According to a recent article by the Saudi Gazette, visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah – particularly non-Arabic speaking Umrah pilgrims – have been applauding the latest introduction of live translation technology for Friday sermons. Such services have been introduced at the Two Holy Mosques and were launched by King Abdullah, Custodian of the mosques.
The live translation technology allows for visitors who do not speak the native tongue to enjoy and appreciate every word spoken from the pulpits of the Madinah and Makkah Harams.
The publication quotes one pilgrim from Nigeria, Ismail Yekano, as saying that the global Muslim population are both grateful and amazed that the holy mosques are delivering such a service. Muhammad Amjad, who is a Pakistani pilgrim, also noted that the translation is a “wonderful experience to listen to” and has benefited him and other pilgrims immensely.
One pilgrim – Yousef from the Philippines – went so far as to say the translation service was a “precious gift from the King of the Muslims” to worshippers around the world.
The technology means the sermons are available in four different languages – English, French, Urdu and Malay. The director of the department for the translation service, Abdullah Al-Hitab, has also recently announced plans to make the translated services available online via the website for the department.
Those who wish to take advantage of the available translations whilst at the sermon itself will be provided with a compact audio device and headsets to minimise disruption. The devices will be tuned into an FM frequency where the translation of the sermon, which is delivered by the imams at the mosques, will be broadcast.
One final admirer of the service, Mukhtar Muhammad from India, is quoted by the Saudi Gazette as saying he was incredibly impressed with the translations.