It’s true that Veridian software serves a niche market, that of digital newspaper collections, as we enjoy working within this specialist field. It’s ever-evolving and each newspaper digitization project has unique characteristics and complexities. We’re kept on our toes and we like it that way.

The language or languages a digital collection is presented in can contribute to greater access for a more diverse audience. As such, we’re excited to take on projects that embrace multilingual functionality. 

By making it easy for a visitor to navigate a collection website in their chosen language we can increase the likelihood of engagement, and there’s no doubt that making more linguistically diverse newspapers available online will benefit researchers worldwide.

How do we implement multilingual collections?

When implementing a multilingual collection, there are a number of aspects we need to consider:

Unicode support

Veridian is natively designed to support multilingual collections, and uses Unicode throughout; for our user interface, the digitized content, and all search-related systems. This allows support of collection content in any language, and also means the user interface is easily translated to any language. When utilizing Veridian's native unicode support we take special care to ensure unicode characters and strings are considered and properly handled at all times.

The usage of string macros

Our software uses macros, where each interface text string (snippet of text) is represented by a ‘macro’, which can have modifiers, such as a language modifier. These macros allow the interface text display to be locked to a specific language, and in this way the interface text can be specified in multiple languages as required. For example, Veridian can represent the interface string for ‘Search’ in separate languages as follows:

_textsearch_ [l=en]  {Search}   # English
_textsearch_ [l=de]  {Suchen}   # German
_textsearch_ [l=es]  {Busca}    # Spanish
_textsearch_ [l=et]  {Otsing}   # Estonian
_textsearch_ [l=fr]  {Chercher} # French
_textsearch_ [l=ja]  {検索}      # Japanese
_textsearch_ [l=haw] {Huli}     # Hawaiian
_textsearch_ [l=it]  {Cercare}  # Italian
_textsearch_ [l=ru]  {Поиск}    # Russian
_textsearch_ [l=vi]  {Tìm kiếm} # Vietnamese
_textsearch_ [l=zh]  {搜索}      # Chinese

Display of directional text and bi-directional characters

For Hebrew and Arabic interfaces, it is even more challenging as we are often working with bi-directional text. So we may have a left-to-right (LTR) or right-to-left (RTL) interface displaying LTR or RTL content. The complexity increases again in some instances when we have text in a single paragraph changing direction multiple times.

Translating the interface language

Having the system capable of handling multiple languages is important, but getting the languages perfectly translated on the interface is another challenge, especially with languages that none of our engineers speak. To accomplish this, we work collaboratively with our clients and their translation team to fine-tune the interface language to get it just right.

Recent Veridian multilingual newspaper collections

We’re pleased to share some of the following multilingual Veridian-based newspaper collections we’ve worked on recently.

NLI ipad

The National Library of Israel’s NLI Newspaper collection was launched in November of 2020 and includes newspapers in 16 different languages. This special project required a tri-lingual interface that users could choose to interact with in either English, Arabic or Hebrew. The gains from upgrading the NLI collection interface with multilingual capabilities have been clear.

Global Press Archive - Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers

The Global Press Archive is an initiative of East View Information Services in conjunction with Stanford Libraries and the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. The Veridian platform was selected to display a hugely geographically diverse portfolio of news publications, including those in German, Japanese and Arabic. Over time, GPA will present thousands of global newspapers as searchable online archives, covering approximately 30 languages and 80 countries.

Swiss National Library’s digital newspaper collection www.e-newspaper

For the Swiss National Library’s digital newspaper collection, we optimized the Veridian platform to deliver the best user experience in four different languages - German, French, Italian and English.

At Veridian, our aim is to build exceptional digital collections that can be easily discovered, searched and engaged with by a wide audience. If you have questions about increasing the  accessibility of your collection through multilingual capability, feel free to get in touch

Visit more Veridian multilingual collections