DTP Formatting and Design Issues: Right-To-Left Languages (RTL)

Multilingual Desktop Publishing (DTP) is an important part of the localization. DTP of Languages that read right-to-left (RTL) poses different kind of challenges. RTL Languages such as Arabic, Hebrew and Urdu require special attention during localization and little bit hard to localize. It requires skillful manpower for proper results along with time. In multilingual DTP text expansion and other factors require reformatting after translation to match the source and properly express your original content.

Following can be the major challenges while designing and testing the RTL

  1. Text Alignment – Only aligning the text to the right is not important; the direction of the text should read right-to-left as well.
  2. Number Alignment – In right-to-left languages, numbers are still read from left-to-right so we have to pay attention to the things like date and time formats.
  3. Bulleted and Numbered List – The bullet point or number should display before the value in the bulleted/numbered list.
  4. Fonts – While working with RTL languages, choosing font can be the big deal. RTL fonts have to be provided.
  5. Layout – RTL Language affects page layout also. While formatting RTL, the order of table columns must have to reverse, marginal graphics, icons, images also change places and one has to correct them manually.

For right to left language, with whole text, layout should be oriented form right to left. Tricky point about localization into RTL is that, when proper nouns, numbers, remain in English; the direction of text, number and punctuation mark needs to be reversed.  For an inexperienced designer, changing text direction can be very complicated.

In RTL languages, if anyone wants to see the series of images in sequence; the first image present in source at left hand side will appear at the right hand side while targeting.

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