The Potential of Arabic Online Content

The Potential of Arabic Online Content

Did you know that Arabic is the third most spoken language in the world? No wonder companies are becoming aware that translating online content in Arabic is worth the effort!


In an article on Albawada Business, Mary Sophia gives an account of a report by global market research provider Common Sense Advisory. This report revealed that the number of Arab speaking people found online is now bigger than the online community in Russia, France and Germany.

However, this growth is not reflected in the online content that can be found in the language – only three per cent of online texts is written in Arabic.

However, Sophia points out that the discrepancy between the number of Arabic internet users and online content in the language is quickly decreasing. According to her, players in the online field are now realising the financial gains that can be made when their content is available in Arabic as well.

She states that another CSA report showed that between 2011 and 2012, the Arabic share of the online gross domestic product was the fastest growing share around. It grew even faster than Chinese.

Language service manager for emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa for Google, Dr Fayeq Oweis, agrees that in the last two years, there has been  a growth in the amount of Arabic online content.

As a report issued by Booz & Company revealed, there will be 13 million Arabs using the internet in 2014 (compared to 10 million in 2012), this expansion can easily explained. The report however also stated that about 37 per cent of the internet users in the Middle East and North Africa region believed that the number of websites available in Arabic is seriously lacking.

One of the reasons for this, Oweis says, is the fact that the Middle East isn’t an easy region to create content for as it is very diverse when it comes to geography and financial support is hard to find. He does state that the launch of Youtube’s monestisation policy for the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, meaning people who upload videos can earn money with their content. As the video sharing website has a billion unique visitors per month and is very popular in the Arab region, it might aid in the expansion of Arabic online content.

According to Diana Baddar, YouTube video partnerships manager for the MENA region, most of the two hours of video that is uploaded per minute on the website is in Arabic. Moreover, she says YouTube has the second largest presence in the region, only preceded by the US. The number of people who create content in Arabic, she says, is in the thousands. Sophia believes out that even though YouTube only offers visual content, the website can be a great instrument to boost the written Arabic content as well. Oweis agrees with her and states that all Arabic content is a step towards the increase of Arabic on the web.

Emma Tidey
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