No longer lost in translation: In world’s languages, Saudi youth speak of home
- A group of young Saudis are seeking to portray the correct image of the Kingdom in various languages, with a focus on culture, art and identity
A group of multilingual Saudis is informing the world about their country through their “KSA in All Languages” volunteer initiative.
It serves to promote dialogue and information about Saudi identity, culture and history in various languages and on various social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram.
“Many across the globe are still oblivious about Saudi Arabia. There are many misunderstandings and misconceptions about the Kingdom and what it represents,” said Khadija Moraished, the general director and a board member of the initiative.
“We want to correct this. To reach a global audience we had to use their language, find talented and skilled Saudis who excel in a certain language, hone that skill and use social media.”
The initiative so far has 264 volunteers who speak 11 languages. One of their tasks is to identify language trends, interests and national days.
“We’re targeting the world’s most spoken languages — English, French and Spanish being the top three,” said Moraished.
“But in order to reach a wider audience, we expanded and we’ll keep expanding as we continue to discover local talent with the same dedication as those who launched the initiative.”
In a globalized world, translation has become an important tool to enhance understanding between cultures. As such, the initiative translates various topics about the Kingdom.
“Stumbling upon Korean culture by coincidence three years ago paved the way to an interesting journey of self-learning the Korean language,” said AlReem Mutlaq, 23, the initiative’s media director.
“I pushed it further after passing a Korean language test two years ago that focuses more on scientific terminology.”
Abdulhakim Al-Dhafeeri, one of the founders of the initiative’s Spanish translation department, said: “I’ve been fascinated by the language since 2006. Interacting with locals while studying for my master’s in innovative business creation and management in Valencia, Spain, strengthened my language skills while creating a social circle of friends and colleagues.”
He added: “Many of the volunteers share the same experience of integrating into societies, and are able to fulfil the initiative’s goal.”
He said: “As connections are made, each language expert is better able to properly portray the Kingdom’s image.”
Volunteers participate in local events, conferences and festivals, and share their experiences on social media.
Those events have included the Misk Global Forum, discussions at the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, the Formula-E racing championship and the Janadriyah festival.
“The King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue held a workshop in late 2018 called ‘The Image We Want of Saudi Arabia’,” said Moraished
“We were invited to a discussion panel with a focus on what type of content should be prepared to correct misunderstandings about Saudi Arabia, and how understanding different cultures and diversity can help deliver this content to the world,” she added.
“We focus our efforts on highlighting the Kingdom’s progress and achievements, and efforts by Saudis both young and old, backed by our generous and supportive government,” she said. “We plan to expand more and reach a wider global community.”