Arabic Localization: 17 Tips You Need To Know

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In this video, we give you 17 tips for Arabic localization 🦾 From choosing the best settings to selecting the right tools to use, these are all things you’ll need to know that’ll give you an edge when you work on Arabic localization projects.

This is a summary of what Andrej learned while localizing a landing page with Ahmed from WORDS during the Live Localization streams. We recommend watching these videos for a more detailed view of Arabic localization: http://bit.ly/3OJqxQc  👈 


Hi there, this is Andrej from Localization Academy. In this video, I’m going to give you 17 tips when it comes to handling Arabic localization.

Recently, we did a bunch of live streams together with Ahmed from WORDS. And because this was kind of like my first entry into Arabic localization, I’ve learned so many things while we were trying to localize a landing page. So in this video, that’s what you’re going to get a summary of all of my learnings that I learned throughout this stream. So let’s get right into it.

Number one tip is make sure that you test your demand for localization in the very first place. So what we wanted to initially do is we wanted to localize the subtitles for my localization project management course. And here you can see that it has 10 modules, it has 60 Plus lessons. And when I calculated the word count, it was I think, more than 50,000. That’s a lot of work to do. But the thing is that we don’t know if there’s actually demand for Arabic subtitles to the course, or if you are just fine getting everything in English. So that’s why we decided first to create a landing page where people can sign up and express their interest before we jump into the full localization.

Number two to pick the right tools. So for our series, we partnered with trust, and we were using trust theme, which is the cloud version of their tool. And in the end, it happened to be a good decision because we had multiple things to localize we had the strings from the landing page, we had subtitles for the trailer. And we also had some text from the trailer itself from the video, like On screen text, and also some titles and description from YouTube videos. So all of that went through trato steam, but when it comes to the actual sub paddle localization, you cannot pretty much use try to steam for this because trust doesn’t have any support for it, you would need to use a plugin or Adam for Trotter studio. But in this case for the trailer. When it comes to the subtitles, Achmed decided to use subtitle edit, which I think is a pretty favorite tool to use. And it’s an open source for subtitle localization.

Tip number three, if you’re using NMT. For your project, make sure that you check the quality of it first, especially when it comes to Arabic. Maybe the Arabic quality is not there yet, as it may be for languages like I don’t know German or Spanish. So make sure that you check the quality by your Arabic specialist like your linguists to see if the NMT is actually going to be helpful, or if they’re just going to completely scrap it and decide to translate from scratch.

Number four is a quick one when it comes to image localization. As you can see here, this is the main lady that we have on our homepage for localization Academy. And my question, as someone who has never done much Arabic localization was, should we localize this image? Should we pick a lady that’s made that’s maybe wearing a hijab, because that’s what I typically associate with Arabic countries. And the response that I got from LinkedIn was that no, it’s absolutely not necessary.

Number five is if you have a bunch of strings from many different tools, you might want to collect them into a spreadsheet, which is what I did in this case, as you can see, this is the spreadsheet that I sent for translation, or localization. And I basically manually copy pasted the strings from the website, from the video and also from YouTube. And I send this to Achmed for translation. So this works only because our scope is very small, right, the challenge in this case was that there definitely has to be a way how you can automate all the extraction of the strings for translation. But because the scope was so small, it didn’t actually make sense to invest into finding a way how to automatically extract the strings. So that’s why I decided to just do it manually. But even in our case, because the scope was so small, I became pretty much bored and was quite tedious to copy, paste the strings and then also copy paste the translations back into WordPress and into Premiere. So spreadsheets can work if your scope is very, very minimal, and you don’t have to do it on an ongoing basis. But if this is something that you want to be doing continuously, definitely you need to think about a way how to automate this whole process.

Tip number six is a very simple one. If we’re talking about the landing page, don’t forget to extract strings for SEO. So here you can see this is the Yoast plugin for WordPress, which allows you to set the SEO title and meta description so don’t forget to also extract these strings for translation.

Number seven tip is very similar to the SEO title and description also do not forget to copy the placeholders that you have in your forms, like, for example, this one, enter your email, it’s a thing that you cannot just simply copy from here like you can the other text. So you actually need to get it either through the settings in Elementor, which is the page builder that we’re using for WordPress, or just e to type it manually, as you can see, or just open the code the HTML code and copy it from there. So I believe we have this one. And then we have the second CTA here, which is basically the same string. So the number seven don’t forget about the placeholders and out of text that’s not easily visible on your page.

Direction, RTL. Alright, so I’m going to first drive here on the preview. So this is the whole page, I’m going to say that the direction is RTL. Awesome. Did it flip everything? Yeah, yeah. So that was Tip number eight. When it comes to importing the translations back, if it’s a rabbit, right, left, you have to keep in mind the main thing, which is you need to set the direction in your CSS for the pages, which are using the RTL translations. And you need to set the direction to RTL, as you have just seen in the video from our live stream. And this is going to basically mirror our flip most of the things that you have in your site so that it flows from right to left.

