Translating right-to-left (RTL)
A right-to-left language (RTL) is written and read from right to left, top to bottom.
Smartling supports the translation of the following right-to-left languages:
|Arabic (United Arab Emirates)||ar-AE|
|Arabic (Saudi Arabia)||ar-SA|
|Kurdish (Sorani) RTL||kd|
|Yiddish (United States)||yi-US|
Viewing RTL in Smartling
Both the Smartling Dashboard and CAT Tool are viewed in the same way as with any LTR language, however the strings are displayed as expected, from right to left.
RTL in the Strings View
RTL in the CAT Tool
Translated RTL Files
For most source file types, RTL displays translations as expected, however if content is viewed through a web browser, it is important that the page contains a direction attribute dir="rtl", or dir="auto", to ensure correct alignment. If this direction attribute is missing, some browsers may still display the translations as RTL if the language code is in place, e.g.: lang="ar".
|Source File Type||Requirements||Considerations|
|Business Documents||Displays RTL by default||Post-translation production: DTP|
|Resource Files||Displays RTL by default
(assuming RTL is supported by the viewing application, e.g. a text editor)
|Post-translation production: DTP|
|Bidi Unicode Support|
DTP (Desktop Publishing)
Some right-to-left characters may be wider or shorter than left-to-right characters, giving a different visual appearance. For high-touch documents, such as .ppt, .pdf, or InDesign files, post-translation production in the form of DTP should be considered as part of your translation process to ensure the design and layout of the content is of desired quality.
Bidirectional Script Support
It is important to note that while languages don’t have a direction, scripts do. Most RTL languages such as Arabic and Hebrew are bidirectional scripts, meaning they can contain both right-to-left and left-to-right within the same sentence. For example, if a Hebrew string contained both words and numbers, the words would be RTL and the numbers would be LTR.
Ensure Unicode Bidi (bidirectional script support) is enabled on any computer system where your translated content will live. Bidirectional script support means that both writing scripts with different directions (left-to-right and right-to-left) are supported, and all letters, numbers, formatting characters, special characters, paragraph and heading levels are displayed as expected.