Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Meedan Bridges Language, Culture
From Robert Lukes, Dakota
A new website was launched last month with the intention of providing a means of communication between the Arabic- and English-speaking worlds. Meedan, the Arabic word for "gathering place" or "town square," is meant to symbolize the old town squares where people would gather together and discuss community issues.
Arabic-language websites have been fairly unrepresented in the internet, but this is set to change in the near future. Vinton Cerf, a vice president at Google, estimated that the number of Arabic-speaking internet users in the Middle East will increase by 46.4 percent in the next three years, creating a great opportunity for increased communication between people across the planet.
The method for this breakthrough is a computer translation program that translates articles, blogs, and comments into the language of the reader. This automated translation is augmented by a team of experts and reader contributions-not unlike Wikipedia-to fix any inaccuracies in the computer translation.
In this way, Meedan intends to break through the familiar narrative of conflict between peoples. Through creating an online community, the people behind Meedan hope to bring the people into direct communication with each other. Much has been said about the gap in understanding between the English-speaking world and the so-called 'Arab street.'
More information, can be found at news.meedan.net.
I just hope they don't start some war by using translation software for this praiseworthy project.
For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.