And it’s actually the way that the Arabic audience expects the text to be tip number nine is that doing the direction, RTL in CSS doesn’t do everything. As you can see right here in the video from our live stream, I had to change some of the icons because they were pointing in the different direction. So these icons were just one example of things that you have to change manually. But there could be other different elements for which you might have manually fixed, let’s say, the alignment or the position. And in that case, the simple direction, RTL doesn’t flip it for you because it’s overridden on the element. So that’s why it’s important that you actually go through the whole page, or whatever you were localizing after you said the direction to RTL and then with someone who actually understands Arabic and can guide you, they will tell you what else needs to be manually fixed and flipped. And what actually can stay the same way as it was in English.

Tip number 10. Make sure that you also adjust the font that you use on your website or in your documents or in your videos. The font that I’m using by default on our website is Caban. And Roboto. Especially Roboto is a very popular Google font. And so it’s Caban. But when we just pasted the Iraq translations, the feedback that I got from Archimate was that it didn’t look that great. And that’s probably because the funds are not ideal for displaying Arabic characters. So what we did is that we just googled what is the best on for a rabbit, ideally a Google font, so that’s easy to implement. And we found not all sons are robic, and here you can see me changing the font from a bottle to normal son’s aerobic. And as you can see, even for you even if you don’t understand the language, Visually, it looks much more clear.

That number 11 that we got from the chat is related to carousels, or the slideshows, as you can see here by the normal behavior that we expect in English is that you slide from right side to the left side. But this is also something that you should flip for the Arabic audience because it should go the other way.

Tip number 12 is related to Adobe Premiere bra what I did because I didn’t know what I should be doing is that I simply opened my existing project I duplicated the sequence where we have the English trailer and then I started pasting the Arabic translations. The problem is that once I showed this to Achmed, he told me that the characters are not displayed correctly. And the reason for that is that my text engine wasn’t changed. So if you’re using Adobe Premiere Pro 2022 or earlier versions, you have to change your text engine first before you start copying and pasting or abic translations into Premiere and this is what allows you even to set the paragraph direction for right to left. But if you just recently upgraded to Premiere Pro 2023 Like we did if you open the Preferences and graphics, you will not see the choice for the text engine. So I believe this is a new feature of Premiere and in this case, you just only have to set the paragraph direction so I believe that the latest version of Premiere Pro should be able to handle Moravec and English or Latin characters right away out of the box and don’t forget.

To restart your premiere once you save this settings, tip number 13 is still related to Premiere Pro. And this one is also about the fonts. So the same way that we change the font on the landing page in WordPress, you have to change the font in Premiere Pro as well. So we stuck to the same font. So not all suns robic in Premiere Pro to make it also consistent with the landing page. And you can simply download this font using Adobe Creative Cloud and using the Adobe fonts.

Number 14 in Premiere is related to captions. So once we imported the subtitles that I got translated from Archimate The problem was that it by default was still showing left to right, even though we set the text engine to Arabic and the paragraphs to show right to left. So once you select all the subtitles, all the text that you have here, you have to go to Edit and under Text, this is what you’re looking for. So you need to change the typing from left to right how it was by default and just flip it to right to left.

Number 15. Still within premiere is related to some graphical templates that you might be using to animate certain things. So this is what we have in the English version. So my name and some subtext slides in from the left side and it goes to the right side and then kind of like closes. The problem is that these templates are not ready to be flipped from right to left. So what we had to do is we had to just put a simple static text, which just fades in and fades out because couldn’t customize the graphic template so that it actually animates the right way that it should. So from right to the left side.

Number 16. When it comes to the videos that you’re publishing on YouTube, if you have a thumbnail, which contains a text simple reminder, don’t forget to localize the text on your thumbnail as well. As you can see here we have the YouTube thumbnail and we localize the text as well. One of the clauses this whole video is if by any chance you’re using bit ly links, which may be leading to your English landing page, make sure that you also create bitly links for your Arabic landing page, right, you would probably do the same thing if you even were not using Meteor links. So you want to make sure that you update your links to point to the newly created localized landing page. But also if you’re using Meteor link, make sure that you create another one for your localized landing page. And that’s it everyone thank you for watching all these 17 tips. I hope that some of it was new for you. I hope that you learned something if by any chance you’re interested in seeing our whole progress from start to finish how we localize the landing page and the video you can find it on our YouTube channel but I wanted to create a shorter video to distill all the learnings that I gained by doing this together with Achmed and words. So that’s it. Thank you for watching, make sure you subscribe and like this video if you found this content valuable and I’ll see you in some other video. Bye bye

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