Bilingual blogging layout in Urdu and English?
October 17, 2012 12:39 PM   Subscribe

What do I need to know to create a bilingual blog that uses left-to-right and right-to-left languages simultaneously?

I have looked at the previous AskMe about bilingual blogging.

I'm toying with the idea of writing a blog that is in both Urdu and English. I'd like the layout to be such that the right side is in Urdu, the left side is in English, and the sides mirror each other. It occurs to me that if I really want to integrate this, so that everything (like sidebars, tags, etc.) is mirrored, this may be considerably more complicated than I can manage.

In terms of experience, I've flirted with English blogging before, but not with Urdu. I am fluent in both languages. I have pre-basic HTML skills, as in, I know a few tags, and that's it.

What are the things I need to consider as I go about planning this project?

I'm assuming that there are at least three categories of things for me to think about:
1) General blog layout stuff that I would have to consider even for just an English blog.
2) Issues specific to trying to use two different scripts simultaneously.
3) Issues specific to blogging in Urdu (potentially similar to blogging in other right-to-left languages).

I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have, up to and including that I should try a simpler format before attempting this.
posted by bardophile to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you can add the attribute dir="ltr" or dir="rtl" to a HTML tag to change the direction of the text it contains.

I'm not sure you want to display both of these languages simultaneously, though. Your readers can only read one a time, even if they're fluent in both. Unless this is a teaching tool to teach Urdu to English speakers or vice-versa, I'm not sure why you'd want to fill half your screen real estate with something that nobody is reading. In that case, you could have the standard "Switch to Udru"/"Swith To English" buttons at the top of the page and just show one or the other at any given time.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:25 PM on October 17, 2012

You could use Wordpress, a multilingual Wordpress theme and the WPML plugin that makes it possible to translate all aspects of your site to multiple languages. Basically you focus on writing your posts and let Wordpress+WPML take care of all the technical details such as switching between languages, language dependent URLs for posts and archives, and more. The setup isn't trivial - especially if you don't know Wordpress - but once it's up and running it's relatively low maintenance.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:57 PM on October 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well, it was looking at the Wordpress forums that prompted me to turn to AskMe. For one, Urdu is not a language choice. The effort to create an Urdu version is "ongoing but slow; more contributors needed." I note, however, that WPML (thanks for that link) does offer Urdu.

Let Wordpress+WPML take care of all the technical details such as switching between languages,

But does something like this let me write a single post that is simultaneously in Urdu and English? When you say "switching between languages" I hear "you can look at either English or Urdu, but not both at the same time." Is that accurate?
posted by bardophile at 10:53 PM on October 17, 2012

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