Arabic Text

Posted by ClayC 
Arabic Text
February 22, 2012 12:18PM
I'm doing 9 language versions for a recent project. Amongst a few european languages also Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Arabic. I need to copy/paste the characters from each Word .doc for each language. So far, I've gotten everything to work except for Arabic.

Word for Mac shows that the typeface displaying the Arabic characters is Arial. Seems weird, but Ok, it displays in Word or in Text Edit just fine. When I copy/paste into FCP or Photoshop or Motion, all I get is a jumble of western characters. Useless. I've been back to the translators and had them provide; standard Word formatting, rtf and pdf. Nothing works even closely. Deadline looming. Any ideas?
Re: Arabic Text
February 22, 2012 12:32PM
It's almost certainly not Arial. But when I deal with Chinese characters, often I get erratic information -- sometimes things look like LiHei but are listed as Helvetica. Have you tried pasting into Photoshop or TextEdit and then selecting the text to change to an Arabic font?

If all else fails, you might have to forego finding a permanent solution and just have the translators save the text as extra-large still images with alpha channel, just to skip the problematic step.
Re: Arabic Text
February 22, 2012 12:33PM
I have dealt with this exact same issue but it's been a few years so I will try to remember what I did.

As an example of how different Arabic is, Adobe sells a complete set of their graphic design products in separate editions (PhotoshopME, IllustratorME etc) with ME standing for Middle East I guess.

To avoid having to buy another copy of Photoshop or Illustrator I did the following:

Do you have Illustrator?
I printed from the translators .rtf files to PDF.
This converts the text to outlines that Illustrator can handle. You have to muck about with the type size between the text files, the PDFs, Illustrator and FCP but once you get a workflow you can move pretty fast. I think you could use Photoshop as well and I think I tried that but I can't remember why I abandoned it.

Once it's in Illustrator you make the artboard your final screen size and export as tiffs or what have you.

That's the cheap way I got around the Arabic language problem. Summed up as
1 Print text to PDF
2 Convert to Outlines
3 Scale/position
4 Export bitmap

Sleeplings, AWAKE!
Re: Arabic Text
February 22, 2012 06:08PM
I also ended up opting for the transparent background option, because even using a font that claimed to be Arabic (I think it began with G, that's all I remember) - when it came into FCP or DVDSP it looked completely different to the original.

Re: Arabic Text
February 22, 2012 11:45PM
I had this problem recently and one of our Graphic Designers saved me by directing me to the following website...

Go to []

Then you can paste the Arabic into the top box and copy it from the bottom box. (I found the [Copy] button on the website didn't always work -use CMD+C)

Then you can paste the text into Photoshop text layers and export as .png or .psd

One important thing to bear in mind:

If the text goes over more than one line, the method the convertor uses makes the second line come out first. (If you don't read Arabic you may not spot this!)

The solution is to paste each line to separate text layers in Photoshop.

Be careful when splitting the text to make it multiple lines, the cursor and Delete/Backspace behaviour gets tricky!
Adding the Arabic keyboard to your keyboard options in OS X System Preferences can help with this.

Hope this helps!!
Re: Arabic Text
February 23, 2012 09:46AM
Many thanks for the tips, much appreciated. Working through the options. Geeza Pro is the name of the Apple Arabic font, but the translator is on a PC and not able to provide it. Worst case, I'll have to go the large type alpha channel illustrator or photoshop route. Going to try that link though too.

Re: Arabic Text
February 24, 2012 04:39AM
Found a very easy solution:


It's a simple text template for Photoshop that one can paste text from a word doc into. Arabic characters display properly and can be scaled. The link says it's for CS4 Windows, but works on Mac OS 10.6.8 in Photoshop CS5.1 just fine.

Free. Recommended. Saved the day.

Re: Arabic Text
February 27, 2012 04:59PM
Clay that's a common known 'feature' since years as arabic and hebrew don't use left to right typing. Open the document with a text editor which does support that (and this kind in the clipboard as well) - like TextWrangler.
You could have used my free psTitles which is out there for years ;-)


Some workflow tools for FCP []
TitleExchange -- juggle titles within FCS, FCPX and many other apps.
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