LTR + RTL = brain go boom

Consider a certain population of people who have one thing in common: they all have issues with "left" and "right", with varying degrees of severity. I think that in such a population I'm probably somewhere about one standard deviation above the mean when it comes to left-right incompetency; by that I mean that I'm worse than your average LR-challenged person, but not too horrible. I will spare you the anecdotes, but it suffices to say that there are obvious aspects of my life that are affected by this ineptitude to distinguish a left from a right without a rather lengthy procedure. The thought process usually involves remembering which hand I write with, using the knowledge that I'm a so-called "right"-handed person and therefore the hand I write with is on the so-called "right", and going from there. I like to avoid situations that force me to think of these things (perhaps one more reason I don't drive a car). But it's amazing where this little issue lays its traps!

Bi-directional text. Gasp.

I was working on putting together a web page (wiki-style) that contained some text in English, phrases in Korean with transliteration into Roman characters, and phrases in Arabic with transliteration. Ouch, obviously, since Arabic is written from right to left. The matter was further complicated by the fact that yes, I can read Korean, and no, I can't read Arabic. I know individual letters, but I have a really tough time recognizing them in words because I have had no practice reading the language. As a result, most of the page creation has been spent deleting things I didn't want to delete (backspace would work by deleting the previous character, i.e. the character to the right of the pointer, i.e. not what I'm used to), not being able to see some important wiki formatting characters (spaces before lines that create dotted "boxes"), and swearing. Because the biggest issue for me is that while the text is rendered in a RTL fashion, it is still left-aligned. Put too many levels of "left" and "right" complexity together and my brain starts warping, reducing my keystrokes to random at best since I have no keyboarding memory associated with RTL text, and my intuition with left-right things sucks. And then having to quickly switch gears from Arabic script to Roman characters to transliterate said script and were supposed to go LTR--brain explosion.

Multilingual text input: how I love thee... When I'm not working on thee.

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