[development] Drupal and i18n, the holy grail?

Rob Thorne rob at torenware.com
Sun Feb 26 04:13:05 UTC 2006

This is why Arabic is a great script for doing these kinds of tests:  
it's contextual (meaning that letters need to be drawn differently 
depending upon what glyphs they're near),  bi-directional (byte 
direction != physical layout), and written right-to-left, so very often, 
page layout needs to change as well.  If you've done Arabic right,  
you'll do almost anything else right as well.

Now that most apps use Unicode and along with it UTF8, Japanese is less 
valuable a test, since the old encodings were variable multibyte 
encodings:  meaning that not each glyph took the same number of bytes to 
record.  Now with UTF8, even French and German are multibyte, so if you 
get French or German right, Japanese will probably be mostly right as 
well (except if we start seeing Japanese and Chinese written 
top-to-bottom, right-to-left, which isn't common yet):  don't shorten 
strings by byte count but by character count, etc.

Although you would get this by testing Arabic as well.  So we'd solve a 
lot of problems if we'd just develop Drupal in Arabic and then localize 
it into English, count to think.



Khalid B wrote:
>> As an old I18n/L10n tools hand (my first engineering jobs were in this
>> general area),  I'm curious what a less technical admin trying to get up
>> a site in Japanese or Arabic finds difficult right now.  Also, is there
>> a list of general features that European or other non-English language
>> coders notice as being general pains in the ass (such as bad
>> phone/postal code UI, etc).
> Don't know about Japanese, but Arabic has  unique issues with the
> whole Right to Left thing.
> As far as Drupal and Arabic goes, here are some resources:
> http://baheyeldin.com/arabization/using-drupal-with-arabic-and-other-right-to-left-languages.html
> Note that other Semitic languages share the right-to-left issues, such as
> Syriac, Hebrew, and Amharic, as well as many other non-Semitic languages
> that use the Arabic script (Farsi, Urdu, Pashtu, Dari).

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