmail as Receiving E-mail Client:

Hotmail with English as preferred language decodes correctly 9 out of 13 sending formats tested, behind Outlook (12), and Outlook Express, Netscape Mail and OperaMail (11 each). Oddly, Hotmail does not work with Outlook Web Access or with 3 out of 4 Outlook Express formats, even though all three are Microsoft products. For six of the nine sending formats that can be successfully interpreted by Hotmail, the reader must manually select Japanese (!!!) from the encoding submenu of the view menu. Selecting Chinese encoding only works with messages composed by Netscape Mail or by Hotmail with Chinese as the preferred language. HTML messages sent by Outlook Express as is appear correctly without further decoding, while no encoding (including Unicode) works with the two Outlook Express Unicode formats.
 
Sending E-Mail Client
Hotmail (English) as Receiving E-Mail Client
Hotmail  

    English as Preferred Language

can read

    Chinese as Preferred Language

can read

Netscape Mail 7.0

can read

OperaMail

can read

Outlook Express 6.0:  

    HTML/Unicode

cannot read

    HTML/As Is

can read

    Plain/Unicode

cannot read

    Plain/As Is

cannot read

Outlook 2002:  

    HTML

can read

    Rich Text

can read

    Plain Text

can read

Outlook Web Access

cannot read

Yahoo Mail

can read

Total no. of sending formats correctly decoded by Hotmail (English)
9


Recommendations
:

Hotmail is a capable program for both writing and reading Chinese messages.

Please email me your comments, suggestions, and corrections.


All contents copyright © 2002 Robert Y. Eng. All rights reserved.
With author's permission, republished in CLIEJ.