How to fix Persian language display on Android

Illustration for Persian language on mobiles
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Persian (or Farsi) is one of the languages in which even typed letters should be often interconnected to form a meaningful word. Depending on the specific letter and its position in the word, the letter can look different and have from one to four contextual forms.

Visually texts in Persian language look similar to Arabic texts. However, these two languages are completely different and belong to different language families. The only similarity is the alphabet. While Arabic is the official language of 26 countries in the Arab world, Persian is not that widely spread and its variations are mostly used in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and in several other Middle East counties such as Oman, Yemen, etc.

Persian alphabet is similar to Arabic. However, it has four additional letters.

What is the problem with Persian characters on Android?

There are many fonts supporting both Persian and Arabic alphabets but not all of them have glyphs to display all the Persian letters, and this often causes issues with Persian texts display on Android devices.

The common problem is the following:

  • The application sees Persian text and chooses the most popular font available in the system to display it
  • But the chosen font doesn't have glyphs for several Persian letters or Unicode codes for similar Persian and Arabic letters differ
  • So, either the application uses wrong characters to display certain letters, or it looks for another less popular font and uses it to display the missing letters

As a result, some Persian letters are displayed using another font and get detached from other letters in their words, and thus the whole text looks wrong.

The only solution for this is to make the application choose the right font, which supports all Persian letters for sure. We recommend Noto fonts family for this. Noto Sans Arabic and Noto Naskh Arabic fonts have all the glyphs needed to display Persian letters and their contextual forms. If you don't have any of these fonts installed in your system, just download any of them, install, and choose in your application settings.

How to make Persian texts look well in Virola Messenger?

In Virola Messenger, we allow users to choose the font for the chat text display. All fonts available in the system are available in the application settings.

So, to fix Persian texts in Virola Client on Android please do the following:

  1. Open Virola Client settings via the "gear" icon
  2. Choose "Fonts and UI Scale"
  3. Click the current font name to open the list of available fonts
  4. Choose Noto Sans Arabic or Noto Naskh Arabic
  5. Close the settings. The chosen font will be applied immediately

In case you don't have neither Noto Sans Arabic nor Noto Naskh Arabic font on your Android, you need to install them. Unfortunately, not all Android devices allow installing fonts without help of third party apps. Here are a couple of articles that may help you with this: