WM Levant Empowers Arabic Speakers with a Video Translation Workshop

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The Wikimedians of the Levant user group (WM Levant) kicked off 2024 with a groundbreaking workshop – the first ever in the region for Arabic speakers! Translating and subtitling videos created by the Basque User Group into Arabic was the focus of the program.

The workshop was a successful collaboration between WM Levant and the Wikimedia Basque User Group. More than 20 videos were translated into Arabic under the guidance of WM Levant experts Mervat and Michel Bakni. This enriched Wikimedia Commons, the free online library of videos, and provided a valuable skillset to the Arabic Wikipedians.

Image 1: The Basque literature section, the entire set of videos is subtitled in Arabic

The workshop implied an introductory session to introduce the participants to the Basque culture and the process of translating videos on the Commons. The learning experience extended beyond video translation, where the workshop introduced the participants to the Basque language and culture, and to the creative online community, creating a more enriching experience for the 12 Wikipedians who participated from the Arabic community. 

Image 2: Tracking schedule in the workshop page

This innovative program sheds light on the power of collaboration between user groups across borders and languages. Not only did it significantly broaden the presence of Arabic content on Wikimedia Commons, but it also served as a catalyst, empowering Arabic speakers to actively engage and contribute to the continually expanding reservoir of freely accessible knowledge.

Image 3: A screenshot of one of the Arabic-subtitled videos

“To bolster the second phase of this collaboration, participants were surveyed to gather their feedback. Impressively, all respondents reported an experience that exceeded expectations, expressing a keen interest in future iterations of the workshop. However, they suggested several areas for improvement, including extending project durations, diversifying subject matter, implementing more robust progress monitoring mechanisms, and amplifying project promotion across social media and official community channels.”

What’s Next?

The WM Levant group is planning for the second phase of this fruitful collaboration, which involves adding subtitled videos to the relevant articles on Arabic Wikipedia, and translating the new videos that the Basque UG is working on. 

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