Wam provides news in six more languages

The state news agency is now available in French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese and Urdu

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People from across the world seeking news from the UAE’s state media outlet can now access the information in eight different languages.

On Monday, Wam launched an upgrade of their services which now include webpages dedicated to stories in French, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Urdu, as well as the pre-existing English and Arabic services.

The more inclusive website is part of a drive from the National Media Council to reach a wider readership - beyond the English and Arabic-speaking - to spread the UAE’s message of tolerance and moderation, the agency said.

"The expansion of WAM’s news services to include eight languages is instrumental to further reinforcing the UAE’s values that are built on tolerance, moderation and acceptance of others, all of which are key traits of Emiratis,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the NMC.

"Engaging various nations in their own language is an important means to reach out to the people of the world while highlighting the UAE’s positions on a range of regional and international affairs and issues," he said.

The Minister of State said the UAE has established itself as a global hub encompassing more than 200 nationalities, and said he was confident that communicating with various nationalities in their own languages will increase social cohesion.

The six languages were selected in particular because of the frequency in which they are spoken worldwide. French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese were also added to the agency’s roster because they are the official languages of the United Nations.

“The new project serves more than one hundred countries across the world, and there are four billion people who speak those languages,” said Mohammed Al Raysi, the agency’s executive director.

Some 1.3 billion people across 33 countries speak Chinese. French is spoken by an estimated 470 million people in 54 countries and 417m people are Spanish-speaking across 20 countries.

Meanwhile, there are 301m Russian speakers worldwide and the language is used in 38 countries.

The Indian embassy’s second secretary Kapil Raj, said having Wam available in Urdu would help Indian expatriates in the UAE stay updated with local news and new laws.

“Urdu originated from India, a large number of Indian people understand Urdu better than any other language.”

The specialised webpage is expected to cater to the Urdu-speaking portion of the estimated 3.5 million Indian expatriates who live in the UAE.

“This this will help people who are not well aware of the rules as of now,” Mr Raj said.

The Portuguese ambassador to the UAE, Joaquim Moreira De Lemos, said the inclusion will not only feed Portuguese speakers’ curiosity about the UAE, but will also provide a platform for both nations to exchange knowledge about one another.

“The Emirates has a message to spread and to pass on, so they are curious to know what is this country that is different?”

Similarly, when people in the UAE start to read more news about the lifestyle in Portugal, beautiful areas, and even politics that will arouse their interest to visit it, he said.