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DMS in Arabic with right-to-left, top-to-bottom script

Ana Canteli

Written by Ana Canteli on 12 June 2023

In an increasingly globalized world, software and technological tools must be capable of adapting to different cultures and linguistic needs. Regarding Arabic, a language spoken by around 422 million people in 26 countries, the proper adaptation of document management software has become especially relevant.

 The importance of adapting a DMS software to the Arabic language

Adapting to Arabic in document management software involves much more than simply translating words into the language. It means addressing key aspects to ensure a good experience for Arabic-speaking users.

  • Right-to-Left (RTL) writing format: Arabic is read and written from right to left, unlike many other languages, which are written from left to right. This means the user interface, buttons, menus, and general information layout must be adapted to follow this typing direction.
  • Arabic Fonts and Characters Support: Arabic has a distinctive character set and script. Document management software must correctly display and handle Arabic fonts, including connected letters and specific character shapes.
  • Search and sort functionality in Arabic: Adaptation to Arabic involves ensuring that the search and sort functionality of the document management software is compatible with Arabic. This includes considering ordering rules, word segmentation, and the relevance of Arabic results.
  • Localization of terms and messages: The adaptation to Arabic involves translating and localizing the terms used in the user interface, error messages, and instructions. This ensures that Arabic users can understand and use the software effectively.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: In certain countries where Arabic is an official language, there are legal and regulatory requirements for documentation and software. Adaptation to Arabic also means meeting these requirements to ensure regulatory compliance in the relevant countries.

By addressing these aspects, the end-user experience becomes better and more efficient for Arabic-speaking users, providing an experience tailored to their language and cultural needs. OpenKM stands out as a provider of document management solutions in Arabic thanks to robust software adaptation to this language.

Ultimately, it is about considering the particularities of writing and reading direction in Arabic, known as the right-to-left (RTL) format.

Cultural and linguistic conventions of Arabic

By providing an interface and design that aligns with Arabic cultural and linguistic conventions, OpenKM achieves better usability and higher user acceptance. Some fundamental conventions are as follows:

  • Respect for language and culture: Arabic is a language that has high cultural and religious value for native speakers. It is essential to respect the Arabic language and culture, use appropriate terminology, avoid stereotypes, and understand cultural sensitivities.
  • Formality: Arabic has different levels of formality in its language, which can vary depending on the context and the relationship between the interlocutors. It is crucial to tailor the software interface's tone, formality level, and appropriate messaging based on the intended audience.
  • Calligraphy and aesthetics: Arabic calligraphy is considered an art vital to the region's culture. When adapting OpenKM for Arabic users, the aesthetics and appearance of Arabic script were considered, using fonts and layouts that respect the beauty of Arabic calligraphy.
  • Valuation of privacy and security: Privacy and security of personal data are important in Arab culture. OpenKM's document management software provides adequate security and privacy measures; You can also inform users about how their data will be protected.

Promotion of inclusion and diversity in the company

In addition, the Arabic adaptation of OpenKM promotes inclusion and diversity in the business environment. It does this in several ways:

  • Equal Access and Participation: By adapting OpenKM to Arabic, Arab users can fully access and participate in the company's document management activities. OpenKM's document management software translates into over 35 languages, most with LT reading format, from right to left. This removes language and cultural barriers, allowing all employees, regardless of their language, to work efficiently and contribute to the company's success.
  • Cross-Cultural Collaboration: Adapting to Arabic enables Arab employees to collaborate more effectively with their local and international co-workers. By using OpenKM in your native language, clear communication and mutual understanding are promoted, improving collaboration and information sharing in a multicultural environment.
  • Retention of diverse talent: Inclusion and diversity are critical factors in retaining diverse talent in the company. By adapting the software to Arabic, the company demonstrates its commitment to inclusion and respect for its employees' diverse cultures and languages. Thus, with OpenKM, the organization creates a more welcoming and attractive work environment for Arab employees, which helps retain and develop their talent.
  • Legal and regulatory compliance: By adapting OpenKM to Arabic, the company complies with these regulations and avoids potential legal conflicts. This is especially relevant in public administration, finance, and healthcare sectors.
  • Improved image and reputation: A company committed to inclusion and diversity, including adapting software to Arabic, improves its image and reputation internally and externally. OpenKM helps build an inclusive and engaging brand image, which can attract new customers, investors, and diverse talent.

In summary, the correct adaptation of the document management system to Arabic facilitates the access and participation of users in this language, allowing them to collaborate and work effectively with documents in their language. This not only improves operational efficiency but also contributes to integration and equal opportunities in the workplace.

Another important aspect is preserving the integrity and accuracy of Arabic documents. The correct adaptation of the OpenKM document management software to Arabic guarantees that the texts, dates, and other elements are displayed and stored correctly, avoiding display errors and interpretation problems.

In conclusion, adapting to Arabic in document management software is vital in the current global context. It is not just about translating words, but about understanding and addressing the specific needs of Arabic-speaking users. Doing so promotes inclusivity, improves operational efficiency, and ensures a positive experience for Arab users, thus contributing to the success and competitiveness of organizations in a globalized environment. We invite you to contact the OpenKM Middle East office for more information.

 

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