I was asked to help proofread an Arabic language (right-to-left) flyer with some English (left-to-right) text:

Right now it reads:

بطاقة المساعدة الغذائية
مقبولة من Local Farm Market

اسواق المزارعين هو مكان رائع لشراء الأطعمة المحلية ولرؤية مجتمعك
يجب على الجميع ان يكون لديهم مفتاح لطعام محلي طازج
للجميع بزيادة Local Farm Market الان يقبلون ببطاقة الطعام
الوصول إلى طعام محلي, صحي وطازج
اختبر السوق بنفسك!‏

I note that there is a difference between different rtl languages in terms of the different cultures and accepted norms in each. For example, in Hebrew, standard practice is to use a question mark facing the same way as in English. In Arabic, however, standard practice is to reverse the question mark's orientation.

First, I'm thinking that the second bolded line needs to be rearranged so that the English text is on the left. Is my instinct correct in that? Is that the most natural placement?

Second, in the main body of the flyer, I'm unsure if the placement of the English text (the name of the market) belongs after (=to the left of) the verbal phrase as it is currently, or before (=the right of) it.

As to the second issue above, I know that a subject can follow a verb in Arabic; I'm asking for the most natural composition for the reader.

  • 2
    Similar: linguistics.stackexchange.com/q/3250/1756
    – Seth J
    May 7, 2013 at 15:20
  • 1
    Would the downvoter care to explain?
    – Seth J
    May 7, 2013 at 20:19
  • The other question has an answer, but it is not the same language. The title there is much broader than the body of the question and does not acknowledge that every language is different.
    – Seth J
    May 8, 2013 at 0:58
  • 1
    I suppose it's because the other question is generic, while you are asking about one specific example. Maybe you can rephrase the question in more general terms.
    – user444
    May 8, 2013 at 23:44
  • 2
    Then I wish you luck and patience in getting a linguistic answer from a linguist. Most computer implementations use a version of the standard Unicode bidi algorithm, which is known not to be perfect it's designed for plain text which encapsulates no knowledge of any languages, just strings of code points each of which has a few attributes that can be looked up in a table or database. Wikipedia also has an article on bidirectional text which may be informative. Jun 3, 2013 at 5:09

1 Answer 1


This looks like what happens if you try to type right-to-left text with a left-to-right word processor. Try copying it into the word processor of your choice and setting the paragraph writing direction to right-to-left, and it should come out correct.

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