Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Future of English in Multilingual Morocco

Recently, relatively subtle or, rather, unpublicized debate has arisen among educators and politicians over the importance of English as a global language in the Moroccan linguistic market. Some political and business figures have voiced that it is high time the English language replaced, or at least rivaled, French in its supremacy in the educational and economic spheres of Morocco.

Regardless of the purely educational aspect and significance regarding the Moroccan language policy, it seems that political ideologies fuel the surfacing of such controversial stances and heated debates; it brings practical profit sought by these figures in order to gain the public attention.

The Istiqlal’s Secretary General Hamid Chabat has stated that English is the language of the modern time in all world countries, and that its status must be promoted to be the first foreign language for Moroccans. Along with Chabat, prominent social activist and businessman Noureddine Ayouch called in various political and media meetings for English to be introduced early in public schooling. Needless to say, these calls have demonstrated the importance of English in today’s world.

English is admittedly the world’s most internationally recognized language for communication among people from different parts of the world. It is the Lingua Franca of the globalizing world, and the language of our rapidly developing science and technology. Thus, it appears that these pro-English demands anticipate the dire need for Moroccan graduates to know English—so that they may function effectively in a world that no longer complies with local or national frontiers, but rather is universal in its cultural and economic dimensions.

Regardless of the political and ideological affiliations of English proponents, special attention should be paid to this timely controversial issue rather than ignoring these demands for their being politically and materially driven.

The educational, political, and economic spheres in Morocco must be empowered by the knowledge and use of English to keep abreast with global changes and sustainable development. However, by the same token, national languages and local identity need to be preserved through flexible and interesting educational and media programs that tighten Moroccans to their unique national identity and Arab and Islamic belonging.

The linguistic variation in Morocco—with Modern Standard Arabic and Amazigh as constitutionally official languages and French being widely used but unofficial—makes the promotion of English quite a complex challenge that needs serious political will and educational reform to accomplish. The social, as well as economic, uprising Morocco has experienced since the beginning of the 21st century seems to miss the point by not giving English the value it merits through its increasing power worldwide. In education, high school students demonstrate mediocre knowledge and lack of mastery of French, despite its being introduced in their early years of schooling.

Though several explanations can possibly account for this unpleasant fact, students’ attitudes and the complexity of the French Language may be plausible reasons. Author Leila Abou Zeid claimed in a meeting held by the ALC Fez, that many Moroccans, including herself, hold a hostile attitude towards French because of colonization; English, however, is seen to be more likely retained and learned, since students sit for a standardized national exam at the end of their secondary education, and many do far better in proportion to French.

As Morocco has strengthened its economic exchange with the United States, and with Moroccan commerce being free and open to the international market, learning English has become a prerequisite for all job seekers in both private and public sectors. The globalizing world has made English an ogre that devours all other languages on diverse fronts, such as business, science, and technology.

Evidently, this is an unfavorable situation of what might be called language imperialism, as English seats itself on the throne of world languages. However, a hard choice concerning language policy should be made in order to catch up with the wave of economic and scientific revolutions. English is more likely to obtain prestige as Morocco’s first foreign language, as its use is appreciated and even mandatory in sectors such as international trade and scientific research. As Moroccan education, media, commerce, and culture are becoming more and more open to the world, learning and using English is an indispensable requirement.

English is the first foreign language students in secondary education opt for. This is demonstrated by the huge numbers of students studying English as a foreign language in comparison to the number of students who study others—notably Spanish and German. This fact indicates the need to make English more than just another foreign language complementing students’ professional and academic interests. Students have become aware that their communicational incompetence in French could be substituted with learning English, which is an easier and faster process.

In the same respect, the Moroccan Ministry of Education has been increasing the recruitment of graduates majoring in English to qualify for teaching positions in high schools across Morocco. In 2009, for instance, the number of English language teachers trained for secondary schools rose to ninety, and one hundred the following year. This escalation went on to attain 400 trainee-teachers for the coming school year, which indicates how critical the need for English language instructors in Moroccan public schools is. Without doubt, English is becoming a powerful language in Morocco for the years to come, and education appears to be the channel of its forceful succession to the Moroccan linguistic platform.

