Managing the Opposites
Arabic the fifth most spoken language
LW Paris, June, 2012
Mohamed Hassan
Contents
During this session we will discuss:
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Facts and figures
Typing and direction
Ligatures
Sorting, Layout, and character sets
Numbers and calendars
Political aspects
Economical aspects
Social and cultural aspects
Technological aspects
Initiatives and orientation
Arab member states of Arab league
Wikipedia
Arabic – facts and figures
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About 374 million speakers
Official language in 25 countries/states
Mainly used in MENA but also around the world
One of the six official languages of the UN
Arabic is no. 7 in top 10 languages used on the internet1 (2010).
Growth rate of 3,300% in internet users form 2000-2011.
• Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the most used
• Different spoken dialects but one written Arabic
• Different preferences in calendars, numbering formats, weekends and
naming conventions
1- Internet World Stats
Typing and direction
• Arabic is a RTL language
• Requires logical-to-physical transformation
algorithm
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• Text input is in logical order
RTL
LTR
• Output is in physical order
RTL
• Unicode layout algorithm is
applied (Bi-Di)
• Non-contiguous cursor movement
and selection
• RTL reading order has to be set correctly view Bi-Di
text
• Keyboard input in Arabic/Latin
Ligatures
• Letters connected to form words
• No capitalization
• Italics is not preferred
• Combination of 2 or 3 letters in 1 shape
• Accordingly no acronyms or abbreviations are
allowed
Sorting, Layout and Character sets
• Manual or semi manual sorting and indexing
– Less tools and file formats support Arabic sorting
• Arabic article “Alef Lam” is
connected to words and starts
with the first letter of the alphabet
• “Alef”
Dialogs, buttons, scrollbars, rulers, columns, menu bars,
tables, some photos and flowcharts have to be flipped
(mirrored) to run from RTL
• DTP tools vary between no support to fully supporting
Arabic
• Charactersets and encodings that partially support Arabic
are: Windows-1256 and ISO 8859-6
• Charactersets and encodings that fully support Arabic are:
Unicode and UTF-8
Numbers and Calendars
• Ten numeric symbols
• Numbers are written from
left to right
• Two sets: Arabic and Hindi
numbers
• Two calendars:
• Gregorian
• Hijri (lunar year): depends
on the moon cycle which
is 11 days less than solar cycle
Political aspects
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Arab spring:
– 4 revolutions done: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen
– 2 in process (Syria, Bahrain)
– 2 warming up (Jordan, Morocco)
– Others may follow
– Youth ignited
– ICT based – Internet, Social Media, Mobile, IM, video streaming, VoIP…
Form of governments Republics, Kingdoms, Sultanates, Emirates, and others
Political parties are not allowed in some countries
Policies to encourage/enforce employment of local nationals in private sector:
Saudization, Emiratisation, Omanisation, Qatarization
Visa types and eligibility
Monopoly legislations exist in majority of countries and applied by different levels
Employment laws exist in all countries and applied by different levels
Foreign investment laws with different levels of openness and support
Economical aspects – inflation rates
2011
25%
20%
20%
15.80%
5%
2.50%
1.90%
4%
2.80%
3.70%
5%
4.90%
7%
6.50%
6.10%
5.20%
CIA World Factbook
5.60%
0.30%
0%
6.40%
6.00%
4%
5%
13.30%
15%
10%
Annual IT spending - KSA
Tech. markets spending - KSA
Arab countries GDP per capita 2010
$80,000
$70,000
$60,000
$50,000
$40,000
$30,000
$20,000
$10,000
$0
UNData
Arabic Culture
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A distinct culture influenced mainly by language, religion, environment and major
traditions of a conservative nature
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Majority are Muslims
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Cultural/legal restrictions on types of content and media
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Differences in the level of openness, with a common ground of traditions
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Localization process includes:
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Text translation
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Cultural adaptation
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Multimedia and photos assessing and adaptation
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Other sensitive and geopolitical topics should be taken into consideration…
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Arabic communication relies on symbols, emotional resonance and language used to
create social experience
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Arabic culture is a high-context culture which depends on how much meaning is found in
the context versus in the language code
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The Arabic culture also prefers indirect communication styles, and words may be tied
more to emotions rather than concrete realities
Arab countries – Internet growth
Country/State
Egypt
Sudan
Algeria
Morocco
Iraq
Saudi Arabia
Yemen
Syria
Tunisia
Somalia
Libya
Jordan
United Arab Emirates
Lebanon
Mauritania
Oman
Kuwait
Palestine (West Bk.)
Palestine (Gaza Strip)
Bahrain
Qatar
Comoros
Djibouti
Totals
Population
( 2011 Est. )
82,079,636
45,047,502
34,994,937
31,968,361
30,399,572
26,131,703
24,133,492
22,517,750
10,629,186
9,925,640
6,597,960
6,508,271
5,148,664
4,143,101
3,281,634
3,027,959
2,595,628
2,568,555
1,657,155
1,214,705
848,016
794,683
757,074
Users, in
Dec-00
450,000
30,000
50,000
100,000
12,500
200,000
15,000
30,000
100,000
200
10,000
127,300
735,000
300,000
5,000
90,000
150,000
35,000
n/a
40,000
30,000
1,500
1,400
Internet Usage
31-Dec-11
21,691,776
4,200,000
4,700,000
15,656,192
1,303,760
11,400,000
2,609,698
4,469,000
3,856,984
106,000
391,880
1,987,400
3,555,100
1,367,220
100,333
1,741,804
1,100,000
1,512,273
n/a
694,009
563,800
37,472
61,320
356,971,184
2,512,900
83,106,021
% Population
(Penetration)
26.40%
9.30%
13.40%
49.00%
4.30%
43.60%
10.80%
19.80%
36.30%
1.10%
5.90%
30.50%
69.00%
33.00%
3.10%
57.50%
42.40%
58.90%
n/a
57.10%
66.50%
4.70%
8.10%
Internet users
growth
4,820%
14,000%
9,400%
15,656%
10,430%
5,700%
17,398%
14,897%
3,857%
53,000%
3,919%
1,561%
484%
456%
2,007%
1,935%
733%
4,321%
n/a
1,735%
1,879%
0%
4,380%
Facebook users 31Mar-12
10,475,940
n/a
3,328,800
4,408,340
1,550,840
5,148,240
436,500
n/a
2,955,260
75,500
464,700
2,226,220
2,909,860
1,444,200
87,160
422,180
898,560
914,660
n/a
346,220
481,400
13,340
42,260
3,307%
38,630,180
Technology aspects
• E-government and e-services programs – different levels of
advancement
• UAE, BH, KSA are among the 25 emerging leaders in egovernment development*
• UAE, EGY, BH are among top e-participation leaders*
• UAE, BH, KSA, QA among top 50 e-government
development index *
• Saudi Arabia the number one country in the world with the
highest proportion of mobile phone users 188% **
* United Nations E-Government Survey 2012
** United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)) 2011
Arab countries initiatives
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Increasing Arabic content on the internet
Increasing Arabic content usage and referencing (Arabization)
E-Learning and distance learning
Encouraging R&D
E-Government and E-Services
Government automation
Innovations and entrepreneurship support and funding
Automating health sectors
Large investments on ICT Infrastructure (mobile, internet…)
Q&A
[email protected]
@mohamedhk
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