A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More Adventures in Getting Arabic Wrong

I've previously noted that one should Always Check with Someone Who Knows Arabic Before Posting to the Internet or getting a Tattoo.

It's even more embarrassing to find glaring errors in  a movie trailer. The Language Log linguistics blog notes that the trailer for the forthcoming science fiction film Arrival, a film which reportedly focuses in large part on alien linguistics, apparently is somewhat challenged by a major terrestrial language:

Note the text at the upper left of yhe screen reads:
ة ل ج ا ع   ر ا ب خ أ ;

Similarly, the text on the bottom right says:
ر ش ا ب م ل ا   ث ب ل ا

Yes, someone has failed to realize that Arabic is 1) written from right to left,  and 2) the letters are supposed to be connected.

The first is supposed to read أخبارعاجلة , urgent news or breaking news.  The second is البث المباش, live broadcast.

Longtime readers may recall something similar from the London Olympics four years ago: "Obligatory Olympics Arabic Note: Marhaba bikum fi London, Sort of":
One would think with all the online translation tools this wouldn't keep happening.

In other Arabic news: