Study on the translation industry in KSA
Thread poster: Parrot

Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:16
Spanish to English
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Aug 20, 2009

I came across this link and thought some may find it of interest (for downloading):

Dr. Fatani discusses many problems, in schools and in the craft, that are common to all AR (and even other-language) translators.


United States
Local time: 08:16
English to Arabic
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Very interesting and accurate paper Aug 21, 2009

Greetings... taHaiya Tayyiba wa b3d...

Very interesting and comprehensive paper on the translation industry in KSA. Dr. Fatani is correct about the major programs in operation at several national universities to educate and train Saudi nationals as professional translators. His treatment of the translation industry in KSA raises a number of good points and areas for improvement or addition to curricula which merit the attention and action by those institutions.

I am most familiar with the degree and certification programs for translation and interpretation majors offered at King Saud U. and Imam Mohammed b. Saud Islamic U., both in Riyadh. My Riyadh-based employer recruited, assessed, selected, and hired many graduates of both programs, plus some qualified graduates from institutions elsewhere in the kingdom, mostly colleges and training institutes in north central Najd/Nefud region. My firm supported training programs for the benefit and modernization of the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

The firm's newly-hired Saudi interpreter/translators (or "ITs") first attended an orientation and then a series of in-house technical courses to familiarize each IT with the type of division and the activities which he would support, plus training on associated software.

If the IT was later promoted or selected for transfer to work in a different division, he would attend a related in-house course on new subjects and technologies before he reported to his new assignment. The firm has been operating this sound program of continuous professional education and progressive training for over 25 years and actively supports the SA policy of "Saudisation". The "down side" of this rigorous and comprehensive program was that a number of experienced and by-then-well-trained ITs tended to leave after 3-4 years to work elsewhere, notably in banks, finance & insurance firms, hotels, and other employers which valued their language skills, their aptitude for pursing professionalism, and their adaptiveness to corporate structures, if not bureaucracies.

With all due respect, I would beg to differ with the author about the criticality of early introduction in the university classroom of the various and constantly-changing [here using a generic term] "translation productivity technologies".

The main reason of my difference is the fact that the industrial and commercial sides of Saudi Arabia's economy have been evolving faster -- and thus adopting more-modern technologies deeper in their business models -- than the universities can track, detect, absorb, and install for use in then training their undergraduate students who are majoring in bilingual translation and interpretation.

Saudi ARAMCO and SABIC are two excellent examples of firms which recognize this need to "grow their own" specialized talent by providing specific training, and SAMBA is close behind them ( I know fewer details about SAMBA's program than about those in the other two examples cited).

Dr. Fatani's observations about the lower scale of compensation available to professional translators and their ascribed low status are spot on (but I refer here only to freelance translators, not to the full-timers employed by the Obeikan and Jarir bookstore chains to translate foreign-language books into Arabic-language editions).

The reluctance of computer science majors, who tend to show impressive bilingual abilities, is mysterious.

Hope this helps. Khair, in shaa' Allah.

May I here extend my felicitations and best wishes to all Muslims on the auspicious occasion tomorrow of the start of observance of the holy month of Ramadan al-mubarak:

Ramdan kareem رمضان كريم

Kul 3am wa entum bikhair كل عام وأنتم بخير

(Hope the Arabic text above displays properly, bidhin Allah.)


Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California

[Edited at 2009-08-21 18:15 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-08-21 23:19 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-08-21 23:23 GMT]


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Study on the translation industry in KSA

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