Translator of the Week: Haifa Alrasheed

I always like Haifa Alrasheed's choice in the articles she translates in GV Arabic Lingua. She also is now getting her toes wet in covering Saudi Arabia at Global Voices Online. Haifa – who said here [Ar] that she sometime like to spell her name as Haipha – is a college student majoring in Computational Linguistics, and she prefers to write a mixture of Arabic and English posts in her personal blog, Haifa's Notebook.

Let's try to chat with Haifa in order to know more about her.

Hi Haifa, can you please tell us more about yourself?

Well … I'm a college student, majoring in Computational Linguistics. I'm interested in everything from philosophy to technology. When I have time, I like to read books, do voluntary work, and lately blog. I'm also keen about languages and linguistics fascinates me! I lately joined GV MENA family as an author and translator.

So let me ask you, how did you learn about Global Voices, and what attracted you to Lingua?

I was directed to GV by a blog -which I can't recall now :-)
What attracted me to Lingua is that it's a chance to interact with both Arabic and English language professionally, especially that the posts there are written by non linguists. It is also a chance to practice my translation skills.

Your choice of posts to translate is always interesting to me, so I'd like to know what kind of topics you find more attractive on GV. Also, what are your favourite reads

I usually pick non political regional ones. Human activism always catches my eye. I also like to read about different topics. And when it comes to books, my favourite ones are “The Stuff of Thought” by Steven Pinker, “Samarkand” by Amin Maalouf, “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran, “The Perfume” by Patrick Suskind and “The Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell. Also, my favourite author is Steven Pinker while I like reading to Malcom Gladwell, Amin Maalouf, Dr Ghazi Algosaibi and Anis Mansour.

Can you please tell us more about your field of study – computational linguistics?

Computational Linguistics is a discipline between language and computer science which is concerned with the computational aspects of the human language. It has both theoretical and applied components. Computational linguistics is also defined in Wikipedia as science that “deals with the statistical and/or rule-based modelling of natural language from a computational perspective”.

As we can see, your field of study deals with natural languages as well as computers, so do you think it may have an effect on your work in Lingua especially that in lingua you deal with languages and translations all the time.

Yes I do. Through out my short experience in Lingua, I got the chance to see the flow of the language, where it is heading, and what are the difficulties faced by translators and authors. And who knows maybe one day I'll develop a software made specially for Lingua translators :)

One problem that most of translators face is to find Arabic equivalent for English terms, especially technology-related and newly coined words. Do you find it more suitable to Arabize the then English terms (Sayyevha from Save & Farmat'ha from Format), or come out with Arabic terms even if they are not as popular as the Arabized ones like (Hefz for Save, etc.)

I believe it depends on the context used. For example, it is fine to use Arabized words informally in everyday life either virtually or face-to-face; however, I believe, it is inappropriate to use them formally – e.g. in written media. Some contexts also require using both (like mass media) because it is directed to all types of people. At the end of the day, Arabic is a very rich language, so why not make use of its richness?

I see that you are using Tumblr for blogging, and I've also noticed that many Arabs now – especially the young ones like you – are starting to use tools like Tumblr and Posterous instead of Blogger and WordPress. You are also on Twitter. Are they just tools, and using any of them doesn't make any difference, or do you think they dictate a special blogging style.

I believe that when I feel like blogging, I will; however when I don't, I'll just post pictures or videos that describe my current state of mind on Tumblr et al.

Finally, are there any other questions I didn't ask and you'd like to add here?

Nothing. I guess you covered it all.

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