Friday, January 25, 2008

Blogger now supports Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian

Blogger recently announced that they now support these three Asian languages. It's a significant step for an online tool to support right-to-left writing. As Blogger states on their blog:
Supporting these languages is a huge milestone for us because — unlike the other 37 languages Blogger is translated into — Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew are written from right to left. As you can see from the above screenshot (image), we had to flip the whole interface around.

Besides localizing the Blogger interface into these three languages, we have right-to-left templates and have added new toolbar buttons for bi-directional text editing in the post editor.
This is something the learning technology community has been wanting in our learning systems for years. Moodle appears to have the best support currently with their language translation packs. Blackboard 7 also offers numerous language packs (including the highly requested "Pirate Arrrr (High Seas)" language--really?) and both purport to be flexible enough for institutions to modify and develop their own language packs. Desire2Learn is not even close, though it does offer a few options such as French and UK English. I'm somewhat relieved to hear that it took Blogger this long to support bi-directional text editing and localized interfaces. Indeed, it's a complicated but worthy endeavor.

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