Arabic online content: Kingdom leads the way



JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS

Published — Wednesday 19 December 2012

Last update 23 December 2012 4:32 pm

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King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology is stepping up efforts to boost Arabic content online by translating international scientific magazines, as well as developing software and computer systems that serve the Arabic content.
It is a well-known fact that digital content of languages is a primary source for knowledge to build a community capable of competing in the fields of science and technology on the global stage.
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) had the privilege of implementing the King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content in collaboration with parties inside and outside the Kingdom with the aim of boosting Arabic content quantitatively and qualitatively.
KACST is aware that Arabic content is a continuous project that evolves with time. Moreover, it is not a one-party project but is contingent upon contribution through a strong joint effort aimed at preserving the culture of the nation and its knowledge resource, enriching it with new sciences and advanced technologies, and making them available to citizens and Arab readers.
The effort paid its fruit by increasing Arabic content online to seven times in comparison with 2008 (1429 Hijri). Google estimated that Arabic content increased to 2 percent in 2011-2012 (1432/1433 Hijri).
This initiative resulted in Saudi Arabia being in the lead of Arab countries in enriching electronic Arabic content. The number of scientific terms documented in “Basem,” the Saudi Automated Bank of Terms, is more than 400 in Arabic, English, Germany and French categorized according to their scientific specialization.
KACST, in collaboration with international publisher Springer, published eight issues of the “Strategic Technologies” magazine, and is keen to make the digital content it produces or supports available to everybody online on its website, http://publications.kacst.edu.sa.
In this regard, it has accomplished 70 percent of the search engine to recognize Arabic letters, identify Arabic text, and link it with interactive scanned images of a text processing system. KACST completed a project to develop computer models to use the semantic representation of web technologies in semantic juxtaposition with the Holy Qur’an. In addition, KACST proposed new algorithms to explore the automated relationship of semantic juxtapositions in the Arabic vocabulary.
Other projects included a system for the analysis of the grammar of Arabic texts online. This has been completed, and an experimental copy was posted on the website. The system analyzes the Arabic sentence grammatically, after which it identifies the function of each word. It has also completed work on the interactive project to identify Arabic sounds and their pronunciation. This aims to build an automated system for identifying speech and reading of Arabic texts.
KACST translated more than 2,100 English articles on Wikipedia on the website Wiki Arabi. This has increased the Arabic content on Wikipedia to more than 4 percent.
It has also completed the Arabic search engine development project “Nab’a”, which aims to develop the core of a search engine that supports the special characteristics of the Arabic language and increases the number of indexed pages. It is also designed for developing a sub research engine for Arabic poetry.
KACST is keen to develop an open source software, thus it created the free, open-source software (FOSS) project “MOTAH” that aims to spread the culture of using FOSS in the Saudi society and to contribute in developing software versions that support the Arabic language.
KACST, in collaboration with the Communications and Information Technology Commission, is working to develop an Arabic e-mail with related addresses by the name “Rassell”. Its objective is to build a site that offers a service for Arabic e-mail addresses online.
In addition, KACST is working to develop a number of systems and software to identify and block spam messages. Another system, an Arabic spelling checker software, aims to correct spelling mistakes in an innovative way that takes into account the context of the text.
It is also developing software to recognize spoken Arabic (Automatic Speech Recognition) and transform the spoken words into written Arabic texts.

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