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Google Agrees to Change Arabic Translation of "Gay"  (View post)

james clay [PersonRank 1]

Tuesday, August 1, 2006
13 years ago11,737 views

i'm hoping google doesn't change it...homosexuality IS sodomy.

if the shoe fits...

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I wonder whether there is a positive term for "gay" in arabic. Why? Because such terms arise from emancipation movements from the respective minorities. In Poland where I come from there is e.g. no positive term for black, african or afro american. People just say "negro" or the polish equivalent of it. Indeed negro is so normal there that it's even kind of neutral nowadays. Of course there are more derogative words for blacks.

Lawrence Runacres [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Well, the word 'sodomy' has unpleasant and unnecessary religious connotations, as I'm sure did the Arabic word that Google was translating 'gay' to.

Having said this, this is a translation service, and as such shouldn't be biased one way or the other. What it should give is an accurate translation of both the content and the feeling of the message. Presumably this would mean looking at the context. If you're translating a passage from the Bible, then (probably, I'm not sure), you would want 'gay' translated to something like the Arabic equivalent of 'sodomy', but if you're translating a passage from an Arabic gay pride website, then 'gay' would be better translated to a more neutral term.

lela kikvadze [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

i want to know my results

Ramibotros [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

well basically, we say "loty" about gay people, referring to the bible charachter "Lot" (Abraham's nefew or something), who had this problem of living in some city where homesexuality was common. The story is in the quran, too. We never meant weird sex or sodomy by that word ... However, this word is not that commonly used and is thought to be an insult, just because it's referring to homosexuality. The more common, official word would literally be translated to "Sexual Abnormality" .. Most newspapers here in egypt would use it... But yea, that's how arabic-speakers say it. The current translation of google is the most harmless one, though.. but i bet i'll never see it anywhere else, except mayb in a biology class :)

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> In Poland where I come from there is e.g. no positive
> term for black, african or afro american. People just say
> "negro" or the polish equivalent of it. Indeed negro is
> so normal there that it's even kind of neutral nowadays.
> Of course there are more derogative words for blacks.

I can't agree with you. "Negro" (murzyn) is not politically correct term in Poland. Of course we are less sensitive about that, because we never had serious problems with anti-black racism. But the neutral term, used in mass media, is black-skinned (czarnoskóry) or even Afro-Americans (afroamerykanie) when referring to black people in America.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Well Ludwik the other two are not very common it seems, I get 926,000 results for murzyn, but only 133,000 for czarnoskóry and 14,200 for the more common plural form afroamerykanie (only 843 for afroamerykanin).

Besides czarnoskóry is mostly a descriptive adjective. You wouldn't say "look there goes a czarnoskóry".

I didn't mean to say that murzyn is politically correct in Poland but that the lack of a real alternative makes it kind of neutral. I made a mistake stating that there is no word for Afro American. Waht I meant was tht there is no equivalent like Afro Pole or something along that line. But wait, I get 731for "afropolacy" ;-) in Google.pl

shii [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

"well basically, we say "loty" about gay people, referring to the bible charachter "Lot" (Abraham's nefew or something), who had this problem of living in some city where homesexuality was common. "

That would be... Sodom :)

Trogdor [PersonRank 6]

13 years ago #

To be quite honest, "gay" has a negative connotation in the US, it's a commonly-used term for insults as well as simply derogatory description. How many times do I hear, "That's gay," when someone thinks something is stupid, inane, moronic, etc, and the person doesn't even consider that the word "gay" refers to either happiness or homosexuality.

Given how Arabic language works and from whence it is formed, it's more than reasonable to expect that a word for "gay" would be similar in root to Sodom or Gomorrah. If someone doesn't like that ... tough.

It's kinda like how the word "homosexual" has been replaced by the sanitized "gay", because gay people seem to think homosexual has a negative connotation, even though it is in fact an exact description (moreso than "gay" which has other meanings).

I reiterate ... I hardly expect to like the Arabic word for Darwinism, cult member, or homosexual to have a positive connotation or to be free of similarity to that which has negative connotations ... yet at the same time, I frankly don't care. Why shoud I?

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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