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Swedish Institute launches Arabic website

Swedish Institute launches Arabic website

Published: 19 Oct 2011 16:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Oct 2011 16:11 GMT+02:00

Sweden's "official gateway" on the internet launched an Arabic edition on Wednesday, in an effort to strengthen Sweden's dialogue with the Arabic speaking world.

“We’ve seen that this region is very important for Sweden in many ways, but that they have very little knowledge about Sweden,” Frida Roberts, Head of digital communication for sweden.se, told The Local.

“This is not just another language version of the site, it is locally adapted with everything from imagery, the content, and the technological aspects.”

The Swedish Institute (Svenska institutet), Sweden's primary public diplomacy agency, initially launched the sweden.se website in 2002, choosing English as the default language.

The website offers advice on everything from what to do while visiting, to information about working in Sweden and housing.

Since the site was first launched, additional languages have been added, including Spanish, German, French, Russian, and Chinese.

And now sweden.se can also be viewed in Arabic.

In addition to general information about Sweden, the site also features selected news stories previously published on The Local and translated into Arabic.

"It's exciting that news about Sweden can now be read by Arabic speakers around the world," said The Local's managing editor James Savage.

The Arabic version of the site, ar.sweden.se, is also designed with a few special technological considerations in mind.

“The availability of high speed Internet is a lot more limited in that region, so we’ve avoided the use of Java script and Flash media, for example,” Roberts said.

“It’s a design compromise where availability was prioritised.”

It has taken nearly two years to lay down the groundwork for the new website, including securing the necessary funding and conducting and thorough research of the target audience.

After a test launch of the site at Sweden's embassy in Cairo on October 13th, the site was officially launched with a ceremony held on Wednesday at the Foreign Ministry attended by trade minister Ewa Björling and ambassadors from several Arabic speaking countries.

“The site is aimed largely towards a young audience which constitute an important part of the demographic profile in the region,” Björling said in a statement.

“Increased knowledge and mutual understanding are important steps on the road to dialogue and development.”

Related links:

Joel Linde (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:16 October 19, 2011 by Addendum
And this cost how much?
17:56 October 19, 2011 by Scansson
Well at least there should be no more excuses when laws are broken from certain people coming from certain countries.

But, how much further will Sverige have to bend over bass ackwards to accommodate others who are trying very hard to force there cultures and political religious ways on this host country... When will they reciprocate?
18:09 October 19, 2011 by Iraniboy
Hehe I guess thelocal.se news from Ice mosque to Arabic site etc is especially selected to hurt its XYZphobic posters :D Good job thelocal for showing the true Swedish essence :)
19:15 October 19, 2011 by hughknows
A few questions: The past two years the government has introduced Russian language and also Chinese language versions of the StudyinSweden.se website - did The Local cover these developments? I cannot find the Chinese or Russian versions of the Swedish institute website mentioned in this article - I would like to know whether they exist, and if so why is there no link to them from this article? In fact why are there not also stories about their launch?

Also - I understand the rationale for paying for different 'technological aspects' so that people can access it with low bandwidth, but completely altering imagery and basic content - what is the purpose of that? Especially if it is geared at young people like it says - surely they are part of the global village and can be informed and enticed to visit the same way as those in other regions of the world. I would especially like to know if they spent the same resources doing 2 years of careful research and cultural exploration in catering to the Russians and Chinese - the versions for which as I mentioned, seem difficult to find through either google or this article, while the Arabic and English versions pop up straight away.
22:30 October 19, 2011 by planet.sweden
The Ghost of Christmas Past, and (eh, ok Ramadan) Future...

It appears that under Moderaterna the Swedes really are determined, no absolutely determined, to commit cultural, ethnic, and linquistic suicide. I'm quite sure the Arabs will happily grant them their wish, and I'll be long gone from these shores by then and will raise a glass of champagne and explain to people how the demise of Sweden all came about.

But I do hope these bold brave multiculturalists in Sweden (James Savage included) aren't going to go all girly on us when the time comes, for I distinctly remember that when the July 2005 bombs started going off in London, it was some of my most noble and pious multicultural crusader friends of the 1990s who panicked, nej became completely hysterical, first. Bad form that, really bad form. You've got to be able to walk the talk you know. I hope you're ready Mr Savage.
22:40 October 19, 2011 by Grokh
in this case though its probably just protocol and im sure they have it in several other languages to which i say "why is this news?".

unbelievable how the western world tries to accommodate arabs and yet if we go to an arab country its their way or the highway.

We are right in doing so seeing we are civilized and all ,my quarrel is why the hell arent arab countries forced to abide by our stuff aswell ?

