Yesterday the Arabic Web Days tweet up was held at the Qatar National Convention Centre organized by Taghreedat. The event was attended by over 400 people enthusiastic about online Arabic content. Samy AlMubarak, co-founder of Taghreedat welcomed all the attendees and briefed the work done by the organization over last one year. This was the 2nd of its kind meeting that addressed the Arabic Content awareness in the region. The event was supported by Global organizations like Google and Twitter. The event stressed on the importance of volunteering for the online content translation in Arabic. Shady Qabbash, a volunteer at Taghreedat got a job at Abu Dhabi, due to his translation efforts for the community. Then Majd Abbar, from Qatar Computing Society, took on to the stage. Majd said that the significance of Arabic language hasn't died out. The 1st word from Quran was "read" therefore it can keep up with science & other disciplines. Majd previously worked at Microsoft where he was tasked with Arabic on MS Office. Qatar Computing Society has been actively working on translating Wikipedia Library of Congress and British Library. During the presentation we learned that globally Arabic is ranked 4th after Spanish, Chinese and English but only 3% of content online is Arabic.
Some key facts were revealed by Kaveh Gharib who is the localization project manager at Twitter. He stressed the importance of just not consuming content, but also sharing it. He said Social Media was seen as an important channel by major brands to communicate with customers. Some fact stated by Kaveh in the presentation were: -
- In the last 3 years there has been a 300% increase in followers on Twitter for Fortune 100 brands
- There are 17 million tweets everyday in Arabic, i.e. 1 billion tweets every two months.
- 1 out of 4 tweets written in Arabizi – (Arabizi is slang/an alphabet used to communicate in the Arabic language over the Internet)
According to Kaveh, Arabizi is a real problem in creating quality Arabic content online, as major search engines are not able to read the content. Kaveh said translating the existing content on web was a great initiative. However, the next step is to create a content that is interesting for Global audience and stop localizing English content. During the post presentation session one of the Twitter users Hend Al Kubaisi said, “sincerely do discourage Arabizi coz it is not understandable by any new smart technology like google search”.
A representative from Google told the attendees that Google+ has rolled out worldwide in Arabic. A lot of work is being done to bring the Arabic version of Andorid. A Research by Booz on with YouTube on Arab Youth shows that 80% would give up TV before they give up YouTube. Google has developed to encounter the issue of Arabizi.
Maha Gaber, Google’s Head of Global Communications & Public Affairs for MENA stressed on creating localized content. There are 8 localized domains on YouTube in the region - Egypt, UAE, KSA, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria & Yemen. Some important stats disclosed: -
- There are 260 million video views in MENA region – that makes the region on 2nd number after USA.
- Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Playbacks on Youtube via mobile, globally.
- Nearly 2 hours of Youtube video is uploaded in MENA every hour.
This was followed by Niam Itani who spoke about her movie that featured in 15 international film festivals.
Abdulaziz, Marketing manager at C3 Films, spoke about a popular YouTube Saudi channel . The channel has 140M+ views with 950K+ subscribers.
Wael Shateely from Kharabeesh spoke about creating original content online. You can check out his website here.
The event wrapped up with a Q & A session.