I had the pleasure of being invited on board The Royal Argosy cruise ship this last Tuesday by the Economic Development Board of Tacoma. The Port of Tacoma, the City of Tacoma and Pierce County joined them in arranging for a international networking event with a delegation from Dubai.
The three hours myself and other members of the South Sound spent puttering around the South Puget Sound was done in the company of 30 young men and women, who were visiting as part of the "Dubai Future Leaders" program. Among those I met, all of whom were engaging and seemed to enjoy the first beautiful day in some time around here, were a human resource manager for Shell International, a gentleman working on alternative energy solutions and a woman who was heading up the IT infrastructure solutions for the intergovernmental departments of Dubai. In fact her title on her card read: Head - Information Technology.
The conversation included films we liked or disliked, traveling with an eleven hour time difference, and blogging.
In particular, Aisha Butti Bin Bishr talked about blogging in the United Arab Emirates. She told me about her blog and of course I was interested and got the URL address.
However, it is in Arabic. The solution for me was to go to Google and use it's translation services in order to read the blog posts. It is pretty darn simple to use. I went to translate.google.com and used the URL input box for an Arabic to English translation of the post I was looking at.
So instead of this:
الـــحـــروف يــكـتـبـها الـجـمـيـع .. والــــفـكر الـحـر .. هــو مـن يــحـسـن قـــراءة هــذه الـــــحـــروف “بـعـد اللـيـل”
I was able to read this.
Letters written by everyone .. And free thought .. Is to improve the reading of these characters "after night"
and instead of this:
وجهاً لوجه مع الجمهور
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
كانت الخطة أن تكون هذه التدوينة تتحدث عن واقع المدون الإماراتي….
لكن حصل تغير في مسار الخطه .. وسأكتب عن حدث يحصل لي ويضعني في بؤرة الحدث
I was able to read this:
Face to face with the public
May peace and God's mercy and blessings
The plan was to be a codification of this talk about the reality of codified Emirati….
But the change had taken place in the course of the plan .. The event is happening write about me and puts me in the centre of the event
Which ended up being about a call to other bloggers to be part of a radio program that was encouraging young Arabic writers.
Thanks to the EDB and company for a great afternoon, thanks to Aisha and company for the great conversation, and thanks to online translation tools for being able to keep the lines of communication open.