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Way to indicate "Native dialect" to the user profile (P)
Thread poster: ArabInk
ArabInk
Local time: 05:43
English to Arabic
+ ...
Sep 30, 2004

As a user of the Arabic forums/kudoz, it would be very helpful to know the native dialect of contributors. There is a rather large gulf between Standard (written) Arabic, which nobody speaks natively, and the many local Arabic dialects. Even Standard Arabic usage may vary across regions. So it would be useful to add a way to indicate "Native dialect" to the user profile. I believe the same concerns apply to Chinese and probably lots of other languages. Thanks.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-02-02 14:03]


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 06:43
Spanish to English
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Excellent idea - For English too! Sep 30, 2004

ArabInk wrote:

... it would be very helpful to know the native dialect of contributors. ... So it would be useful to add a way to indicate \"Native dialect\" to the user profile. I believe the same concerns apply to Chinese and probably lots of other languages.


Excellent idea! And it would be great for English too: I've always wanted to be a spectator to a conversation between a Welshman and a Texan...


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:43
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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Been discussed before Sep 30, 2004

See http://www.proz.com/post/157029#157029

Make that a Texan and a Geordie! (I think the Welsh accent is very precise and easy to understand.)


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 06:43
SITE FOUNDER
Thank you Sep 30, 2004

I have added it to our list of things to do.

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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:43
English to Arabic
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Relevance of ID of regional Arabic dialect to translations in MSA? Sep 30, 2004

Greetings... taHaiya Tayyiba wa b3d...

Because translations into the Arabic remain rendered in MSA (absent some of Naguib Mahfouz's play scripts and novels), it would seem that adding an indicator of a poster's regional / original dialect of Arabic may be an superfluous feature (and extra work for Henry) and of limited utility to many participants in < proz.com > except for those subscribers who use and work with portions of recorded audio Arabic.

Khair, in sha' Allah.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California


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ArabInk
Local time: 05:43
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
relative usefulness Oct 1, 2004

Stephen Franke wrote:

Greetings... taHaiya Tayyiba wa b3d...

Because translations into the Arabic remain rendered in MSA (absent some of Naguib Mahfouz's play scripts and novels), it would seem that adding an indicator of a poster's regional / original dialect of Arabic may be an superfluous feature (and extra work for Henry) and of limited utility to many participants in < proz.com > except for those subscribers who use and work with portions of recorded audio Arabic.
...snip...


Hi and thanks for the reply (and for your generous reply to my Qatar query on another forum).

You may be right as to the general usefulness of such a feature; hard for me to judge. It's true we have this thing called "Modern Standard Arabic", but there's a substantial grey area between MSA and local dialects. In addition, purely as a matter of linguistics there is plenty (well, some) variance in MSA usage by region. E.g. "talk" in Egypt is "kallam", in the Levant "haka"; both are MSA. Naturally it gets worse where cultural and institutional variety is involved. A principal or headmaster in Egpyt is a "naathir"; in Qatar, the term is "mudeer". Again both are acceptable MSA, but using the wrong term can make the translator look bad, which has happened on the project I'm working on. (Honest, it wasn't me! The translators were native Arabic speakers.) We had vigorous debates going on between native speaking staff from different regions over translation issues. Of course, if the text involves legal, diplomatic, military, etc. issues such problems could have serious consequences.

In short, a dialect indicator as part of the User profile would save Kudoz Askers the trouble of noting the region of interest and would save respondents the trouble of annotating answers with dialect info repeatedly. The fact that people generally don't bother to do this currently could be for several reasons. It's cumbersome; but also I wonder if it isn't partly the work of the mythical S in MSA; how aware are MSA "native speakers" of regional variation? I wonder if anybody has done a good study on such variation. (For readers with no Arabic: there are no native speakers of MSA. People read it and write it, but even relatively well-educated Arabs can find using it in conversation a challenge.)

I suspect similar issues arise with Chinese.

In other words there's localization and then there's localization. We could use another term to indicate more finely-grained localization to a specific dialect or region within a larger language grouping. I wonder how many companies localize products for that great fiction "the Arab World" without realizing that MSA that looks fine in Kuwait may look a little unnatural in Morocco.

Thanks,

Gregg Reynolds


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