You can't have both English and ME editions of InDesign installed on the same operating system. In the past, I had an entire separate hard drive partition just for working with Arabic and other RTL languages.
There is some functionality offered by InDesign ME that you don't get in the World Tools plugin for ordinary non-ME installs of InDesign - you'd need to compare the two to figure out which one you need. I get by just fine with the World Tools plugin. That's because if I need functionality beyond what World Tools offers, I also need the skillset of someone who reads Arabic (Farsi/Urdu/what have you) natively, and who has a design or typesetting background in the language in question.
Use "glyphs" if you need the single phrase in arab,
Don't do that! Unless you know how to read Arabic, I mean; it's a terrible idea. That would be an extremely easy way to induce errors. I know how to hunt through the Glyphs menu looking for medial forms, but I don't advise it unless you are either fluent in the language.
What I'd do in your shoes: I'd search Google for the phrase "world ready composer" and then read & understand the Thomas Phinney blog-posting on same. There are templates and scripts that you can download. In the templates, there's an InDesign template with a "r2l" character style that, when applied to a string of Arabic text, will compose it correctly.
Thank you Joel for your prompt answer!
I will try to explain the situation.
My work is, among other, typesetting of art books.
I have received a word text from the author of a book concerning arabic art. The text is in Italian, but contains single words and phrases in arabic and in syriac.
I work on Mac Os 10.6. I searched and found syriac characters, and arabic is not a problem.
In Open Office I see all texts ok; in word 2008 the right-to-left texts are wrong, and the same happens when I import the chapters in Indesign (5.5). I know a good number of languages, but not arab... but I can see the difference from the Open Office document.
I have already tried the scripts you have suggested, but in Indesign 5.5 (and also in 5 or 4) I get some script errors, and they don't work.
I am not expert in script language, so I am not able to modify it.
So that's the detailed situation: any suggestions?
Thank you in advance!
Oooh, I am actually envious here! I've only handled Syriac once in my professional life.
MS Word on the Mac can't handle RTL scripts at all, so you can't trust it. OpenOffice - I think it renders RTL & complex scripts correctly in Mac-land, but I'm not sure.
I have used a few of those scripts in CS5.5, so I know that they can work. Which one(s) did you try? Did you download the scripts, or the template? The "r2l" script in the InDesign template file worked perfectly on my side; what error messages did you get? If you run it on some ordinary L2R text, it doesn't reverse the order of the characters? (Another script-handling trick when you're using CS4 scripts in a CS5.5 environment is to put them in a "Version 6.0" folder in your user scripts folder.
Alternately, you could go and download the insanely useful World Tools from in-tools.com. Give the trial a shot - it's easily worth the money if you are going to handle RTL scripts ever again. However, it sounds like this project might be a one-off for you, so perhaps it wouldn't be useful.
I tried r2l_paragraph_style_Arabic and I get following error message: could not create RTL arabic.
For other languages as Hebraic I have tried successfully the simple script ReverseText, but I think I have to use a specific script for arabic, as the characters use different ligatures depending on their mutual position.
Thank you again for any hint!
The only way that I could recreate your error was to run the script with no documents open. If you run the script with a document open, then it will create a paragraph style that will have some inaccessible features turned on. These features are: the text will be right-aligned in the frame, the World-Ready Composer will be applied (necessary for medial forms), and the text will flow right-to-left.
Once that paragraph style is created, you will need to apply it to your Arabic text - if you've not done that before, let me know and I'll take a few screenshots for you.
This script will, of course, be mostly useful for entire Arabic paragraphs. If you need only a few Arabic words in the middle of an Italian sentence, you'd want a character style instead. For that, I would go download one of the templates instead of the scripts you've downloaded, as the template has a paragraph style with the world-ready composer that you can apply to your Italian paragraph and adjust to suit you, and then a "r2l" character style for your little Arabic or Hebrew or Syriac words embedded in the middle of the Italian paragraph.