Arabic Language academies and their role in unifying translation of terminologies

Category: Translation                Written by: Daqeeq          Date: 22 Mar 2021

Daqeeq says….

Arabic Language academies and their role in unifying translation of terminologies

The first academy of Arabic was established in Damascus back in 1919. In Egypt, there were endeavors to establish one in the late 1800s, but the project only came into existence in 1932, with the declared objectives being “to maintain the integrity of the Arabic language, fulfill the needs of sciences, arts and modern civilization, produce comprehensive linguistic and historical dictionaries, study modern Arabic dialects in Egypt and other Arab countries, publish a journal of linguistic research and verify the riches of Arabic cultural heritage”.
There are similar institutions in Jordan, Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, UAE and Morocco, while promoting Arabic is part of the mandate of scientific academies in countries like Iraq and Tunisia. Like its sister in Cairo, the Jordanian Arabic Language Academy is a winner of King Faisal Prize. According to the prize literature, the academy “has exerted inexorable efforts in translating sciences and technology, transferring terms and introducing Arabization in higher education as a prelude towards implementing Arabized science and technology in education throughout the Arab World. In addition, the Academy issues the periodical, ‘Journal of the Jordanian Arabic Language Academy’.”
All of these academies cooperate among each other in the field of translating emerging terminologies in different disciplines. For example, the Cairo academy translates terms related to arts and sciences that are endorsed by special committees and shared with other Arabic language academies and cultural institutions in the Arab world.
In her study on “Arabization and Its Effect on the Arabic Language (Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 469-475, May 2017 DOI:, researcher Abeer Al-Shbiel cites a consensus among Arab linguists on the need to unify translations of scientific terms, in implementation of a pan-Arab agreement signed in 1945, stipulating that the unification of terminologies is the job of  language academies, specialized conferences, and joint committees.
Ali Al Qassimi, in a 1986 paper titled “The Unified Term and its Status in the Arab World,” published by the Journal of the Arabic Tongue states: “The primary objective of providing unified Arab terminology is to find an Arab common scientific language understood by all scientists and technicians in various Arab countries making it an effective tool for education, research, writing, and translation in the field of science and modern technology “.
Scholars have set the following conditions for translating the scientific terminology, as cited by Shbeil:
“1. There must be a precise relationship between the original meaning and the new meaning.
  1. In setting the term, attention with the accuracy of the meaning must be taken care of before the word itself.
  2. The term must not be chosen from the terms with common and known original connotations.
  3. Not using one word for indicating different scientific meanings and setting one word to denote a particular term.”

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