Kirkuk Governor needs $500 a month to fulfil his promise to publish announcements in three languages

Kirkuk, 26 October 2019 - Kirkuk Interim Governor Rakan Saeed al-Jibouri visiting Kirkuk International Airport – Image: Governor’s PR Office


The Acting Governor of Kirkuk Rakan Saeed al-Jibouri needs about $500 a month in order to fulfil his promise in publishing his announcements and statements in Kirkuk’s main three languages: Arabic, Kurdish and Turkmen.

In March 2018, the office of the Interim Governor of Kirkuk, Rakan Saeed al-Jibouri, announced that it will publish all the governor's activities in the main three languages spoken in Kirkuk (Arabic, Kurdish and Turkmen).

But except for one day (5 March 2018), they have so far been using only Arabic.

Marwan Ibrahim al-‘Ani, head of the governor’s PR office, told KirkukNow: “Indeed, the promise to publish the official announcements and activities in the languages of the city’s components was made, because at the time we had a lot of money at our disposal. At the time, the Province’s Administration had managed to obtain a substantial budget for the media department, and we could hire translators. But because we currently lack money, we are not able to hire them.”

because we currently lack money, we are not able to hire translators

From 1 to 25 September, the governor has published 33 announcements on his Facebook page, all together, they amount to only 3,594 words.

According to a number of official translators whom KirkukNow spoke to, the rate for an adequate translator is $0,07 per word. This makes the needed amount for that period about $500 in total for translating into two languages.

Kirkuk, Februari 2020 – market sign written in four languages after complaints about absence of Kurdish and Syriac – Photo by Karwan Salehi

al-‘Ani said: “We publish some of the announcements in Arabic, Kurdish and Turkmen, but we can’t claim that all the four official languages of Kirkuk are currently in use.”

All the 33 announcements from the governor in September are in Arabic.

“We are waiting for the [federal] government to allocate a budget for that purpose, so that we can sign contracts with translators. And we have also decided to hire personnel to publish announcement on our activities every hour, instead of once in two or three days as we currently do.”

KirkukNow has learned that at the Media Department and other departments of Kirkuk Administration, there are dozens of employees from different backgrounds who can translate the announcements and statements into their mother languages.

None of the 33 announcements from Rakan Saeed costs more than half an hour to translate

One of the translators KirkukNow spoke to, said: “None of the 33 announcements from Rakan Saeed costs more than half an hour to translate.”

Arabic, Kurdish, Turkem and Syriac are all official languages in Kirkuk Province.

al-‘Ani said: “The existence of the four languages is very important. The governor himself thinks it is important for the announcements to be in the four languages, but lack of a budget has been a hurdle for that and writing the signs on government buildings.

The governor has even said he would not accept any inadequacies regarding the signs on government buildings. We will resume publishing in the four languages in the near future, because Kirkuk will lose its beauty without its four languages.”

When the governor’s office announced that they would be publishing the announcement in the four languages in 2018, it was before the parliamentary elections. The governor was a candidate himself.

At the time, al-‘Ani told KirkukNow: “The decision has nothing to do with the elections and campaigning; this is merely an administrative issue. We want all the news and collective activities of the Kirkuk Administration to reach all components in their own languages.”

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