With more than 420 million people speaking the language in 27 countries in MENA (Middle East and North Africa), Arabic is one of the most renowned languages in the world. The ancient language has a deep-rooted history; its origins go way back pre-Islamic Arabia. Fast forward thousands of years and Arabic website translation becomes a strong economic need.
Today, Arabic is one of the fast-spreading languages in the world. What’s more, Arabic is the fastest-growing internet language, and this is not just some speculation. According to Internet World Stats, of the Top Ten languages used on the internet, Arabic is ranked the fourth with a growth rate 7,247.3 %. Russian comes in the second place followed by Malaysian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish, respectively. In addition to that, Arabic is among The Top Ten High Demand Business Languages, and is expected to be among the top five languages in 2050.
From 2006 to 2011, the number of Internet users in Arab countries has been growing by 23 percent annually. It is worth mentioning that this internet growth rate and the increase of internet Arab users are due to the internet penetration in the region where the internet access is becoming cheaper, as well as the diversity of internet access devices, such as laptops, smartphone, and tablets.
Arabic Language Is Active Now
Such overwhelming growth rate of Arab internet users has opened so many doors for a promising future to establish thriving business in the MENA region, especially online business as in E-commerce. Companies and brands are willing to expand their services and products to MENA, believing in the region’s competence for a revolutionary market expansion.
And before you establish a business, one big question mark hangs: do you speak your customer’s language?
Typically, English is the lingua franca language that dominates not only business but the entire internet content, be it websites or platforms. Yet, for a business to succeed, it should speak the customer’s language. Only three percent of the current content online is actually in Arabic; that’s why, there has been a call for more Arabic content. Customers are familiar with the English language but they would favor services and products in their own language.
This is something that might have been a little bump in the road, until international companies and brands have recognized the importance to translate and localize their websites into Arabic. Arabic website translation is going to result in more Arabic content online, which can “help diversify the economy and improve opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa”. For that reason, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and more have set Arabic language a priority and gone for translating their websites into Arabic.
In other words, Arabic website translation has become a fundamental principle in the world of business for the MENA region.
Arabic Website Translation… Challenging As Ever
Unfortunately, the Arabic content provided online is poor. According to Wael Ghonim, Google’s former regional marketing manager: “There is a lot of Arabic content but it is not well structured. We want more structured content. We want more of the professional, niche sites, more businesses.” So let’s face it; there’s a problem in quality! And the first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. The problem in quality is a direct result of the challenges of the Arabic language.
If you are getting your website translated into Arabic, you want to create a friendly satisfying experience for your customers. Quality is on the top of many things that can bring about such pleasant experience. Any mistranslation, misusage of words, or any offending words or graphics might come between your objectives of the website.
Here are some of the challenges of the Arabic language (linguistic and technical), that can help you avoid any pitfalls during your Arabic website translation.
- Which Arabic to translate to?
Confused? No wonder! Arabic has many variations between its spoken and written forms in the Arab world. There are three main Arabic forms: Classical Arabic (the language of Qur’an), Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and Colloquial Arabic. With such diversity of audience, for Arabic website translation, MSA is the best choice. This is how you reach the wide audience of MENA, since MSA is commonly used and understood across MENA, contrary to Colloquial Arabic which varies from a region to another.
- Arabic Terminology: Hard to fit in
Arabic still has a long way to catch up with the constant evolution of technological and technical terms used online. Under these circumstances, it turns out to be a bit challenging to come up with equivalent Arabic terminology. Probably, this is one of the reasons why most of the companies still use English for their landing pages or basic content to describe their services.
In 2013, UNESCO, ICANN, and the International Centre of Terminology have launched a project aiming to provide Arab-speaking countries with language tools to develop an Arabic glossary of Internet governance terms for effective internet participation. In addition to global efforts, people of the translation industry are endeavoring to develop an Arabic glossary and terminology, facilitating your Arabic website translation and achieving the needed quality and consistency.
