Pass in­side Khaleeji joke with new Arab emoji app

Khaleej Times - - BUSINESS - Rohma Sadaqat

dubai — Ever get the feel­ing that a lot of im­por­tant de­tails get lost in trans­la­tion? Or that there aren’t enough emo­jis to prop­erly con­vey an in­side joke in your cul­ture?

With the launch of Halla Walla, users will soon be able to use spe­cial stick­ers that will al­low them to por­tray the Khaleeji cul­ture in their con­ver­sa­tions. The new key­board emoji and sticker app was cre­ated by Yas­mine Ra­sool and Eriko Varkey to specif­i­cally cap­ture the con­ver­sa­tion of the Arab and Khaleeji life­style.

“Halla Walla was cre­ated as a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of our day-to­day com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” the co­founders said.

“We wanted a slick tool to ex­press our­selves and to cap­ture the cul­tural col­lo­qui­al­ism that we felt was lack­ing on pre-ex­ist­ing apps. We hope we are off to a good start on this — we en­gage daily and look for feed­back and sug­ges­tions on what me­dia needs to be added. We’re aim­ing to make it into a dig­i­tal tool that makes it eas­ier for peo­ple to com­mu­ni­cate — say it with Halla Walla!”

De­rived from the say­ing which roughly trans­lates to ‘what’s up’, the app pur­sues the many glimpses of Arab cul­ture, trans­lat­ing them into the tech age through re­lat­able char­ac­ters, nos­tal­gic themes and play­ful GIFs.

As the re­gion’s first com­pre­hen­sive dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion kit, Halla Walla’s stick­ers and emo­jis al­low users to ex­press them­selves in Ara­bic or English, spice up pho­tos and chat with stick­ers on iMes­sage, as well as send GIFs to friends and fam­ily, both on An­droid and iOS hand­sets.

“We wanted to cre­ate some­thing that we know well and give the Khaleeji cul­ture a boost through our cre­ativ­ity. When it came to rep­re­sent­ing the mod­ern Mid­dle East­ern voice, we felt there was a real gap in so­cial mes­sag­ing plat­forms. From our loud fam­i­lies, end­less cousin gath­er­ings and shared meals, to sig­na­ture phrases, fash­ion state­ments, football, shisha and late night shawarma runs — our

Arabs have such a rich cul­ture, but no emoti­con to ex­press on­line Eriko Varkey, Co-founder of Halla Walla

lives are brim­ming with in­side jokes and over the top emo­tions that needed a plat­form to be ex­pressed,” said Ra­sool.

Varkey fur­ther high­lighted why Halla Walla was cre­ated, adding: “Arabs have such a rich cul­ture, but no emoti­con to ex­press on­line. In any sit­u­a­tion — we use hand ges­tures, which are laden with emo­tion. So, to ex­press that stress to hurry up when you are wait­ing hours for your friend to meet you at the cof­fee shop — what bet­ter way than by scream­ing yalla! Hence the rea­son why Halla Walla was born.”

The app lets you use less words and more emoti­cons; and there are sev­eral emo­jis, GIFs and stick­ers ex­press­ing ev­ery emo­tion, from an­gry to happy to heav­ily in love. The app also fea­tures four Khaleeji char­ac­ters named Ahmed, Shaikha, Lulu and Waleed to bet­ter por­tray the Khaleeji life­style icons.

— rohma@khalee­j­times.com

Sup­plied photo

Users will be able to use spe­cial stick­ers that por­tray the Khaleeji cul­ture in their con­ver­sa­tions. —

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