Posted by: sean | November 19, 2009

Google, in Arabic

For those of you who, like me, are terrible at typing in Arabic, Google has just made things a bit easier in a couple of ways. A while back, I was excited to have discovered Yamli, which is a search engine that transliterates Latin text search phrases into Arabic. This has made searching the Arabic-language internet much, much easier for me, since I am likely the slowest typist in Arabic you’ll ever meet. Google, however, has upped the ante and integrated a similar system into the translate tool and even into Gmail. (It’s likely that this has been integrated into other parts of the vast Google empire upon which the sun never sets.)

I haven’t played with the new option much, but one thing I have noticed is that whereas Yamli gives you several options for a transliteration (since the ways of putting Arabic into Latin script are many and varied), Google only gives you one option, which is automatically selected after you’ve typed in your Latin script phrase. The translation page seems to have some colloquial as well as standard Arabic, but there are some kinks to iron out. For example, if I want to say “I want” in colloquial, I have to to be careful to get it to not write “in my hand.” Likewise, it seems to sometimes confuse “soul” and the colloquial for “to go.”

In any case, it’s good to see Google becoming more Arabic-friendly, and I’m sure I’ll figure out how to get my point across to the system. Either that or learn how to type properly in Arabic…



  1. After Google has replaced your word, you can click on the Arabic word to display a list of other possibilities :-)

    I used to use yoolki for my traslantion/transliteration tools.

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