I do not know whether this is an appropriate question, but I was carrying it around for quite some weeks and now it just has to come out.

I am working on my PhD thesis. My thesis will include a long English textual analysis in the mainmatter ((almost) no problem with that) and a long appendix providing the source texts on which the analysis is based. These source text will be given in the original language (Arabic) on the left page as a critical edition with two or three apparatus and my english translation on the right page.

I have chosen ledmac/ledpar to do the job (because there is no alternative, is there?) and now I've been wrestling for weeks/months to get everything in order -- and by wrestling, I really mean it. Other than that, I already started to edit my texts using the commands that the packages provide and all the while I've been hoping that in the end all problems can be overcome one after another, so that in the end I have a nice typeset thesis and I can confidently claim that I've made the right choice in chosing (Lua-) LaTeX for writing my thesis.

This my situation. Now, since I've encountering problems after problems (in between solving one or two while others appear), I've become skeptical whether LaTeX is the right choice for my project. Even more since I also have the feeling that I myself won't be able to solve all the issues, because I am lacking the IT-expertise. I've done a lot of delving into the depths of LaTeX, but I am coming close to my limits there. I still belive in LaTeX, but what I intend to do seems to be some major job for LaTeX and I doubt that I am the one who can get LaTeX to do the job.

So, the question I've been having in my mind is this (and I want to repeat that I am not sure whether it is an appropriate question):

  1. Is there anybody out there who I could hire (yes: hire) to look through my tex-files and fix the problems I encounter while I can focus on writing my thesis (and of course fix what I can fix myself)?
  2. How much would it be to hire someone like that?

I am at the point where I have to decide whether to abandon LaTeX for my PhD and to take another application (e.g. CTE), or to stay with it. Once again: I like LaTeX, and I'd also like to stay with it, but I am not sure whether I should. And also, I don't want to realize that using LaTeX was the wrong decision only two months before I hand in my thesis because then it is too late.

Sorry for this question, but it had to come out...

Appendix: Random examples of problems

  • the line numbers in the apparatus are one to much (e.g., 7 instead of 6)
  • the arabic text has sometimes varying interlinespacing
  • the space between the paragraphs (created by ledpar) shouldn't be there (see here)
  • the content is not correctly snychronized and the pagebreaks are thus wrong
  • the Arabic apparatus has problems with linebreaks
  • the page numbers in the table of contents need to be modified (see here)
  • ...
  • 1
    FWIW, a friend of mine published an article in Sciamvs that included an edition and translation of an Arabic version of Ptolemy's Planisphere (Sciamvs 8 [2007], 1--100). The original plan was to do a facing-page translation, but they gave up for similar reasons (though they used pdfTeX!); instead the did text (17--43) and translation (44--71), though I think the need for mathematical diagrams in Arabic and English in ledpar added problems of its own.
    – jon
    May 16, 2012 at 16:13
  • 1
    The list of Commercial La(TeX) Consultants May 19, 2012 at 12:00
  • 2
    @Forgiver I know of several TeX consultants in Germany that are not listed here.
    – topskip
    May 19, 2012 at 12:40

3 Answers 3


You can always contact your local TeX users group. They most likely know people that offer LaTeX help (free/commercial).

For the other question, on how much it would be. That depends, of course, but since you're asking for special knowledge, it won't be cheap.

I see you are located in Germany: we maintain a list of professional TeX consultants here: http://texfragen.de/latex_hilfe#kommerzielle_dienstleister

  • I haven't thought of this, yet. Good idea! May 18, 2012 at 5:29
  • besides, I have the feeling that I am rather close and that what still needs to be done may not be too difficult for an expert. May 19, 2012 at 11:28

As far as I understand your question, you need someone who has expertise on both bidi typesetting in TeX and critical edition typesetting in TeX. You may contact these people/groups/mailing lists and see if they can help (or be hired):

  1. Peter Wilson (the original author of ledmac, ledpar, and ledarab packages)
  2. Dominik Wujastyk and John Lavagnino (the authors of edmac package)
  3. Maïeul Rouquette (the current maintainer of ledmac package)
  4. Klaus Lagally (the author of arabtex package)
  5. Ahmad Yazdipour (the author of TeX-e-Parsi: a Persian TeX typesetting system)
  6. FarsiTeX project group and in particular, Behdad Esfahbod
  7. IvriTeX mailing list
  8. François Charette (the original author of bidi and arabxetex packages)
  9. Vafa Khalighi (current author/maintainer of bidi, xepersian, and arabxetex packages, previous maintainer of ledmac, ledpar, and ledarab packages).
  10. Youssef Jabri (the author of arabi package)

In http://www.djdekker.net/ledmac/ you can find lot of clues. It is more or less what you want, except for the Arabic. It saved my life day with my Ph.D. thesis.

  • Thanks for this. I knew this website. It is very useful and I've used lots of his code. Maybe you are tight and I should visit the page again and look for things I did not see last time... Sep 23, 2012 at 12:16
  • Well, Dirk Jan Dekker has some other bits that have also been very usefull, but that are a little scattered. May be if you just google "djdekker" or "dirk jan dekker" you find some that give you ideas. Many of my codes are based on him.
    – Anabel
    Sep 24, 2012 at 13:29

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