Arabic Localization for Point of Sale Devices
Client: Posiflex Website :www.posiflex.com
Between left to right and right to left, lays stories of success.
Established in 1984, POSIFLEX used to design and manufacture PC and peripheral OEM/ODM products. POSIFLEX began its transformation in 1991 to commit to the professional design and production of point of sale (POS) management systems and peripheral products and started marketing OBM products worldwide under the brand name POSIFLEX in 1996. Now, POSIFLEX is marketed worldwide as one of the leading brands in the industry and has established subsidiaries and offices in various nations (e.g., the UAE, USA, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, India, China, Singapore, Korea, and Malaysia) to provide local and prompt services.
Why in Arabic?
In the Middle East market, shops were not using Arabic for invoice printing and/or price tags. This was common practice till it was decided by many Ministries of Commerce and Investment in the gulf areas that the Arabic language should be used in all invoices, price tags, quotations, publications, advertisements, vouchers, etc. According to the requirements of the commercial data system, consumers should be able to have full knowledge about the goods and services they are going to get using the mother language of the region.
Thus, all establishments, markets, and shops had the need to make sure that all their systems can support the Arabic language natively with the possibility of using English as a second language.
For Posiflex, this was the driver to start testing their model on different Arabic systems to make sure they are meeting the new market requirements as a Market leader in the POS sector.
Mr. Gareth Cornish
Posiflex Vice President – Sales
Saudisoft is the Arabic market leader since 1983. Besides its experience in the Software/Hardware industry, it is also a localization market leader, and hence it was the perfect partner for the job.
Therefore, Posiflex Taiwan had signed an SDA (Software Development Agreement) with Saudisoft as work for hire to make sure that Posiflex drivers can work properly with different Arabic code pages, on different platforms and handle the Right To Left display characteristics.
A typical POS environment consists of a POS device, POS faced a big problem in Arab countries that all the series/models didn't support the Arabic language
It was then Decided by Mr. Gareth Cornish (Posiflex Vice President – Sales) to use Arabic localization professionals to help identify issues and of course, come up with a solution.
our approach started by testing Arabic behavior using the provided testing platforms by Posiflex. Multiple issues were recognized; among many; below are just a few samples:
- Font; even though an Arabic font was already burned on the device, characters were not representing the complete alphabet/shapes.
- Unlike English characters, the same Arabic letter has different shapes that of course could not be generated/printed because the English driver was not capable to handle such criteria.
Example, the following tow shapes are for the same letter: ـب ب
- Code Page; different applications not necessarily use the same Arabic code page. For example, some legacy applications might use different code page(s) than the Windows Applications.
- Different POS model has multiple drivers and thus different behaviors while Arabic handling.
a report was shared with the development/support team in Taiwan for different scenarios
with Pros and Cons trying to address the diversified challenges and how can we enable the Arabic POS devices. The selection was between:
- Changing the drivers and thus with each model/update the driver will require to be updated to support Arabic
- Develop a core solution with which no drivers change will be required for different models.
We decided to develop a solution with which changes are either made or centralized (in one place) without modifying each driver for each model.
The solution was simply to develop Arabic libraries with APIs (Application Programming Interface) to enable different applications to use Posiflex device drivers without replacing/changing the device drivers. These libraries were capable to handle:
- Different code pages (Unicode, CP 864 …etc.)
- Arabic display characteristics; e.g., Automatic Character shaping, wrapping, Reading Order, and alignment.
- Bilingual printing (Arabic / English text and receipts).
Multi-platforms, different versions for Java.Net, and Windows 32 were delivered.
From Enabling to Full localization:
As a result of successful products in the region, Posiflex has decided to go to the next mile. It was enough to have Arabic enabled devices to print Arabic receipts but to give the Arabic users’ full native
experience, they decided to use Saudisoft’s expertise to localize their website, manuals brochures. …etc.
As people buy what they can read, this helped Posiflex to increase its market share in the region and at the same time, helped Saudisoft to put its experience as end-2-end localization services to one of its prestigious customers.
Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans:
The close co-operation between Posiflex and Saudisoft has enabled Posiflex since 2015 to consistently be ranked as the Number 1 POS manufacturer for the Middle East region. Si 2016, Posiflex has determined to grow beyond the POS business and further expand itself into self-service solutions (KIOSK), and to a few more vertical markets serving B2B IoT platforms empowered by embedded PC. With the acquisitions by Posiflex of Kiosk Information Systems (www.kiosk.com) and Portwell (www.portwell.com), Posiflex looks forward to continuing its business relationship with Saudisoft and further expanding Posiflex’s presence in the Arabic speaking world.