2004/07/16

Need translations of Robert's Rules into Arabic, other languages

Anyone concerned about the current world security issues involving Middle Eastern and Islamic countries should be aware of the many cultural differences that divide those peoples from the West, but may not be aware of the importance of seemingly minor tools and practices that Westerners take for granted that are unknown to other cultures, and could make a critical difference if they are made available to them.

One of those is parliamentary procedure. To put it simply, most of the peoples of the world don't know and practice adequate rules for the conduct of meetings, such as those of Robert's Rules of Order, Revised (RROR). The result is they tend not to work together well to solve their problems and to avoid conflict, including conflict with us.

One might think that something as important as RROR would have long since been translated into all the world's major languages, and at least be available to peoples everywhere who care to use it. But one would be wrong. Those translations have yet to be done, even after more than a century of use in English-speaking countries, where they have played a critical role. I remember being introduced to parliamentary procedure in the first grade of elementary school. It is such a deep part of our culture that we sometimes overlook its importance.

There is a translation into Arabic of the summary table from RROR, but not of the complete manual. We need translations of the complete manual, into Arabic and other languages.

I have spoken to various government agencies, NGOs, and others about this deficiency and the importance of filling the gap, and soon. But so far my efforts have fallen on deaf ears. For the State Department and the USIA it is a case of "not invented here".

So we need volunteers to do it. We can put the results online on our web site, as we have done with the original English version, at http://www.constitution.org/rror/rror--00.htm , but we need translators to do the work. Target formats are HTML and PDF. Sorry, there is no money in it, only the feeling that it might save lives, perhaps a lot of lives. Translators would, of course, be credited with their work, and that might have some benefits to them academically.

If a nuke goes off in an American city, and you didn't do something like this that might have prevented it, how would you feel about not having done so?

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