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Translation Related: Convergence of Arabic Translations

Through our experience in working on several translation projects with several Arabic speaking partners, we recognized the issue of different dialects. There are many versions and dialects of Arabic, and many people from various Arabic countries may have had difficulty understanding the content translated by a team from a specific location.

The actual fact here is not related to 'dialect', but more related to 'convention'.

Dialect is related to spoken languages, which are not normally used in written text especially in formal contexts. Writing usually uses standard Arabic which is understood by all Arabic speakers but the point here is convention as mentioned; that's which word to use to mean what.

This problem occurs when there is not enough ‘convergence’ about meaning, particularly when these meanings didn't originate from Arabic sources, similar to cases of translated texts. For example, in Egypt we may have used to use a certain Arabic word to refer to a certain English meaning, while in Saudi Arabia they have used to use another Arabic word to refer to that same English meaning. We both understand both of the Arabic words each of us used to use, but we simply didn't have it to mean that specific meaning in that specific context; lack of convergence, that's all. This convergence will build over time as users get more familiar with the new use of the word in the new context. We need to be patient in this case before we can see result.

When we are asked to translate from English to Arabic we are essentially being asked as "this is how we say things in English, let us know how you say it in Arabic". There is no problem as long as there is a common meaning in Arabic, the problem happens when we don't say it in Arabic first hand, simply there is no translation, and in this case we are inventing / attaching new meanings to words that have not been frequently used to mean this meaning in Arabic language, or where this meaning has always been used only in English context and people are not able to digest it in Arabic language 'yet'. This is actually ‘Arabization’ not ‘translation’.

These translation endeavours will take much effort before getting accepted and adopted, meanwhile it will need a lot of work, improvements, and alterations until we reach that prospected 'convergence'.







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