As part of its efforts to make the internet more accessible for those who use other languages besides English, Google has just unveiled a new tool which can automatically translate Roman-character based Arabic (known as Arabizi) into its original, Arabic script.
The new service is part of Google’s Input Tools translation programs, and can be used with products like Gmail, Google +, Chrome and many more, allowing users who don’t have Arabic script on their computers, or those who can speak Arabic but not write it, to create messages in that language in their original characters.
Input Tools are also available in languages such as Russian, Persian, Hindi and Hebrew among others, although widely-used languages such as Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Thai have not yet been included.
Fayeq Oweis, of Google’s Arabic Language and Localization department, explained:
“Although I do not like writing [in Arabizi] and I would always recommend using the Arabic language directly, some users may not have a keyboard in Arabic… so these tools facilitate the process and maintain Arabic language content.”
The new Arabizi tool is currently only available for Windows, although we’re expecting that it will later make its way to Android, as several of its other Input Tools are already available on that platform.
It seems that Google is intent on making its brand and services more localized within the Middle East – the company just recently launched a new YouTube channel to coincide with Ramadan that featured programs dedicated to the holiday.
It’s not just Arabic speakers that Google are pursuing though. The company has unveiled a range of initiatives in recent weeks aimed at making their services more accessible to non-English speakers, such as voice support for Android in 13 new languages. In addition, Google is also doing its bit to preserve those languages that are in danger of dying out altogether, participating in the Endangered Languages Project, a collaborative database and resource that aims to “protect global linguistic diversity”.