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We all know that if the font size is too small, people wont be able to read it anymore.

Small font sizes are still used. Sometimes even in questions and answers on this very site.

So if for whatever reason I decide to use small font that is barely readable, is it sensible to use the same font size for all locales, or is it expected that I use a larger font size for languages with more complex symbols like 漢字 ?

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The font size should be legible for every language, which means that you may need to bump it up (or down) depending on the language used. Usability experts used to recommend a minimum of 16 pt font for websites, but with the introduction of responsive design and the multitude of devices the key has become using the correct scale font based on the screen size (http://typecast.com/blog/a-more-modern-scale-for-web-typography). Also consider that what looks good to you as a non-Chinese/Arabic etc. speaker may not look good to those who are the Chinese/Arabic/etc. readers. If possible, get your design in front of the intended audience to test the legibility.

Also consider line-height for the various languages you are using. Chinese and other languages with complex characters typically require larger line-heights than English/Roman languages.

Some further reading: https://medium.com/@bobtung/best-practice-in-chinese-layout-f933aff1728f#.7sbib47sa

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