No longer lost in translation: In world’s languages, Saudi youth speak of home

Updated 09 January 2019
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No longer lost in translation: In world’s languages, Saudi youth speak of home

  • A group of young Saudis are seeking to portray the correct image of the Kingdom in various languages, with a focus on culture, art and identity

A group of multilingual Saudis is informing the world about their country through their “KSA in All Languages” volunteer initiative.

It serves to promote dialogue and information about Saudi identity, culture and history in various languages and on various social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram. 

“Many across the globe are still oblivious about Saudi Arabia. There are many misunderstandings and misconceptions about the Kingdom and what it represents,” said Khadija Moraished, the general director and a board member of the initiative.

“We want to correct this. To reach a global audience we had to use their language, find talented and skilled Saudis who excel in a certain language, hone that skill and use social media.”

The initiative so far has 264 volunteers who speak 11 languages. One of their tasks is to identify language trends, interests and national days.

“We’re targeting the world’s most spoken languages — English, French and Spanish being the top three,” said Moraished.

“But in order to reach a wider audience, we expanded and we’ll keep expanding as we continue to discover local talent with the same dedication as those who launched the initiative.”

In a globalized world, translation has become an important tool to enhance understanding between cultures. As such, the initiative translates various topics about the Kingdom.

“Stumbling upon Korean culture by coincidence three years ago paved the way to an interesting journey of self-learning the Korean language,” said AlReem Mutlaq, 23, the initiative’s media director. 

“I pushed it further after passing a Korean language test two years ago that focuses more on scientific terminology.”

Abdulhakim Al-Dhafeeri, one of the founders of the initiative’s Spanish translation department, said: “I’ve been fascinated by the language since 2006. Interacting with locals while studying for my master’s in innovative business creation and management in Valencia, Spain, strengthened my language skills while creating a social circle of friends and colleagues.” 

He added: “Many of the volunteers share the same experience of integrating into societies, and are able to fulfil the initiative’s goal.” 

He said: “As connections are made, each language expert is better able to properly portray the Kingdom’s image.”

Volunteers participate in local events, conferences and festivals, and share their experiences on social media.

Those events have included the Misk Global Forum, discussions at the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, the Formula-E racing championship and the Janadriyah festival.

“The King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue held a workshop in late 2018 called ‘The Image We Want of Saudi Arabia’,” said Moraished 

“We were invited to a discussion panel with a focus on what type of content should be prepared to correct misunderstandings about Saudi Arabia, and how understanding different cultures and diversity can help deliver this content to the world,” she added.

“We focus our efforts on highlighting the Kingdom’s progress and achievements, and efforts by Saudis both young and old, backed by our generous and supportive government,” she said. “We plan to expand more and reach a wider global community.”


Jeddah Season provides seasonal employment for young Saudis

Updated 18 June 2019
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Jeddah Season provides seasonal employment for young Saudis

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Season festival has provided a wide range of seasonal employment opportunities for young Saudi men and women, helping them gain experience and prepare them to enter the job market.

More than 5,000 young Saudis are working around the clock, each in his or her field, to manage the festival’s activities.

The festival aims to highlight development opportunities in Saudi Arabia, introduce the Kingdom as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, support the government’s efforts to empower Saudi youths, support local small and medium enterprises, develop Jeddah’s tourism sector and provide volunteer opportunities.

Jeddah Season, which began on June 8 and runs until July 18, has attracted thousands of visitors of all ages through its 150 local and international events and activities.

It is being held at five sites: King Abdullah Sports City, Al-Hamra Corniche, the Jeddah Waterfront, Obhur and Historic Jeddah (Al-Balad), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jeddah Season offers a wide range of tourism, entertainment and cultural events and activities, and sheds light on the city’s status as the Kingdom’s tourism capital. Most of its events are being held for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

Jeddah Season is in line with the Vision 2030 reform plan, which aims to advance the welfare of Saudi society, diversify local development opportunities, improve the Kingdom’s contribution to arts and culture, and create job opportunities for Saudi youths.