Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sinking in details

In English we say:
Ali is Calling...
Fatema is Calling...

Same syntax for male or female

However in Arabic we say
Ali yatasel...
علي يتصل
Fatema tatasel...
فاطمة تتصل

My mother's Arabic-interfaced phone rang, the screen was showing "Fatema yatasel" فاطمة يتصل. Grammatically that was wrong. As usual I started a discussion in how to solve that.

Hussein: "Okey, we'll check, if the last letter of the contact name ends with this letter or this letter or this letter then its a female. However, some names doesn't go with that rule so we need to keep a track of a centralized database of most common female names and regularly update it via a web service through the phone GPRS."

My wife interrupting me: "Honey, why don't you just let your mother tells the phone Fatema is a female?"
Hussein: "Oh, I didn't thought of that".
So simply let the user specifies the gender while adding a new contact.

I am going to write a book titled: My right brained wife. She saved me from several embarrassments and she is a source of inspiration.


  1. Your wife is a genius, I love it!

  2. I'm on of those software translators (see that believe there are other ways to translate than literal translation. Such as:

    لديك اتصال من فاطمة/علي

    That way, the phone does not need to know what sex the caller is, and the interface does not need a reprogramming. And besides, that saves the operating system's producers from wasting resources maintaining a server full of common female and male names.

  3. @Jillian
    Thanks ;)

    That is even much better solution ;)
    This way I don't care about the sex exactly..

    thanks for that

  4. Your welcome, there's always a way to get the message across when it comes to technology using minimal resources.

  5. Same in Hebrew -

    Ali yatasel...
    עלי מצלצל
    Fatema tatasel...
    פאטמה מצלצלת

  6. @Anonymous
    Yes you are right, there is always a way to solve a problem easier..
    though I think specifying the gender can add intuitive results and allows phone vendors to utilize that feature. Maybe not for this but for other purposes.

    I didn't knew its the same in Hebrew,,

    Thanks for dropping by

  7. Anonymous' solution is good and so is the solution of your wife. There really are more than one way to approach a problem.


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