Source: Morocco World News

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What makes a good translation?

Why is a good translation critical to a company's success?

A good translation is of utmost importance when venturing into new markets or launching a new product or service. Poorly translated product descriptions or marketing materials compromise the image of a company and question the quality of the services or products offered. 

However, many businesses look for a cheap translation believing that a cheap translation can be actually quality translation, as claimed by the service provider. The truth is, however, that a quality translation required quality translators and such specialists are not "cheap". Subsequently, the cheap and allegedly quality translation, incurs more expenses in the long run. As the companies suffer the consequences of low-quality translations, such as negative customer feedback, dropdown in sales, they realize the need for additional investments in retranslating their content and eventually buying genuinely good translation, which means that they pay twice for translating their materials.

What is translation and how to ensure good translation?

In essence, translation is not a simple word for word substitution but rather a very complex and creative process of rendering the original content in the target language by utilizing equivalent concepts and nuances corresponding to the source text. One of the characteristics of a good translation is that it reads like it was written in the target language. So, clearly, the most important aspect of producing a quality translation is hiring a good translator. Other important aspects that should  be considered are the provider responsibility as well as the usage and usage proficiency of CAT tools on the part of the language service provider.

How to identify a good translator and why hiring a translation company is your best choice?

Identifying a good translator is never an easy task and it involves serious risks. It is best to hire a translation company that would handle recruiting the right linguist for your translation project and save you the time, resources and hassle that this process usually incurs. It is important to always look for an agency with years of experience in the translation industry that has developed screening processes in line with EN 15038, published by the European Committee for Standardization in regards with translation-specific quality management.  

What are the attributes of a good translation?

Quality translation involves, above all, precision, knowledge of the subject matter, linguistic skills, native proficiency of the target language, experience, responsibility and usage of CAT tools.


Quality translation is always precise - which means that all the information should be faithfully conveyed in the target copy. Not only the core message should be conveyed but no  details should be omitted. Good translation is creating a precise equivalent of your source text in the target language.

Knowledge of the subject matter

This is an essential aspect of providing a quality translation. If you want to have your say conveyed adequately in the target language, using the language of your industry, you should only work with translators who either have a background in your subject matter or have years of experience translating similar content. Thus you enhance the quality of your translation and ensure that the translation will employ industry-standard terminology ratified in the target language.

Linguistic education

This is definitely a key factor to creating quality translation. Choosing a translator with linguistic education ensures impeccable grammar and style. A translator with linguistic background has received an in-depth training in the source language, grammar, culture and translation know-how. This ensures a deeper understanding of your culture and source text which is essential for creating a good translation.

Native proficiency

It may seem that the need for native speakers of the target language is somewhat overemphasized by agencies but this is actually a core requirement to creating a good translation. A translator must always translate into his or her native language only, in order to ensure native proficiency of the target text. It is not only important that your provider is native speaker of the target language but he must also reside in the target country as this ensures that  the language is practiced on a daily basis.


You have probably heard the famous Julius Caesar quote: Experience is the teacher of all things. This holds true with the translation industry as well. A quality translation is always the result of years and years of translation experience where translators hone their skills and learn how to handle linguistic challenges quickly and efficiently.


Quality translation is always the result of geared effort and a high degree of responsibility. Even if you happen to hire a highly skilled translator, if he or she lacks responsibility, you would not be able to trust the resulting work. Very often translation projects come with specific instructions and requirements which have to be followed as closely as possible. Terms need to be checked, no matter how experienced a translator is. Deadlines need to be met at all times. All this requires responsibility on the part of the language service provider, so establishing a good relationship with a responsible and responsive, client-oriented LSP is the key for receiving a good translation.

Usage and usage proficiency of CAT tools

The translation quality is substantially improved by using CAT tools in the right way. With the help of advanced CAT tools, expert linguists analyze, utilize a company’s previous translations, compile them in Translation Memories (TMs), and create dictionaries and glossaries both for the company’s internal needs and for reference/implementation in upcoming translation projects. This insures a consistent translation and unique brand name voice even if different translators work on the same project.