Disney finally agrees to return to its old dubbing roots, and promises to produce further dubbing with the more popular Egyptian Arabic after an online petition begs for the change.
In a report by Al Jazeera, Disney has officially announced its decision to renege on their previous decision to dub Disney media in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). It has decided to return back to its original dubbing language, Egyptian Arabic.
The change from Egyptian Arabic to MSA started in 2012.
This happened soon after Disney opened their official branch in Dubai. Some say that some conservative citizens of the Gulf were concerned and demanded that the language be changed to MSA, triggering the change.
Disney officially announced the change to MSA in 2012, further signing a deal with Al Jazeera Children’s channel to dub everything in MSA. In 2013.
Brave was one of the first movies to be dubbed in MSA, and was met with a lower than usual response by audiences in the region. Many of the movies that continued the MSA translation continued to receive lower than average responses, but it was really breakout animated movie Frozen that got people mad.
When Frozen was released in 2014, it became a worldwide phenomenon. One that was translated into over 40 languages. Its Arabic release was met with heated discussion.
In 2014, Elias Muhanna, assistant professor of comparative literature at Brown University, wrote in the New Yorker “The Arabic of “Frozen” is frozen in time, as “localized” to contemporary Middle Eastern youth culture as Latin quatrains in French rap.”
Since Frozen, and later Finding Dory (2016), was released, people across the region have banded together to petition Disney to change back to Egyptian Arabic.
Many have complained, citing that Fusha (MSA) is too stiff and old fashioned for movies aimed at children and teens. They also claimed that it was not helping children learn how to communicate in today’s world.
Online petitions rose to the challenge, asking the region’s population to ask for a return to the older dubbing language.
— Playful (@IMuhammed_A) August 25, 2017
— همس 🌸 (@hamosa7) August 25, 2017
"أنا أسفة أوى إذا كنت صحيت سيادتك بدري.. مش أنا اللى قلت إنك تفطر الأول"
— السندريلا👸 (@DodoMrdnsha) August 11, 2017
— Frozon (@jj2015_j) August 9, 2017
The hashtag #Disney_should_return_in_Egyptian_dialect (Disney lazm trga’ masr’), accompanied with #Disney_in_Egyptian and #Bring_Egyptian_Disney_Back, has trended on social media various of times since 2014.
Mohamed Henedy, who famously voiced a character in The Lion King, reminisced on his twitter account about his days of participating in the film, saying that Disney had sent “a letter of gratitude to Egyptian [Lion King] director Samir Habib, praising the high quality of the dubbed version.”
Facebook Group “Disney in Araby” seems to have helped lead Disney’s decision. Their campaign, although not the first of its kind, helped seal the deal for Disney overturning its decision with MSA.
The group was able to raise hundreds to thousands of signatures through social media campaigns, and social media posts. This shows how strong of an effect social media can be.
By connecting people all across the region, they were able to let Disney to see how the majority of the region felt. It reminds us again just how much social media can affect us, and the world around us.
Fans can now wait in happy anticipation for the newest Disney movies, although Disney has not announced exactly when the decision will be in effect.
Are you excited with the news? Which Disney movie in MSA do you wish to rewatch with Egyptian Arabic dubs? Tell us!