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Department for General Assembly and Conference Management

Arabic Translation Service

Established in 1973 and currently comprising translators from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Senegal, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and the United States of America, the Arabic Translation Service has, over the years, endeavoured to make the Arabic version of United Nations documents as "Pan-Arab" as possible. The majority of the ATS staff translate into Arabic from two, sometimes three languages. These include, in addition to English, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. The Service has managed to bridge regional terminological differences and forge a standard Arabic style to the satisfaction of the Arabic-speaking Member States. The terminology coined by the Arabic Translation Service has spread far and wide in the Arabic-speaking world, becoming legion in the whole gamut of the Arabic media.

The new technical terms and concepts that crop up every day in Western languages, and often appear in the UN documents, such as gender, gender mainstreaming, e-government or UN-Women, used to be daunting to the Arabic speaker. Thanks to the daily efforts exerted by the Arabic UN translators, such terms and concepts are now merely a click away in the UNTERM portal. Beyond this mainstreaming thrust, the Arabic Translation Service is actively contributing to the enrichment and modernization of the Arabic language. 

Arabic, like all other UN official languages, has benefited from technological advances. The Service actively uses and contributes to the advancement of UN-specific translation tools, such as the in-house Computer-assisted translation tool (eLuna) and the United Nations terminology database (UNTERM).  

Thanks to its successive generations of dedicated linguists, the Service has managed, in close cooperation with its counterpart Arabic translation sections/units in the other duty stations, to rise to the challenges stemming from the linguistic and cultural specificities of the Arabic language and keep abreast of developments occurring at the conceptual, terminological and technological levels.


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