UAE | Media

Emirati volunteers strive to boost Arabic e-content

400 Emirati volunteers part of team editing to create global glossary

  • By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 April 29, 2012
  • Gulf News

Emirati volunteers strive to boost Arabic e-content
  • Image Credit: Supplied
Image 1 of 2
12

Dubai: Around 400 Emirati volunteers will take part in editing a new global glossary that will standardise Arabic definitions of online e-terms, authors of the dictionary said.

"The glossary will break a big barrier because many users resort to combining English terminology with the Arabic text, so we want to change that and introduce the first Arabic technology and social media glossary," said Sami Mubarak, co-founder of Taghreedat, who emphasised that the Arabic language constitutes only two per cent of online content.

With the support of twofour54 ibtikar, Taghreedat is set to introduce the first Arabic Tech/Web 2.0 Dictionary and forge a standard list that can be used among Arab speakers worldwide, irrespective of their local dialect.

As Mubarak pointed out, Arabic dialects vary from one country to another, and so the standard of classical Arabic was incorporated while forming the glossary.

Examples of some words you may find in the glossary include phishing, spam, twittering and re-tweets.

Useful

"The main idea is for it to be useful for all online users, and the glossary will be split into the sections of social media and cyber security," noted Mina Nagy Michel Takla, co-founder of Taghreedat.

Taghreedat has relied on the participation of approximately 2,500 volunteers from 28 different countries, although the numbers constantly increases with each day.

Takla also stressed that the project will be made available soon and aims to make it available as an online application that can be downloaded for free.

"Our goal is to increase Arabic e-content, whether written or audio, and to do that we have got to increase Arabic content," said Mubarak, who pointed out that Taghreedat's other projects include increasing the number of Arabic articles in Wikipedia since there are only 154,000 articles, as well as in Wikiquotes that has only 540 Arabic quotes.

"A few of our Emirati volunteers were very active in their participation and helped us a lot with the outreach and to get momentum at the start of the project," said Mubarak, who explained that two of the most active Emirati volunteers that helped shape the Arabic glossary are Shaika Al Maskari and Nada Al Ameri.

"I heard about the project on Twitter via Taghreedat's account and was intrigued by the idea, and am trying to assist in creating a [Arab user friendly] platform," said Shaikha, a senior executive at an Abu Dhabi governmental office.

Language barrier

"I am passionate about the Arabic language and tweet mostly in Arabic, and as I have about 2,000 followers mostly from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, they tend to ask me about the very basic usage of Twitter. There are brilliant people out there and the only challenge they face is the language barrier," she added.

Nada, an IT instructor and manager of IT professional development programme coordinator at Zayed University, was proud to take part in the project and intends to further develop tools that will promote the usage of Arabic online.

"This project is here to stay and can benefit millions of Arab users, because we are lacking a significant presence online. The project was an interesting challenge because it has never been done before," said Nada.

 

Gulf News
Community Reports

More from Community Reports