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I'm working on a flash project right now that is necessary to support 16 languages, from english to hebrew, and etc... My dilemma right now is whether or not it is necessary to flip my whole design to suite left to right languages? And, or would those languages read well without it

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I'd question the use of Flash for text-heavy projects to begin with. –  DA01 Jan 17 '12 at 2:02
    
Yeah, I question it myself also, but the clients want this site to be built in flash. I know that the rendering and formatting abilities aren't that great, especially since the project will be loading the text from external XML files. –  leetou Jan 17 '12 at 4:11
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I realize sometimes clients just insist on things that don't make any sense. However, I've also found that sometimes when clients ask for particular technologies, they don't actually mean they want that technology...but rather some feature/aesthetic that they (right or wrong) associate with that technology. –  DA01 Jan 17 '12 at 5:08
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, your entire layout needs to change to adapt to the reading habits of right-to-left languages. However, you also need to account for typography changes and other local conventions. See the case study of BBC's World Service for more details & ideas.

Added
Key points from the article that relate to internationalization per Matt's request:

  • Code the website as a "Bento box" where parts can be re-arrange because some foreign visitors prefer different layouts.
  • Choose fonts that either support all characters or account for typography changes when working with languages that have unique alphabets.
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Thanks for the article, and reply. Really helpful article. –  leetou Jan 17 '12 at 4:12
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Could you summarize or pull some key points from the article? –  Matt Rockwell Jan 17 '12 at 15:25
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