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An Online Arabic Dictionary Makes Its Debut

A computer science professor at Birzeit University has built an online tool called Arabic Ontology that is both a comprehensive dictionary of Arabic and a system that will enable the creation of new Arabic-language software, such as better machine translation.
Mustafa Jarrar, an associate professor in the department of computer science at Birzeit, in the West Bank, has worked for eight years to create the new tool.  It functions not only as a searchable lexicon of Arabic that can be used as both a dictionary and a thesaurus, but also as a logical system—an ontology—that recognizes the unique characteristics of the Arabic language. It can find relationships between the meanings of Arabic words in a natively Arabic way for the first [...]

Why Translation Deserves Scrutiny

Is translation a discipline or a cause? A catalogue sent to me by a small American publisher begins by naming all the translators of the foreign titles the company is offering, inviting the reader to thank and celebrate the people who have made the English versions of these books possible.
I go to a university seminar on translation whose program is headed with a quotation from Paul Auster: “Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments… who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.”
I go to a translation conference where the keynote speaker observes with satisfaction that the period when a speaker might show an example [...]