Peking University spearheads Arabic translation to benefit 400 million people

Peking: While the novel coronavirus outbreak is gradually brought under control in China, some Arab states are still struggling to contain it. In light of this, the School of Foreign Languages at Peking University translated China’s official documents on the prevention and control of COVID-19 into Arabic, which expects to help 400 million people living in 22 Arab states and regions learn more about the coronavirus and eventually conquer it. On May 6, Peking University released Counter COVID-19 Documents (Arabic version) during a video conference with 11 Arab ambassadors to China, director of the League of Arab States in China, and 8 Arab envoys to China. Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 10th and 11th National People’s Congress (2003-2013), Vice Chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (2013-2018) and Honorary President of the China Association for Science and Technology Han Qide attended the meeting. Other participants included representatives from the Ministry of Education — Director General of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of China’s Ministry of Education Liu Jin, and Peking University. The conference, officiated by PKU Vice President Wang Bo, kicked off with a video showing PKU students expressing their blessings in Arabic to people battling COVID-19 in Arab states.

Key Takeaways from the Distinguished Speakers

Vice Chairman Han Qide offered his congratulations on the publication and conveyed his best wishes to Arab states for a victory over the pandemic as soon as possible. Han said these materials will be of great benefit for health care authorities, medical experts, doctors, nurses and the general public in the Arab world to gain a deeper understanding and draw upon China’s experience in preventing and controlling the pandemic.

Speaking on behalf of Arab diplomats, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to China Turki M. A. Almadi began by offering thanks to Peking University for holding the virtual conference. He said he noticed China’s support to the Arab states amid the COVID-19 outbreak and he expects more universities, medical institutions and other organizations from both sides to join hands in curbing this outbreak.

Peking University President Hao Ping extended his gratitude to the Arab diplomats, saying that Peking University is willing to do its utmost to provide any necessary help to Arab states in the fight against COVID-19. He noted that as China’s first higher education institution to deliver Arabic courses and conduct research on Arabic issues, Peking University has shown extensive cooperation with the Arab world. President Hao added that Peking University has always been active in promoting cooperation on global public health, and it has partnered with renowned experts from universities and institutions around the world to set up an alliance combating COVID-19.

Liu Jin, director general of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of China’s Ministry of Education, stressed that as COVID-19 has become a common challenge faced by the international community, the translation of these documents demonstrated PKU’s strong sense of responsibility and set an outstanding role model of international cooperation.

Zhan Qimin, executive vice president of Peking University and president of the PKU Health Science Center, talked about what PKU has done in response to COVID-19, ranging from helping screen patients infected with COVID-19 through fever clinics in affiliated hospitals to dispatching medical teams of 454 healthcare professionals to Wuhan. Specifically, Zhan mentioned that eight medical experts from PKU Medicine joined the National Health Commission’s expert group fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak. Moreover, researchers at Peking University are continuing to work tirelessly to carry out research, including developing antibody drugs and utilizing big data to analyze the development of the virus outbreak.

Ning Qi, dean of the School of Foreign Languages detailed the translation work. According to Ning, since March, faculty and students from the Department of Arabic Language have been dedicated to translating guidelines formulated by China’s National Health Commission in the hope of sharing China’s anti-pandemic experience with the Arab world. The Arabic compilation includes the “Protocol on Prevention and Control of COVID-19 (Editions 1-6)” and the “Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Trial Version 7)“. To ensure accuracy, foreign experts were also invited to proofread the translation. Additionally, some of the key guidance documents have also been rendered into English, with proofreading from experts at the PKU Health Science Center.

In closing, the Arab diplomats spoke highly of the actions taken by the Chinese government and appreciated the excellent work accomplished by Peking University amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.