Saudi Arabia to showcase key projects in Arabian Travel Market

The Red Sea Project will be an exquisite sanctuary offering indulgent experiences, seamlessly customized to the unique needs of each visitor. (Supplied)
Updated 01 May 2019

Saudi Arabia to showcase key projects in Arabian Travel Market

  • The market includes two major activities for the Saudi exhibitors, the Mega Tourism Projects and the Saudi Seasons 2019 initiative

RIYADH: More than 60 Saudi public and private institutions related to the tourism sector will exhibit at the 26th session of the Arabian Travel Market to be opened in Dubai, UAE on April 28 at the World Trade Center.

The market includes two major activities for the Saudi exhibitors, the Giga Tourism Projects and the Saudi Seasons 2019 initiative, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Giga tourism projects to be showcased at the event are those announced by the Saudi government recently including NEOM, a smart mega-city, Amaala, an uber-luxury destination on the northwestern coast of Saudi Arabia, he Red Sea Project, the world’s most ambitious luxury tourism development established across an archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands, miles of sweeping desert and dramatic landscapes that include volcanoes, and canyons.

Saudi Season 2019 is an initiative to use the expanse of lands that vary between plains, mountains, deserts and the sea and add to Saudi Arabia a climatic diversity with 11 tourism seasons covering the Kingdoms’ regions with all their natural and heritage aspects, as well as providing investment opportunities.

The Saudi participation to be organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) aims at developing the tourism sector with the support of the Kingdom’s leadership and its comprehensive vision to enhance this important industry.

According to SCTH, Saudi participation also includes benefits from advanced international expertise in the tourist sector and applying the best practices that meet and suit the standards of the Saudi market.

The annual Arabian Travel Market exhibition is considered one of the most important specialized gatherings in the tourism sector, attracting 90 countries from across the world and more than 40,000 visitors.

Saudi Hajj ministry investigating how gift to pilgrims was wrongly labelled ‘anthrax’ 

Updated 18 August 2019

Saudi Hajj ministry investigating how gift to pilgrims was wrongly labelled ‘anthrax’ 

  • The Arabic word “jamarat" was inaccurately translated to “anthrax",  a dangerous infectious disease
  • Citing possible repercussions of the mistranslation, scholars want a probe to pinpoint responsibility

RIYADH: The Hajj and Umrah Ministry is investigating the inaccurate translation of the word “jamarat” into “anthrax,” which led to Sheikh Yusuf Estes making a video warning pilgrims of the mistake and its possible repercussions.

The translation concerned a bag that was a gift to pilgrims, containing small pebbles to use for the “stoning of the devil” upon their return from Muzdalifah. The bag had the correct original Arabic description, which roughly translates as “jamarat pebble bag,” whereas the English version of “jamarat” was translated into “anthrax,” a dangerous infectious disease.

According to SPA, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah was notified and opened an investigation with the contractor and translator on August 10, before handing them to authorities to take the necessary disciplinary action.

“Anthrax, where did they get that? They get it from Google, it’s not Google’s fault. Google allows people to tell the meaning of the different languages of words,” Sheikh Yusuf said in the video.

Google Translate, the free multilingual machine translator, relies on comparing large quantities of content between pairs of languages to establish patterns and, in most cases, determine the probability that certain words in one language will correspond with a set of words in another. 

Putting Google Translate to the test, Arab News used the platform to translate a name of a type of fish known in the region as “sha’oor” from Arabic to English. The scientific term for the fish is Lethrinus nebulosus, a type of emperor fish most commonly known as the green snapper or sand snapper.  

Google Translate’s translation was “thickness of feeling.”

Though it yields imperfect results, the service can be used at a pinch, though real human translators rather than artificial intelligence are far more likely to lead to more accurate translations.  

Speaking to Arab News, Dr. Gisele Riachy, director of the Center for Languages and Translation at the Lebanese University in Beirut, explained how the mistranslation of “jamarat” could have happened.

“We have two possibilities, it was either translated by Google Translate or the translator was provided with a single sentence and therefore didn’t understand the meaning of “jamarat,” she said.

“The translator may have not taken into consideration the general context of the word, which has certain religious connotations, therefore it should have been borrowed, translated by the “Stoning of the Devil” or even left as it is.”

Dr. Riachy said that the word anthrax cannot be translated without an accompanying adjective for a better explanation of the term.

“What surprised me is that when translating the word “jamarat” from Arabic to English, the word should have been accompanied with the adjective “khabitha,” or malignant in Arabic, for it to be translated to “anthrax” in English. That is why I am confused and I do not think Google Translate would have translated it into “anthrax” if the Arabic version didn’t include the word “khabitha.”

Sheikh Yusuf Estes’ video was intended for those who would like to take the small bags home as a souvenir or gift, sending a message that the mistranslation could cause the traveler trouble with customs in their own countries.