Thursday, December 06, 2012

Arabic scientific and computer translations

The quality of translations of technical terms from English into Arabic is very low.  They often rely on people who know Arabic much better than they know English, or vice versa.  I am thinking about this as I get bothered with Apple's translation of the IPhone's term "application" into Arabic as "tatbiqat".  Those folks are doing literal translations that make no sense.  The translation should be programs and not applications.  They remind me of the Lebanese writer, Sulayman Al-Bustani (who served also in the Ottoman parliament) who produced (or vomited) the first Arabic translations of Homer's Odyssey.  (The translation was reprinted recently).  Al-Bustani never bothered to learn Greek but he got himself a dictionary and translated word-for-word, literally.