Numbers in Different Languages: Typesetting Multilingual Numerals

Not all languages share the same numerals; something it can be importantly to remember from the start of the design process. A page design that plays on the shape of a number might fall apart when typeset in a foreign language.

First, what we all have in common. Whatever language we speak, we all count. Quantities matter. The vast majority of languages have separate words for particular amounts. 

Many of these use the same symbols for these amounts as we do in English. The French might say “dix” when the English say “ten”, but we both write “10”.

But many languages do not use the same symbols. Continue reading “Numbers in Different Languages: Typesetting Multilingual Numerals”

Numbers in Arabic: Hindi numerals or Arabic numerals?

Two different forms of numerals exist in Arabic text. You can write precisely the same number using either of the two systems of numerals. This means you can use either Arabic numerals or Hindi numerals to write numbers in Arabic typesetting. But what’s the difference and which is best to use?
Continue reading “Numbers in Arabic: Hindi numerals or Arabic numerals?”

Arabic typesetting: get it right (to left)!

Arabic is one of the world’s great languages.

The Arabic language has a long cultural history, with Classical Arabic stretching back to least the 4th Century. Arabic typesetting and calligraphy also has a long history, as described in this excellent ilovetypography article, “Arabic calligraphy as a typographic exercise”.

Today, it is spoken as a first language by 280 million people. Geographically it is a key language in a wide belt stretching from Morocco across north Africa via Libya and Egypt through the Middle East to the Gulf states in the East such as UAE and Oman. Arabic is an official language in 26 countries, the third most frequent behind English and French.

So it is no surprise that Arabic frequently crops up in multilingual typesetting projects. Yet, for those used to other languages, Arabic typesetting contains some stumbling blocks.
Continue reading “Arabic typesetting: get it right (to left)!”