I am preparing a document where I am using Biblatex + Polyglyossia + XELATEX. I have citations in both languages English and Arabic. The localized items appear in English in Arabic citations, also upon using the cs quotes package which is a must in biblatex package, CS QUOTES have no quotation for Arabic language. I have 3 issues:

  • How to make footnote citations and bibliography change from right to left or left to right according to language

  • Localized items (the words edition, page,seenote,and), how to remove them or make them appear according to the citation language

  • CS quotes have no definition for Arabic language.

\newfontfamily\arabicfont[Script=Arabic,Mapping=arabicdigits]{Simplified Arabic} 
\addbibresource{D:/SC/PROJ/Subfile Package Solution - Biblatex/With_all_set_up.bib} 
مع المثلة مثال
مع المثلة مثال

Here is the reference format

 author = {ميخائيل، ملاك  and  الشاروني، حبيب},
 year = {1969},
 title = {المرجع فى قواعد اللغة القبطية},
 address = {الاسكندرية},
 publisher = {{جمعية مارمينا العجايبي}}

 author = {Browning, Robert},
 year = {1983},
 title = {Medieval and Modern Greek},
 publisher = {{Cambridge University Press}},
 isbn = {0521299780 9780521299787}

p.1 p.2 Bibliography


1 Answer 1


I couldn't do this with polyglossia and xelatex.

But here's a go with babel and lualatex that might offer a way forward.

You have to create arabic.lbx for strings for biblatex and define Arabic quotes for csquotes. (I'm not sure about either the quotes or the translations…)


There's some comments in the code below explaining things a bit.



 author = {ميخائيل، ملاك  and  الشاروني، حبيب},
 year = {1969},
 title = {المرجع فى قواعد اللغة القبطية},
 address = {الاسكندرية},
 publisher = {جمعية مارمينا العجايبي},
 langid = {arabic}
 author = {Browning, Robert},
 year = {1983},
 title = {Medieval and Modern Greek},
 publisher = {Cambridge University Press},
 langid = {english}

% Translations thanks to Google Translate.
% I haven't provided abbreviations, because I don't know Arabic.
% You'll need to add more for other strings you use.
% Look in `english.lbx` for the string name.
  inherit          = {english},
  and              = {{و}{و}},
  page             = {{صفحة}{صفحة}},
  pages            = {{صفحات}{صفحة}},
  references       = {{مراجع}{مراجع}},
  seenote          = {{انظر الملاحظة}{انظر الملاحظة}},

\babelfont[english]{rm}{Latin Modern Roman}



  {\item\leavevmode}% add \leavevmode to align English bibliography items RTL

% Always use Arabic digits for see note.

% Just to test if quotes work

مع المثلة مثال \autocite[256]{Sharoni1969}.
مع المثلة مثال \autocite{Sharoni1969}.

مع المثلة مثال \autocite[256]{Browning1983}.
مع المثلة مثال \autocite{Browning1983}.

% With the above, the language changes back to Arabic before the final period
% is inserted, so it ends up being to the left of the note. This looks a bit
% odd to me, but the only way I could get the period at the right hand side of
% the note was to put it inside a footnote like this:
مع المثلة مثال\footnote{\cite{Browning1983}.}

MWE output

  • @ David: I have only one issue with this solution, I am using other languages including "Coptic, Greek, Cyriac, Hebrew, Hungarian" and I need to use the system fonts "OTF" fonts used by windows. Is this allowable with babel and lualatex??
    – Silva
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 16:46
  • your solution is flawless, I used you exact solution with a little modification, I replaced the babel package with polyglyossia, and everything worked except the part where you want the english text to be aligned from left to right, can you help me out?? Also the word bibliography is in English not arabic
    – Silva
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 2:00
  • @Silva, I was unable to get things working satisfactorily with polyglossia and xelatex. I think that biblatex does not work well with RTL languages with the bidi package. Hence my answer with lualatex and babel. There is no problem using system OTF fonts with lualatex and babel. You have complete control over what font you want to use for what language. Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 4:43
  • @Silva, I will see if I can provide and answer to your question at tex.stackexchange.com/questions/504609/… to show usage for the different fonts. Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 4:44
  • @ if that is the case, the I would be grateful if you can help me out regarding defining the following languages along with their otf fonts since I am currently using all of them:
    – Silva
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 9:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .