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On Saturday, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) signed a memorandum of understanding with King Saud University (KSU) for the translation of Wikipedia articles into Arabic, an agreement that was formalized by Dr. Abdulaziz M. Al-Swailem, KACST Vice President for Scientific Research Support, and Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi, KSU Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research.
Dr. Faiz Alshihri, Dean of KSU’s College of Languages and Translation, emphasized that the Wikipedia project will be a massive undertaking involving the translation of one million scientific articles into Arabic. The objective is to increase and improve Arabic content on Wikipedia, especially articles on science and technology.
The program will be overseen by several governmental agencies such as KSU's College of Languages and Translation and KACST's Computer Science Institute, which oversees the King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content. Dr. Alshihri emphasized that a large majority of the translation work will be taken on by students of the College of Languages and Translation. Their work, however, will be reviewed and evaluated by the college faculty.
According to a July article in the Saudi Gazette, KACST researchers are making extensive efforts to enrich Arabic content on Wikipedia as part of the King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content, which is especially committed to translating scientific content in Wikipedia into Arabic.
Although Arabic is the fourth most popular language in the world, the Arabic version of Wikipedia still ranks 25th in terms of volume. It was earlier ranked 27th. But with large and concentrated scientific contributions underway, the goal is now to push the Arabic version to Rank 10.
The College of Languages and Translation was launched in1977 as an arm of the College of Arts, operating under the name of “European Languages and Translation Center.” The center was renamed the Institute of Languages and Translation in 1990 and in 1994 became the College of Languages and Translation.
The College offers 10 bachelor’s degree programs in 10 modern languages and its translation program offers training in four areas of translation: bilingual, consecutive, simultaneous and visual. It publishes a peer-reviewed journal, providing an opportunity for scholars specializing in linguistics, translation, and foreign languages to publish their research.
KACST was established in 1977 as the Saudi Arabian National Center for Science and Technology (SANCST). In 1985, it was renamed King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.