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
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.
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.