Moutarjam is a web-based platform that harnesses the power of crowd-sourcing in order to aid the transfer of knowledge to the Arab World. Our social media platform is empowering hundreds of thousands of bilingual contributors to translate pre-existing scholarly works, articles and analyses into Arabic, enabling a cultural shift by making otherwise inaccessible knowledge available to the 360 million of Arab population.
The Arab Spring has, for the most part, resulted in a changeover of political elites, suggesting that meaningful revolution requires a broader, sustainable change on the cultural level, tapping deep into Arab society. The dissemination of knowledge is crucial in effecting that shift.
Currently, Arabic-language content on the internet represents as little as 1.3% of global Internet content. Arabic is spoken by 360 million people worldwide, yet on informational websites such as Wikipedia, the number of articles available in Arabic is equivalent to that available in Lithuanian, Romanian and Kazakh. This digital crisis is part of a wider dearth in Arabic-language knowledge production: while Iran, for example, boasts 12,000 book publishers, the Arab world in its entirety is home to only 500. With regard to translation specifically, Spain translates more books in one year than have been translated in the Arab world over the last 1000 years and Greece translates five times more books from English than the entire Arab World with a population of only 11 million people.
You can see here some interesting stats: www.moutarjam.com/stats
Bearing in mind that the Islamic Golden Age was catalyzed in eighth century Baghdad by a dedication to the cause of knowledge translation from other civilizations, we believe that the Arab world’s renaissance is intimately linked to the availability of knowledge from all cultures and intellectual disciplines.
Moutarjam’s pilot site was launched in May last year. Within a few months, and after minimal promotion, it had attracted 895 members. An average of 30 articles are being translated per week, with topics ranging from technology, to art, to entrepreneurship. The members, or volunteer translators, constituted a wide array of ethnic, religious and political backgrounds. Admittedly, the enthusiasm of young people to both produce and consume translated information surpassed even our wildest expectations.
We are conscious that knowledge availability is not sufficient in itself to initiate a real change, however, it is a necessary first step that has to be followed by a second step, increasing interest in culture among youth, for which we are developing interesting ideas involving crowd-sourcing.
The new platform
Hence, we have improved and expanded the Moutarjam platform, which will be re-launched on 20 May 2013. The new platform applies state of the art techniques in software design and process improvement to enhance productivity and user experience. We have also assembled a team of engineers dedicated to continuously upgrading the platform, in accordance with a constant stream of user feedback.
Who we are
Moutarjam was established by a group of Arab students and young professionals who, from the onset of the Arab Spring in 2011, regularly met in order to discuss and debate ongoing political developments. We resolved that, in searching for a means by which to bring sustainable and substantive change to the region, it was important to move beyond the realm of discussion into action. Consequently, we resolved to initiate a collective project aiming at a cultural revolution, and set about building the pilot platform.
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