Tag Archives: Arabic Language

Arabic Script vs. Microsoft Word

With One Hundred and One Nights incorporating a few simple bits of arabic script in the chapter titles and a couple other artistically significant places, the formatting of the manuscript has provided me with new proof that Bill Gates is the antichrist.  I don’t use the word antichrist lightly here either, for the tricks played by my computer during the final phase of my work polishing the manuscript have been bizarre, other-worldly, devilishly Not Quite Right.

First of all, the arabic language is written right to left instead of left to right like English.  Embedding arabic in a Word document results in repeated switching between left and right justification.  Word doesn’t play that game.  Its all left.  Its all right.  It switches between the two at unexpected intervals.  Its rarely alright.

Example of incorrectly and quasi-magically separated Arabic computer script.

Second, when saving a document in Word (or even saving it as .txt and then accidentally opening it in Word) the program sometimes, but not always, likes to break all the nice flowy letters apart.  This is different than, say, just adding space between English letters.  It becomes nearly unreadable.  Decipherable yes.  But only with great strain.

Third, and most exascerbating, to overcome the issues listed above, I decided to turn each and every usage of Arabic into its own little .jpeg, thus removing any chance, outside of honest-to-goodness black magic voodoo, of Bill and his minions interfering.  But, because the .jpegs had to be at 300dpi (I learned a lot of computer jargon during this exercise!) I couldn’t just snip the words with a screen capture, save them as .jpegs and send them on their merry way.  No.  I had to cut and paste each section of script into MicroSoft Publisher, a program I’d never even heard of prior to this adventure, let alone used.  Then at long last the image from Publisher could be exported as a .jpeg, with all the correct DPI, FPT, FBI, RGB and CIA levels or whatever.

Notice the little white breaks between letters, here the yay, the ba and the tamarbutta.

Yet, just when I thought I had won, just when I thought I had vanquished ol’ Lucifer, I opened one of my freshly incubated little bits of Arabic to find, horribly, that Bill had still crept in — inserting little white breaks between any of the letters where the script connector between letters touched the base line!!!  I had to manually create, insert and fit a little rectangular ink-colored box over each and every one of those corruptions.

I’m sure half of these issues were due to my status as a certified electronics troglodyte.

But the other half, I am equally certain, was the work of the Dark Lord.