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Translation Related: BiDi and Editorial Issues

Arabic text direction flows from right to left. During our work on translation projects with non-Arabic speaking editorial partners, this raised some issues. The root cause problem isn't a text flow direction problem; rather it's what's called BIDI (Bi-Direction) problem. This means that if a non-Arabic letter (even numbers or punctuation characters) are in the mid of the Arabic sentence, the direction of these pieces (the non-Arabic piece, the Arabic part before, and the Arabic part after) are shuffled in unreadable order. This happened because the editing tool was plain-text based, and didn’t recognize the advanced editing techniques required for the Arabic text.

The downloaded files from such editing system were unreadable, and needed extra editing effort. Since we realized that it would be huge effort to correct many files one by one manually by re-ordering the pieces of each sentence, we tried to find a more automated way by using another text editor, in which the text of each downloaded file is pasted, and the document direction is then changed to right-to-left direction, and this editor recognized the correct text. After that some final touches were necessary for bullets and other formatting. The text editor used in that correction was SUN OpenOffice Writer. 

That whole effort could have been saved by replacing the plain text editor used in the system by a rich text editor; this is just like using MS Word instead of Notepad for example. The rich text editor should recognize text formatting, direction, and other issues.

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