Community Health Toolkit

Arabic translation

Hi, everyone! Have there been any deployments of CHT apps in Arabic? What would be the process to translate the core framework and apps? Any special considerations/constraints with right-to-left languages?


Currently the CHT Core Framework only supports left-to-right languages. While you can add any language and translations you like, core development would be required to allow configuration of the direction in the web app. Furthermore for full support many of the elements in the webapp should be reversed, for example the name of the patient in the task list should be on the right and the due date on the left, and potentially the list itself should be on the right and the content pane on the left. Additionally it may require development to support the Hijri calendar.

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Got it. Thanks, @gareth!

Some icons that contain visual cues of direction might also need to be redesigned/mirrored.


Ooh, that’s a great point, @hhornung!

Our team at Hikma Health has been working with Arabic versioning of our mobile health software, so happy to share some insights. In terms of process, we first identify key elements in each workflow that should be reversed to optimize the RTL language user experience. For relatively simple views like a COVID screening mobile workflow, the RTL view is essentially a full X-axis reflection of the LTR view and easily automatically rendered. For complex views, especially those involving data visualization, there is not necessarily a 1:1 reflection. For these, we do user testing with Arabic-speaking clinicians to determine which elements should be reversed (RTL) and which should remain (LTR).

As for technical implementation, our mobile app is built with an Arabic version in React Native. We generally compile for our partners in Android, which natively supports RTL rendering. For web-based development, at some point we looked into using Bootstrap RTL, which renders RTL well on mobile devices, and might be helpful for the CHT web app.

For the actual translation into Arabic language, we found that expert translators - clinicians who trained and practice in Arabic - are very helpful for rendering accurate workflows (as with Spanish but to a greater extent).


@gareth, in our experience, clinical workers in Lebanon and Jordan generally use Gregorian calendars.