- While Reading in Arabic, Look Right
Apart from the fact that Arabic poses some linguistic challenges, Arabic has a different writing system from any other language. It’s a bidirectional language running from right to left, except for numbers and Latin-based characters (they run from left to right). During Arabic website translation, this might come off as an obstacle to create a consistent version that looks identical to the English website version. For that, a professional translation provider turns to DTP (Desktop Publishing) specialists who design software, user interfaces, and layouts that support these unique characteristics of Arabic. Their work includes mirroring the website content (text, embedded text in graphics, images, tables, columns, navigation bars…etc.).
In a nutshell, an Arabic website translation is a no go without all the stringent DTP work, for a furnished localized website.
Best Practices for Arabic Website Translation: Meeting the Expectations
Translating your website into Arabic is never just about words; rather, it’s about making your website appealing than ever to your targeted audience in the MENA market. Such huge responsibility to meet the expectations of your audience calls for some of the best practices to ensure a seamless Arabic website translation.
- Planning First, Translation Second
If quality is what you aim for, then a language service provider is what you need. A language service provider understands the importance of planning for a good translation before the actual translation takes place. It all starts the moment a task is submitted, as the localization project manager makes an overall assessment. He understands the requirements of the project, upon which starts selecting the suitable vendors (native translators and linguists). His decision is strictly based on their profound subject matter expertise, proven experience with both the source and target language, along with their capability of utilizing translation tools.
- Beyond Words
While working on your website translation into Arabic, a translator must be fully aware of the cultural differences. This means that the translator should masterfully create a smart translation of slang terms, idiomatic expression, jokes, and cultural references. You don’t want your Arab audience to be offended by any mistranslations; rather you want to have a translation appealing enough to grab their attention; a translation with the same charisma of the original message.
Moreover, cultural correctness goes beyond words; it includes every other aspect of your website. It covers graphics, images, colors, and more. Arabs being your target audience isn’t something to be overlooked. People of the MENA region are generally considered a conservative community that is very sensitive when it comes to culture, religion, and history. A thorough localization process should be carried out here to make sure nothing inconvenient is placed, such as inappropriate photos, offensive references, etc. All these efforts are for the sake of providing a user-friendly experience for your target audience.
- Arabic SEO Translation : Sine Qua Non
Your online presence at one of the most prominent global players in economic scene, MENA, needs a smart Arabic SEO translation to pull more traffic to your website and reach your Arab audience. More traffic means more visitors, more customers, and more revenues. Search Engine Optimization process helps your website appear higher in search engine searches and this entails translating title tags, headers, script messages, metadata, URLs…etc. and optimizing the translated content to generate intelligent industry-relevant Arabic keywords. Arabic website translation agencies will help your business to translate and adjust the best SEO strategy for your website.
- QA Online Testing
Before launching your Arabic website, an extensive QA testing is performed to make sure the website is free of any linguistic, technical, functional flaws, or any cultural inconsistencies. Your global image hinges on the excellence of your localized website, and this QA online testing ensures the integrity and functionality of the website. Usually, translation providers make sure that QA engineers work by a checklist for QA online testing, in addition to a league of experienced in-country native-speaking linguists who carries out the reviewing and proofreading procedures, working hand in hand with the technical and localization team of engineers and DTP specialists. Basically, this QA testing puts the finishing touches for a smooth customer experience. And, that’s a wrap for your Arabic Website Translation.
Given the huge prospects and opportunities of the MENA region, it’s time to consider translating and localizing your website into Arabic. Expand your brand, and boost your online presence for wider audience, because this is the future of business. However, translating and localizing our website is kind of a big deal.
In BayanTech, we can help you out with that! We understand why your Arabic website translation and localization can be a big deal. To that end, we offer to manage a full-scale Arabic website translation and localization. As a professional language service provider, with multiple years of experience in the translation and localization industry, BayanTech relies on diligent project managers, carefully selected pool of in-country native-speaking translators, reviewers, and proofreaders with thorough knowledge and subject-matter expertise who happen to be tech-savvies, as well as our DTP specialists, engineers, and graphic designers.
Experience speaks louder than words, so feel free to check our previous clients. You can be our next; contact us to discuss your project.