The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has helped develop an innovative new app that encourages adoption and mastery of the Arabic language.

The ‘Scan and Learn Arabic’ app, launched in collaboration with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Community Development (DCD) and Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), allows smartphone and tablet users to scan objects around the city, the names of which are then translated into Arabic.

The app aims to support all the government entities’ mandate to create a cohesive society, fostered through language learning. The initiative also furthers the ALC’s objectives to support Arabic by harnessing innovation, while ensuring the preservation of the language and its continued use in everyday society.

Users can download the application for free on iOS and Android platforms, and then use its built-in optical reader to scan texts at key facilities along the Abu Dhabi Corniche – the first of many sites in the emirate to be added. This will help visitors and residents from all segments of the community to learn the Arabic language and use it more in their daily lives.

His Excellency Dr Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “We are dedicated to preserving the Arabic language as a core component of our Arab and Emirati culture, and keep it unmistakably present in the everyday lives of all members of our community. This initiative allows us to make the most from advanced technologies in our efforts to advance the Arabic language, improve its proficiency among speakers, and cement its position as the primary language of use among native speakers, while paving the way for non-native speakers to learn it.”

His Excellency Eng. Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, Undersecretary of the DCD, said “The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is collaborating with various key sectors in the emirate to launch this initiative, which reflects the extent to which entities and institutions across Abu Dhabi value the Arabic language and consider it to be a language of creativity and cross-cultural communication, bringing Arab communities closer with societies around the world. We fully recognise and appreciate the importance of such initiatives in strengthening our national identity through the Arabic language, one of the most essential foundations in our Arab and Emirati culture. Learning Arabic will also strengthen social cohesion among all components of our community. Research has shown that promoting the official language in any country and creating opportunities to learn it more easily enhances communication and solidarity among all the groups that make up said society.

“On one hand, the initiative allows for more extensive communication among all segments of the community, strengthening native speakers’ bond with the Arabic language. On the other hand, it sheds light on an array of educational options they can use to deepen their knowledge of the language. It will also enhance Arabic vocabularies amongst speakers, make the language more accessible, and widen its scope of use. It is essential that we support the Arabic language, advance it, and encourage younger generations to use it – this is the first step to driving sustainable development across communities and strengthen the bonds that bring a society together.” 

His Excellency Abdulla Al Sahi, Undersecretary of the DMT, said: “It is critical that all relevant parties work together in order to provide all the tools necessary for promoting the use of the Arabic language in every aspect of our daily lives. The Arabic language is immensely rich in details and vocabulary and has had an undeniable legacy and tremendous contributions towards human civilisation for centuries. Our native language is one of the most important means of communication; it has long been the cornerstone of the harmony in our societies, offering a platform throughout history for literary, scientific, and social dialogue between various peoples. 

“For our part in this joint project, the Department of Municipalities and Transport will work to identify key sites in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi throughout all stages of the initiative. We will work to ensure that the necessary technology is applied in order to advance the Arabic language in our operations and strengthen its role as a means for serving the community and promoting cohesion among various nationalities.”