ARABTERM – Online Technical Dictionary

Project description

Title: ARABTERM – Online Technical Dictionary
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
Funding Partner: The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO)
Overall term: 2011 to 2016


Access to global knowledge is key in sustainable development. However, young people in the Arab world face huge obstacles to gaining this knowledge. They are isolated by the language barrier with the industrialised nations of the North that create the majority of technical innovations.

At many universities in the Middle East and North Africa, the teaching materials for technical subjects such as science and engineering are often only available in English or French. Students’ work is based on texts written in these languages while classes are conducted in Arabic. This makes it much more difficult to train future specialists in these areas. The problem is even greater for the growing number of young people enrolled in German-Arabic programmes and training courses.

In this context, significant efforts are underway to translate course material, curriculums, rules and regulations and other resources into Arabic. However, given the many dialects spoken in the region, there is often no standard term for technological innovations.


On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is supporting efforts to standardise technical Arabic. In conjunction with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), we are developing an online technical dictionary in four languages, which students, trainees, translators and engineers can access free of charge. ARABTERM contains uploaded volumes on water technology (7,056 terms), automotive engineering (4,777 terms), renewable energies (4,746 terms), electrical engineering (2,872 terms), textile industries (455 terms) and transport and infrastructure (180 terms). Further content is being prepared. The project expands according to sectoral requirements.


Further information