Ever wondered what the Arabic papers are saying?

The Economist has a very interesting summary of what the Arabic papers are saying about the Tunisian revolution. They got the translations from Meedan, a not-for-profit company that aims to promote dialogue between English and Arabic-speakers through translating web content such as news stories, opinion pieces and blog posts.

Ever since I attended the IFLRY conference at Beirut in July 2009 I’ve been interested in developments in the Arab world (especially Lebanon), and finally I’ve found a way to get more – and more varied – news and views than are usually available in the Western media. So naturally I’ve joined Meedan. Here’s my post on the Socialist International’s expulsion of the Tunisian dictator’s party in (currently machine-translated) Arabic:

Read all about it!

The idea behind Meedan is a bit like that behind Wikipedia: any registered user can modify and improve the machine translations. (They also have a group of professional translators who oversee the process.) All modifications to translations are then used to improve the accuracy of future machine translations.

I think it’s a fantastic idea, though bits of the website are a little clunky. Here’s Meedan’s video explaining their work:

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