If you have an opinion, insight, or any reason to blog about the current events in the Middle East, and you blog in Hebrew or any of the Arabic languages, you can do so with the full version of WordPress or WordPress.com. With WordPress.com, you can blog for free. With the full version of WordPress, WordPress is free but you will need to pay for your own hosting site.
To get a free WordPress.com blog, apply for your free WordPress.com blog here. The only requirement is a valid email address. To download the free full version of WordPress, get the latest version from the Download WordPress page.
To blog in Hebrew or Arabic, or any non-English language, you need to know a couple of things:
- The official name of your blogging language.
- The character encoding format for your blogging language.
The official name of your blogging language is pretty easy. If you speak French, then it is “French”. But if you speak Indian Arabic, it is officially called “Urdu”. English has different versions, too, including UK English, US English, and Australian English. For the specific “official” name of your language, see GNU Country Codes and Code for the Representation of Names of Languages.
In WordPress.com, to set your blog’s primary language, on the WordPress Administration Panels, go to Options > General > Language and click on the pull down list to choose your language. For most languages, you will see the language name both in English and the specific language characters. Click Update Options to apply the new language.
For both the full version of WordPress and WordPress.com blogs, check under Options > Reading > Encoding for pages and feeds to set the character encoding for your language to ensure that it works. Type in the character code format, such as from this list of Text Encoding codes. In English, the encoding format would be UTF-8. Examples of Arabic and Hebrew character encoding formats include:
- Latin/Arabic: ISO-8859-6
- Arabic: windows-1256
- Latin/Hebrew: ISO-8859-8
- Hebrew: windows-1255
There are a few things you need to know about blogging in a foreign language on WordPress.com.
While you may have access to your WordPress Theme template files in the full version of WordPress, with WordPress.com you don’t. You can only choose from the WordPress Themes available via the Presentation tab. Most WordPress Themes are set up to be localized, which means they should change the sidebar titles like categories, Pages, and other default headings to the language of choice, but not all WordPress Themes are coded to do this automatically. Therefore, some WordPress Themes will feature English by default in some areas of your WordPress.com blog. All of your posts, post titles, widgets, and links you write in your language will appear in your language.
If you are using a right-to-left language, like Hebrew and Arabic, WordPress Themes which feature bits of code such as the sidebar headings for categories with the feed link or number of posts in that category may find themselves reversed. Instead of WordPress Tips (120) (RSS), it may say (120) (RSS) WordPress Tips or some backwards version as it struggles to deal with the right-to-left issues. A properly coded WordPress Theme that takes localization into account should not have this problem, but that is dependent upon the good coding practices of the WordPress Theme author.
For examples of WordPress.com blogs in Hebrew and Arabic, see the WordPress Blogs of the Day in Hebrew and WordPress Blogs of the Day in Farsi, Türkçe, and Arabic. Have I missed any language groups for the Middle East and related areas?
While the situation is horrible, it is exciting to see international bloggers blog in their language. Many fluent in English and their native language are blogging in both, offering a translation on each blog post or a second translated post on the same blog, or even setting up two separate WordPress.com blogs, publishing the same posts but in each separate language. Amazing.
So if you have something to say in another language about what it going on in the world around you, get blogging in your language!
Helping Translate WordPress
If you are interested in helping WordPress become more international, WordPress.com recently announced “Translate WordPress”, a new site and service requesting help from multi-lingual speakers to help translate WordPress elements in different languages. If you are fluent in English and other languages, and you have some programming experience, please volunteer and help as much as you can. You can also help translate WordPress by helping to develop localization files for different languages. The more the core titles, headings, and programming language of WordPress is translated into every language, the more international bloggers can take advantage of the power of WordPress.
- Translation – How Do You Know Which Language is Which to Translate
- WordPress in Your Language
- Website Development – International Standards and Languages
- Instantly Translate Your Blog
- Computer Models – How New Words Become Part of the Language
- Writing With Culture – The Insidious Pull of Pop Language
Site Search Tags: language, wordpress, translate, translate+wordpress, wordpress+in+your+language, arab, israel, middle+east, war, hebrew, arabic, blog, blogger, foreign+language, wordpress.com, wordpressdotcom, wordpresscom, foreign, my+language, native+tongue, native+language, local, localization, localizing, international, translation
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network