November 24, 2005

Bilingual hypocrisy!

In a recent flight back to Jordan onboard our national carrier, I picked-up the in-flight magazine “Royal Wings” expecting only the good-for-5-minutes-skim-through while taxing towards the runway, but to my own surprise, I found a reborn version of the magazine that rid itself from the cheap-glossy paper, poorly-translated editorials and rip-off postcard-grade typical imagery of Jordan.

It was actually a very modern purposeful magazine, adapting the very elegant mirrored-bilingual layout, and more interestingly, it was very current with its topics.

In fact, its October issue hosted an article written in English talking about the rise of the Jordanian blogging scene, which was spookily aligned with my growing intention to start blogging… but hang on a minute, I have read the magazine right-to-left and left-to-right cover-to-cover, why was this article written only in English unlike all the other aritcles?

Could it be that they run out of allocated paper?
Was it a last-minute filler-editorial to cover blank pages abandoned by advertisers?
Or would it be – I fear this case- that the editors thought the content of the article is either not of an interest or relevance to the Arabic reader or just simply wouldn’t feel as good if translated to Arabic?

I managed to passively ridicule this nuisance encounter into a mere unanswered question to be tackled by my unconscious self! But as I took the flight back to Saudi, I grabbed the November issue of the magazine, and what did I find myself doing, I was skimming through the magazine to verify that all the editorials where available in both English and Arabic, and they were!

In it, I read an article in English listing the top 10 locations –or activities- that indulge you into Amman’s high-life or something in that line… when I read it, I thought to my self how can this article with its exclusive ideas and “elitist” mindset; how can it be captured and translated to Arabic? -I assume it was translated and not originally written in Arabic because of the nature of its content- I was happy to find that the Arabic residual of the article was solid and intact and was as entertaining as the original, of course I did not personally agree or entertain the content, but that’s a different story all together!

So what is it then? Why did the editors of Royal Wings missed on publishing the blogging article in Arabic? I fear that it has something to do with the general obnoxious trend among the trendy circles of Jordan, where Arabic is viewed as a burden! Like the Italian restaurant in Amman that goes into length designing and printing a bilingual Italian/English menu and missing out on the dominant language spoken by its customers?

Perhaps I should ask the editor-in-chief himself, he/she should have an answer to my unexamined and ill-intentioned speculations? I’ll certainly do that and publish their answer.


Newsandseduction said...


Roba said...

Actually, actually *getting really excited* it was published in Arabic before it was published in English during the summer issue of Royal Wings. Then it was published again in the autumn version in English.
You can read the Arabic version here(page one, page two).
(Please do notice the aweful translation.. boloo'3 Nader Shnoudi! he3 he3)

AlOoSh said...

Salam Basem,

That was really interesting...
O loved this part :

"Shafiq" I shouted "Do you know how to use a computer" in a cross- gulf-arabic-Tagalug-hindi-urdu-english dialect,
"No" was his answer with sheer shock out of surprise,
"Do you know what’s the internet ?” i reiterated and he replied with an unanticipated "Yes"!

Yalla keep Blogging :P