E-government web content problems in Arab nations? Yes, there's quite an overlap with what we see in English language government web content!
In Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), one of the United Arab Emirates, Basem A. Shahin is fully involved in training government employees to produce usable web content. He is a consultant for IforU magazine and sometimes writes articles on Arabic content and government websites. He found my book, Write me a web page, Elsie!, highly relevant and useful for creating content in Arabic. This interested me, so I asked him about it.
Rachel: Please tell us a little about the magazine IforU: the publisher, goals, and audience.
Basem: The RAK eGovernment Authority issues IforU magazine to spread eTransformation awareness among RAK citizens and residents. The magazine publishes news, features and articles about the efforts of RAK eGovernment in that regard as well as its future projects and initiatives. Most of the magazine issues have something about content and web writing. The article which contained excerpts by Rachel was received with enthusiasm by the RAK management and the magazine chief editor.
Rachel: Why did you decide to include excerpts from Write me a web page, Elsie?
Basem: I have read the book, and found out that it is one of the most interesting books in web writing and content. I think that the book is an excellent eye opener for any content writer. It shows real examples and detailed explanation on how to create catchy copy. I was delighted to read it thoroughly and I recommended it to some of my friends who work in content management and web writing.
We would love to train Arab-speaking content authors, but to adapt Contented online courses for Arabic speakers would involve much more than simple translation. For starters, think about where the eyes travel over a page where text is aligned to the right: the F-pattern is reversed. Then imagine the complex variations between plain English and plain Arabic! So an Arabic version of the Contented online writing courses is a long, long way away. In the meantime, we're delighted that the Elsie-book can help with the training of RAK government writers, if only indirectly.