I recently posted the above cartoon of Hosni Mubarak, making his well-funded escape from Cairo.
I’d planned to have Hosni say, in English, “So long, suckers!” However, for fun, I typed the phrase in a Google search, to see if I could find a translation into Arabic.
To my surprise, a single click brought a direct translation to the very top of my Google page. I printed it out, and, as the typeface was exactly the size I needed, I carefully copied the Arabic text onto my cartoon. I included its English translation, as you can see, so English-speakers could understand it.
Two things I should point out here:
Fifteen years ago, while living in Georgia, I took a VERY introductory course in Arabic at a local college. It was a “continuing education” course, for adults, and so it wasn’t very demanding. Nonetheless, of the six students who enrolled in the class, I was the only one who stuck with it to the end. Not because I’m academically nerdy or a teacher’s pet, but because I was fascinated by the Arabic alphabet. So, for a beginner, I became reasonably proficient at writing Arabic script. Fifteen years later, I’ve forgotten nearly all the Arabic I had learned in the class. But I remember enough of the alphabet to copy Arabic text the rare time it comes in handy for a cartoon.
My other point is that I didn’t trust my Google search for the Arabic translation for “So long, suckers!” So I am open to correction from Arabic speakers who follow my cartoons on Cagle.com.
…In fact, this very morning, I received a comment in the Cagle Post about my Mubarak cartoon. It came from a Mr. Alhusaini, and he gently chided me for getting my Arabic wrong. He even gave me the correct translation, but his Arabic text was so tiny that I couldn’t read it with enough confidence to copy it: Ø§Ù„ÙˆØ¯Ø§Ø¹ Ø£ÙŠÙ‡Ø§ Ø§Ù„Ù…ØºÙÙ„ÙˆÙ† Unfortunately, Mr. Alhusaini didn’t leave an e-mail address, so I couldn’t reply, thanking him and asking if he might provide a larger version of the correct Arabic text.
I did copy his text on my iMac, and tried to enlarge it to get a closer look. And that worked quite well — EXCEPT that, in doing so, it separated the letters individually. As Arabic speakers know, many letters in their alphabet change form when linked together to spell words.
I also Googled “So long, suckers!” again this morning, in hopes of finding a translation that matched Mr. Alhusaini’s text. Instead, the search yielded a third translation! Oddly, the original translation, which I found last night, was no longer posted.
So, I’m asking a favor of my Arabic-speaking friends: PLEASE send me the correct text for “So long, suckers!” I’ll delete the original post, correct my Arabic, re-post the cartoon — and give credit to the first person to help me!
UNLESS, of course, readers provide more than one version of the phrase. Then I’ll have to choose the most popular version and thank you all, in general.
Well, thanks for stopping by. If you’d like to see more samples of my work, please click here.