Right-to-Left Languages in Catalyst - Help!
Thread poster: KJIDTP

Local time: 16:36
Feb 8, 2008

Right now my company is in the middle of a HTML Help Files translation from English to Arabic(Egypt). We'll be delivering our files back to the customer in compiled .chm format, but I'm having some problems getting the Arabic characters to display in the TOC and Index window. I also need help changing the settings so that the text in the main window will align to the right instead of to the left as in Western languages.

I found the buttons that are supposed to switch to right-to-left in the Dialogue editer, however the button is grayed out whenever I select text I'd like to reverse.

As to the corrupted Arabic text, here's a run down on what I've tried and looked into and about the files themselves in case anyone can help.

The files creating the TOC and Indexes are .hll and .hkk. We're translating them in Catalyst and when we export the compiled chm file all the characters in the TOC/Index window are ???. The characters in the main window are Arabic as they should be. The files were originally created in MadCap Flare, so I am trying to find out if this also may be a limitation of their software.

I've also tried loading all of the exported files into MadCap in order to test MadCap's capabilities. When I opened the files and viewed them in MadCap I found that all the text that had been in Arabic (for the TOC and Index) had become corrupted. I was able to paste fresh Arabic text back in, but again when I compiled the files from MadCap Flare the result was all ???. Oh, and I did all of these MadCap tests with my PC environment set to Arabic, which is supposed to work with the HTML compiler.

Any help I can get with either of these problems would be greatly appreciated, I've been beating my head against the wall for a while now and trying to learn as much about Help Files and the Help Compiler as I can as I go, but there's still a lot that's just a total mystery to me.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-02-09 00:43]


Olaf (X)
Local time: 23:36
English to German
You'll probably need to change the Regional Settings Feb 9, 2008

This might not be a Catalyst issue at all. I had similar problems with Japanese help files. After changing the regional settings to the target locale and rebooting the computer everything was OK.
You'll need to select Start > Control Panel > Regional and Language Options. Then click the Languages tab, enable the Install files for complex script and right to left languages option and click Apply. At this point you'll probably need to insert the Windows XP installation CD-ROM. You also may want to change the Select a language to match the language version of the non-Unicode programs that you want to use option on the Advanced tab to Arabic.


[Edited at 2008-02-09 02:14]


Local time: 16:36
no luck Feb 12, 2008

Thank you for the input, unfortunately I have tried this and with the same results. I also checked the language settings within the hhp file and changed them to Arabic and tested different fonts but with the same results. I tried contacting Microsoft as well but the HTML Help Workshop/compiler isn't supported so they were not able to help me. It sounds like with everything I've tried and read that it's just not going to be possible in this case.


Local time: 16:36
Solution Found Oct 8, 2008

Recently revisiting my post I figure I should post what I've learned.

There were a couple of things we needed to change to get our files to display properly.

In Catalyst the hhp file needs to be loaded and the language code needs to be changed according to the language, in this case it was "0x0c01 Arabic (Egypt)" This solves the alignment for the contents and index in the files. This code can be found for other languages in HTML Help Workshop.

Also the html files were designed with a .css file, the settings needed to be corrected to not override right alignment.

Finally there's a little code that gets inserted to the HTML files themselves. On every page the html tag should contain dir="rtl", for example

That's it!


Anthony Fitzgerald
Local time: 22:36
TOC and Index display for Arabic Aug 19, 2009

Hi KJMeg,

I know this is an old thread, hope you are still monitoring iticon_smile.gif

So where you able to get the Arabic Text to display correctly in the TOC and Index? Also was the Search working?



Local time: 16:36
Re: TOC and Index display for Arabic Aug 19, 2009

Hi Anthony,

Fortunately it looks like I still have my email alerts turned onicon_smile.gif

We were able to get the Arabic Text to display correctly in the TOC and Index, and at least as far as I can tell the Search function is working as well.

MadCap did not support RTL languages, and Catalyst on it's own could not completely set the Arabic text to display correctly, punctuation marks, for example, were placed incorrectly in many instances. However, adding the code into the html files themselves resolved all or most of the issues we were experiencing. If you're building the CHM files in HTML Help Workshop you will also need to make sure that the language is set correctly.

A couple links I've recently discovered should also help, from W3.org:
Creating HTML Pages in Arabic, Hebrew and Other Right-to-left Scripts (http://www.w3.org/International/tutorials/bidi-xhtml/)
Best Practices for Authoring HTML: Handling Right-to-left Scripts (http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/WD-i18n-html-tech-bidi-20090714/)

If you have any specific questions feel free to post, I may be able to answer, and if not I'd just love to know what others are dealing withicon_smile.gif



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Right-to-Left Languages in Catalyst - Help!

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