Translating the internet into Arabic

10 October, 2019

Extracts below from the Guardian newspaper, UK. Full text here: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/oct/08/spread-word-i...

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Just 0.6% of internet content is available in Arabic, despite it being the fourth most common language among internet users. Ideas Beyond Borders (IBB), the organisation behind the House of Wisdom 2.0 translation project, plans to narrow this chasm and democratise access to knowledge for the Arab world.

The organisation’s founder, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, grew up under the regime of Saddam Hussein. “It was kind of the motherlode of misinformation,” the 28-year-old recalls. Now he wants to arm Iraqi and Arab young people against the authoritarian regimes and extremist groups that silence diverse narratives and allow violence to thrive...

So far the organisation has added more than 2.1 million words to Arabic Wikipedia, including entries on female scientists, civil rights, religious diversity, evolution and conspiracy theories.

The response has been remarkable. Since launching in 2017, IBB has attracted more than 1 million followers to its Facebook page, and draws more than 40,000 views across its online channels a day. It has also translated books, including Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker and Waking Up by Sam Harris.

Requests are flooding in and IBB is doubling the team of 60 translators to work with six more universities across Iraq as well as branching into Kurdish and Farsi. Every week, the team posts about a different female scientist on social media.

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with almost 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese). Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org