How to change the direction of a fragment of text in XTM Workbench


First of all, let’s define the very concept. Text direction marks are indicators of text direction. In an XTM Cloud project in which the text is translated from a left-to-right source language to a right-to-left target language (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew), these markers are added to specify which part is written in the original left-to-right manner and which part is in right-to-left format.

List of Right to Left languages

  • Arabic.

  • Azxerbaijani (South).

  • Balochi.

  • Dari.

  • Divehi.

  • Fula (Adlam).

  • Fula (Arabic).

  • Gilaki.

  • Hassaniyya.

  • Hausa.

  • Hausa (Ajami).

  • Hebrew.

  • Hindko.

  • Mazanderani.

  • Modern Standard Arabic.

  • Pahari-Potwari.

  • Pashto.

  • Persian.

  • Pulaar.

  • Punjabi.

  • Punjabi Eastern.

  • Punjabi Western.

  • Rohingya (Myanmar).

  • Saraiki.

  • Sylheti.

  • Syriac.

  • Tajik.

  • Urdu.

  • Uyghur.

  • Yiddish.

  • Yiddish (Israel).

  • Yiddish (USA)


  1. Open XTM Workbench for a particular file (see How to open a file for translation in a created project for help).

  2. Click on Settings, and then select Shortcuts from the dropdown in the top left corner of the page.

  1. Find Inline tags and then set a shortcut for Insert inline or special character if no shortcut is associated with the feature yet. Once processing has finished, Apply the changes and Save the new settings.

  1. In the Text direction marks section, click LRE or RLE, depending on the text direction of your target text:

  • LRE changes text direction to left-to-right;

  • RLE changes text direction to right-to-left.

  1. Start entering text even if the {LRE} or {RLE} inline element does not appear to be in the correct place. You might notice that the text is added in the opposite direction to the rest of the target text.

The {PDF} text direction mark indicates that the text is now bidirectional. See the example below.