One important subject related to the discussion of us setting up other language forums here at CelticsBlog is character encoding. This is fairly complex territory and I won't get into much other than to mention that CelticsBlog is setup to use ISO8859 character coding versus Unicode. What that means is that CelticsBlog can render most western or "latin" languages quite well, but is currently unable to correctly render the many written languages around the world that require very special characters sets or RTL (right to left) rendering, etc.
All of the languages we've mentioned so far (with the possible exception of Croatian--which may be Cyrillic) as well as many others can be handled well by CB at this time. Many though, such as Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Hindu, etc. cannot. In order for us to do those languages as well as other, non-latin ones, we'll need to convert all major software here to Unicode. In particulary, we would need to convert it to UTF-8.
Currently the main issue is to the fact that the Joomla main site is completely based on ISO8859 encoding whereas the SMF forums, although based on ISO8859, can be converted to UTF-8. The problem lies in that, if I convert SMF to UTF-8, it will break the strong integration we currently have between Joomla and SMF. The problem is not completely insurmountable though. CelticsBlog v.4.0 is already in the works and it will be entirely based on Unicode. It is my hope that we will be able to move into CB v.4 before Draft Day this year. We'll see.
BTW, never fear. We won't be stressing everyone out in the next site version with any change as dramatic as our last major CB upgrade. The most powerful changes in the next CelticsBlog will be "under the hood" so to speak. They will make the site faster, more secure and even way more powerful than I'll even mention here, but the user experience itself will change little other than it possibly becoming more enjoyable.
So, I wanted to tell you all a little bit about this current limitation on language forums we have and mention that we will be resolving it sitewide in the future. Meanwhile, I'll see if it is possible for me to convert the forums to UTF-8 without breaking our site integration.