Working with Text in Middle Eastern Languages

Student papers and manuscript preparation

Chapter 11 of the Chicago Manual of Style explains how to work with Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish languages in your publications.

The International Journal of Middle East Studies has an alternative set of rules for manuscript preparation.  See also the IJMES Word List for spellings of common words from Middle Eastern languages.


For spelling vernacular words in English (from the Library of Congress):

Note: these links open in a new window

Arabic Romanization tables (PDF)

Hebrew Romanization tables (PDF)

Persian Romanization tables (PDF)

Scholar OneSearch, the NU Library's search engine, can be used for suggested spellings in English.  It includes the library's catalog of books, journals and other items, as well as articles and other citations from scholarly publishers and digital libraries.  

All entries in Scholar OneSearch are Romanized. Some items in Scholar OneSearch are also available in the vernacular language, so you may type in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, etc..


Keyboards and Typing

MacOSX: Using System Preferences--Language and Text--Input Sources.  Select your preferred language.
QWERTY layout means letters you type will approximate the letters on the English keyboard ("L" will be "Lam" etc.) 
See Apple OSX Support for information about controlling the direction of the text.

Windows: Using Control Panel--Region and Text--Change Keyboards--Add. Select your preferred language. 
See Microsoft Office support for right-to-left languages

iOS: Select Settings--General--Keyboard. Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish and Persian are available.


Calendar Converter

A one-stop-shop-calendar-converter allows you to convert between Gregorian, Julian common hijri, Hebrew, Persian, Baha'i, MS Excel serial days, and more. The code is open-source and available for downloading. (from John Walker of AutoDesk)

The Islamic Western Calendar Converter, from R H Gent at Utrecht University, also includes information about different versions of the hijri calendar around the world, astronomical considerations, and historical notes.

Also see Holiday dates, by Country

The Qur'an and Commentary is a resource for the text of the Qur'an, with word-by-word searching, grammar, audio recitations, and interpretation into English its sister site containing the six canonical sunni hadith, plus additional ones, searchable and with English translations an unrelated site with a wide range of exegetical texts, chiefly in Arabic.