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Does QGIS support multiple languages? I have some shapefile with Arabic names in its attributes, and they appear as: ????

If I want to see the names in Arabic, do I need to purchase multi-language supporting GIS software or is there any other option?

I am using QGIS 1.8.0.

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What GIS software are you currently using? – blah238 May 9 '13 at 4:21
I think you are looking for Unicode support. If a search on that term and your chosen software gets no/few hits then you could ask them if they support Arabic and, if not, move on. – PolyGeo May 9 '13 at 4:54
I was facing same problem when I was using ArcGIS then what I did I moved my data into sql server . After connecting data base connection/query layer I was able to use Arabic name in ArcMap 10.1 – Sunil May 9 '13 at 5:05

did you try to use a proper encoding for the shapefile? I suggest you try arabic encoding or utfenter image description here

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Basically, QGIS supports internationalization, but QGIS 1.8.0 Lisboa has some problems with correct encoding of shapefiles. There are some workarounds given here:

How to read Greek fonts (ISO-8859-7) in shapefile attributes within QGIS 1.8.0?

which are a bit Operating-system-dependent.

The matter was fixed in QGIS Master, but currently the bugfixing for the upcoming QGIS 2.0 may lead to a unstable QGIS Master version.

So you might better wait until QGIS 2.0 is published.

EDIT: This only affects shapefiles, other data sources should work correct.

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