Typography - Language support
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Language support

Language size and display style vary based on whether a character set is English-like, tall, or dense.

Language considerations

Glyphs

Each written language uses its own set of characters called glyphs.

If your UI uses multiple languages, then your typography layout should vary depending on the language. Languages have different average word lengths and heights, affecting how it appears across UIs.

Typographic glyphs

Length

Word length can vary greatly across languages, even those that use similar glyphs, such as English and German.

English is often shorter than other European languages. For instance, German has many compound words that are longer, requiring more lines or line spacing.

Alignment

Some writing systems, like Arabic and Hebrew, are displayed with characters appearing from right to left. Those fonts may appear smaller than Latin ones at the same font-size, requiring adjustments to line spacing and alignment so that the typography works well in that UI for all languages.

Hebrew alignment appears right to left

Height

Many writing systems require more vertical space than English, so your UI should provide sufficient vertical space for these different systems.

While Vietnamese is written with Latin, it has accents that add height to some letters, such as ớ.

Vertical typesetting

Vertical typesetting, though rarely used, can display characters vertically instead of horizontally.

The typography of China, Japan, and Korea is typically monospaced, which means each letter occupies the same amount of space as other letters. It is often set left-to-right, top-to-bottom. It can also be set vertically: top-to-bottom and right-to-left.

Horizontal and vertical styles of typesetting

Language options

More than one typeface may need to be used in the same UI to display multilingual content, when each language uses a different writing system.

Writing systems can be grouped into three categories:

  • English-like
  • Tall
  • Dense
English-like typefaces

The languages of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe and much of Africa are typically written in the Latin alphabet. Vietnamese is a notable exception in that, while it uses a localized form of the Latin writing system, its accented glyphs can be much taller than those found in Western European languages. The Greek and Cyrillic writing systems are very similar to Latin.

Tall typefaces

Language scripts that require extra line height to accommodate larger glyphs, including South and Southeast Asian and Middle-Eastern languages, like Arabic, Hindi, Telugu, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Dense typefaces

Language scripts that require extra line height to accommodate larger glyphs, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Noto guidance

Noto is the default typeface for all languages not covered by Roboto. Derived from Droid, it’s designed to be visually harmonious across languages and scripts with compatible heights and stroke thicknesses.

The family has 93 scripts defined in Unicode version 6.0.

Dense script considerations

Noto Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) have seven weights that match Roboto, with the same weight settings as English.

Type sizes smaller than title styles should make adjustments to the Latin type scale.

Chinese and Japanese

Line height is slightly larger than Latin-based characters.

Line height pairing, Chinese and Japanese

Tall script considerations

Noto supports tall scripts used in South and Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern languages, including Arabic, Hindi, and Thai. Use regular weight, as medium weight is unavailable in Noto. Avoid using the bold weight, as bold is too heavy.

Type sizes smaller than title styles should make adjustments to the Latin type scale.

Thai and Devanagari

Tall script line height is slightly larger than Latin-based characters.

Line height pairing example, Thai and Devanagari

Language categories reference

For ease of internationalization, Google has categorized languages into three categories: English-like, tall, and dense.

English-like: Latin (except Vietnamese), Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Armenian, and Georgian.

Tall: Language scripts that require extra line height to accommodate larger glyphs, including South and Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern languages, like Arabic, Hindi, Telugu, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Dense: Language scripts that require extra line height to accommodate larger glyphs but have different metrics from tall scripts. Includes Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Code Description Category
afAfrikaansEnglish-like
amAmharicEnglish-like
arArabic (Modern Standard)Tall
azAzerbaijaniEnglish-like
bgBulgarianEnglish-like
bnBengaliTall
caCatalanEnglish-like
csCzechEnglish-like
cyWelshEnglish-like
daDanishEnglish-like
deGermanEnglish-like
elGreekEnglish-like
enEnglish (US)English-like
en-GBEnglish (UK)English-like
esSpanish (European)English-like
es-419Spanish (Latin American)English-like
etEstonianEnglish-like
euBasqueEnglish-like
faPersianTall
fiFinnishEnglish-like
filFilipinoEnglish-like
frFrench (European)English-like
fr-CAFrench (Canadian)English-like
glGalicianEnglish-like
guGujaratiTall
hiHindiTall
hrCroatianEnglish-like
huHungarianEnglish-like
hyArmenianEnglish-like
idIndonesianEnglish-like
isIcelandicEnglish-like
itItalianEnglish-like
iwHebrewEnglish-like
jaJapaneseDense
kaGeorgianEnglish-like
kkKazakhEnglish-like
kmKhmerTall
knKannadaTall
koKoreanDense
kyKirghizEnglish-like
loLaoTall
ltLithuanianEnglish-like
lvLatvianEnglish-like
mkMacedonianEnglish-like
mlMalayalamTall
mnMongolianEnglish-like
mrMarathiTall
msMalayEnglish-like
myBurmese (Myanmar)Tall
neNepaliTall
nlDutchEnglish-like
noNorwegian (Bokmål)English-like
paPunjabiTall
plPolishEnglish-like
ptPortuguese (Brazilian)English-like
pt-PTPortuguese (European)English-like
roRomanianEnglish-like
ruRussianEnglish-like
siSinhalaTall
skSlovakEnglish-like
slSlovenianEnglish-like
sqAlbanianEnglish-like
srSerbian (Cyrillic)English-like
sr-LatnSerbian (Latin)English-like
svSwedishEnglish-like
swSwahiliEnglish-like
taTamilTall
teTeluguTall
thThaiTall
trTurkishEnglish-like
ukUkrainianEnglish-like
urUrduTall
uzUzbekEnglish-like
viVietnameseTall
zh-CNChinese (Simplified, Mandarin)Dense
zh-HKChinese (Mandarin, Hong Kong)Dense
zh-TWChinese (Traditional, Mandarin)Dense
zuZuluEnglish-like