Its the whole "everyone is in the UN but only 10% actually respect human rights" .

either everyone meet halfway or lets apply some darwinism survival of the adaptable being not warmongering and oppressing people over religion , and that way maybe we can progress towards a better future without worrying someone will kill you because of not being in the same cult.
23:43 October 19, 2011 by Uncle
What dialogue with arab countries? "Oh, I understand you so much when you hang minorities on your streets", "Oh, it is so awfully cute when you beat your wives to death", "Mmm, could you please enlighten me on whether an 11 y/o girl is too old to get married?"

What dialogue? Why not a dialogue with Micronesia? Why not Togo? Why not Puerto Rico? What, if a "dialogue" will be established they will stop burning swedish flags whenever some caricaturist would like to make a tasteless joke?

Or this one I love:

"Increased knowledge and mutual understanding are important steps on the road to dialogue and development." at the SAME time as they write about slow intenet connections in these countries and therefore they have a site without Java and Flash.

What development? New methods of belly dancing? New shawarma recipes? Methods of explosives smuggling? WHAT DEVELOPMENT? What is it that is developed in these stone age countries that swedes need? Can someone clarify for me?
07:04 October 20, 2011 by lewni
Do not approve. Also crap the way the local picks n chooses what to write about.
07:16 October 20, 2011 by bells on the knight
you cannot have a dialogue with muslims - period. they try it all over the world and ......lose
12:24 October 20, 2011 by cowboykodp
"What development? New methods of belly dancing? New shawarma recipes? Methods of explosives smuggling? WHAT DEVELOPMENT? What is it that is developed in these stone age countries that swedes need? Can someone clarify for me?"

I thought you people only hated Islam. Or is belly dancing and schawarma "Islamic"?

Does it have more to do with you peoples unadulterated and pure racism? One by one the ugly truth shows its head.

As far as development??? Jee lets see, where to begin. Listing the origins of the many things we cherish in the west and its origins would take too long, and frankly too much for you simpletons to comprehend.

"you cannot have a dialogue with Muslims - period. they try it all over the world and ......lose "

This genius thinks all Arab speakers are Muslims.
12:41 October 20, 2011 by outofthebox
LOL! why is west so obsessed about Arabs or muslims that even a website in Arabic is a "news" here. Seriously most of these Arabs won't even give a damn about what's happening in Sweden or for that matter "an Arabic site about Sweden".

@ Cowboykodp.. LOL at your comments. couldn't have said it better :D

So, its not about Islam, its about everything associated with Muslims! even if it is belly dancing and schawarma. Sigh! and you still call yourself liberals and open minded.
14:13 October 20, 2011 by muscle
A long time back, I read in national geographic, or perhaps it was reader's digest anyway, there is a huge percentage of people who are non-muslims in the arab world. The only complain those arab non-muslims had was this, nobody cares or knows if there are non-muslims over there!
18:49 October 20, 2011 by Uncle
"I thought you people only hated Islam. Or is belly dancing and schawarma "Islamic"?"

Oh, I am sorry, was I allowed to talk only about islam? Didn't know that, sorry.. did not get the permission from the dictatorship lovers here. But then, you are right cowboy... I forgot about all these arab countries that are not islamic...

Hold on, cowboy . Could you please enlighten this simpleton which arab countries are not islamic or does not have a muslim majority? Thank you.

Here is a list for your convenience:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arab_countries_by_population

Besides, I LOVE belly dancing and shawarma (I understand the jumping into conclusions, since it is coming from YOU) Are you still attempting to stick "racism" slogan, cowboy? It becomes really funny. I just want to understand what development can an arab world assist Sweden with? Obviously YOU cannot provide this info. Or is it racist to say the word "arab" , you racist?

But then I love the following argument:

"Jee lets see, where to begin. Listing the origins of the many things ... would take too long, and frankly too much for you simpletons to comprehend"

Oh yeah, that long list... Riight.. the long list... that huge and long list... Mmm. Would not fit in here and therefore shall not even start with the huge list.

All that progress. All them Nobel prizes, all them advanced scientific breakthroughs, all these top noch universities, all these wonderful things. Yep, so much to learn...
06:20 October 21, 2011 by Da Goat
well said Uncle!

Science and innovation is solely a Christian pastime, sad that it grew up and left home and it's way big time!

science has stopped being empirical and is now democratic, which renders it like a out of control wino
01:03 October 22, 2011 by Uncle
cheers da goat.

Let me add the Jewish contribution over there. The most Nobel decorated nation per capita....
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