Saudi Arabia’s MODON showcases its capabilities at global transport exhibition

Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones has showcased its capabilities at a German conference. (SPA)
Updated 08 June 2019

Saudi Arabia’s MODON showcases its capabilities at global transport exhibition

  • MODON’s participation was one of the initiatives of the General Investment Authority (SAGIA)

RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON) participated in the Transport Logistics Exhibition 2019 in Munich, Germany, held from June 4 to June 7 under the Slogan “Invest in KSA.” 

MODON’s participation was one of the initiatives of the General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

“The exhibition is of international interest due to the expected demand by experts and specialists and investors from around the globe,” said Bandar Al-Tuaimi, general director of marketing and institutional communication at MODON.

He said that the exhibition represented an opportunity to exhibit the qualitative characteristics of the investment environment in Saudi Arabia, and the high standard of services offered by MODON compared to those offered in other modern cities in the world.

AL-Tuaimi said that MODON provided logistical solutions that contributed to creating the optimum environment for localization of investments and provided opportunities for local industries to develop and expand. 

He said that MODON was working in collaboration with the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program toward realizing one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in transforming Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial power and a global logistics platform, taking advantage of its geographical position at the crossroads of world trade routes between the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe.

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

Updated 47 min 8 sec ago

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.