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I was wondering, what is the correct user expectation, when English is being used together with Arabic, within a sentence.

For instance, in the 1st line, the text is aligned toward right. How I type are

  1. I type انا احبك
  2. I type [space]
  3. I type "hello"

In the 2nd line, the text is aligned toward left. How I type are

  1. I type "hello"
  2. I type [space]
  3. I type انا احبك

I was wondering, which text alignment is the correct user expectation?

p/s I have 0 background in Arabic language. The only thing I know, is Arabic writing system is from right to left.

  • I really wished that there were more questions like this on UXSE. We have so many designers from around the world but most of the questions seem to be based on English or western languages/cultures. This makes mixing the two even more interesting! – Michael Lai Sep 3 at 0:56
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Ah. great question, with no logical answer :)

It really depends on context. Is the interface in English displaying an Arabic label as is? Like: Push the button "أنا أحبك" then this is LTR (the word as well can be displayed in the same font).

Is it user generated content like facebook comments? Facebook detects the first letter (or may be they changed that, I am not sure). I once worked on a project we calcualted the highest number of letters, if Arabic it would be RTL, else LTR.

The above screenshot looks like user generated content gone real bad. I would avoid that completely and stick to the alightment of the interface. In a list, they must all be of the same alignment.

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