Free Arabic transliteration tool released

Allows any website to convert Latin keyboard characters into Arabic text in real-time

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  October 9, 2008 has released a free API, allowing any website to use its transliteration technology to convert Latin keyboard characters into Arabic text in real-time.

The company hopes that the application programming interface will encourage more visitors to use the language by allowing them to ‘type it the way they say it’. Studies have shown that many Arab internet users are hesitant to type in traditional Arabic, choosing to instead write the language phonetically using Latin keyboard characters - a process known as transliteration.

"I would often experience frustration trying to find Arabic news on the web. Like millions of users, I could easily express my Arabic words using English letters, but I had difficulty typing them in Arabic,” explained Habib Haddad, co-founder of

“The need for a technology that efficiently converted those phonetic spellings into meaningful Arabic words seemed natural to me. It would have to be so seamless that users would be able to write Arabic text and forget they were using English characters. This is how Yamli was born."

By distributing this technology freely, hopes to promote Arabic content on the internet and make the language more accessible.

The API won the ‘best web technology’ award at the 2008 Pan Arab Awards in April.

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