Is Arabic Translation Important for Your App?

Is Arabic Translation Important for Your App?

Arabic translation doesn’t rank near the top of the to-do list for most startups. A Jordanian entrepreneur in Silicon Valley thinks that’s a big mistake.

Hani Morrar, business development manager at Dakwak, a Web translation company in the 500 Startups Accelerator program writes that entrepreneurs are missing first-mover advantage by ignoring the Middle East.

“Even though the Arab world is home to more than 60 million smartphone users and 90 million people on the Internet, Arabic is widely regarded as the most under-served language on the internet,” Morrar says on the 500 Startups blog. “And less than 1 percent of all apps are available in Arabic. Talk about a BIG ASS missed opportunity.”

Morrar is backed up by research from Common Sense Advisory showing that the online Arabic-speaking population surpasses the Russian, French and German-speaking populations combined. Common Sense Advisory also found that only four of the top 100 Web brands offer Arabic content.

That’s a lot of potential users and Morrar writes that they’re easier to reach than it may seem. Using Google Translate or crowdsourcing services to get a basic modern standard Arabic translation is a good place if only because having some Arabic content would put a startup well in the lead of most companies.

“Many people still have completely false ideas of what life is like in the modern Arab world,” Morrar writes. “People use the internet. They go on Facebook. And they use apps, websites and almost everything else people use in the United States. Most of them have never ridden a camel, and many Arabs spend just as much time browsing silly Internet websites as you do.”

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