Qatar attempting to set Guinness World Record tonight for Most Languages used in a Reading Relay
12 Oct 2022News Event
Qatar is just a few hours away from attempting to set a Guinness World Record for Most Languages used in a Reading Relay. The momentous event will take place at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) tonight at 7pm Doha time, for the whole world to witness. Over 150 participants are participating in the challenge.
‘The Little Prince’, a story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is a seven-chapter book which will be divided into portions of 56 different languages, including the Arabic sign language, with each dominantly represented by native speakers residing in Qatar.
The library had gathered several most translated books in choosing the main piece of literature for the event. Before ‘The Little Prince’ was chosen, some of the initial choices included Pinocchio, Pippi Longstocking, and One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights.
Tonight’s overall attempt to tell the story for the Guinness World Record is estimated to last for just two hours and a half, however preparations for the historic event have been going on for the past four months.
To build a team of participants, the MIA tapped on several embassies and various communities in Qatar, as well as published a survey across social media platforms for those interested. A team of teen volunteers also lent their support behind the scenes through preparations on books and scripts, online promotions, and running the rehearsals.
Finding the right resource with proper translation also posed a challenge as ‘The Little Prince’ didn’t have versions in some of the languages included in the attempt.
Three of the 56 chosen official languages will be read by foreign speakers.
Among them is Saleh Hamad Al Marri, a Qatari reader who will be standing at the podium tonight to read ‘The Little Prince’ in Japanese.
“It is my hobby…learning Japanese. I like this language,” he said as he shared a backstory on how his fluency in Japanese came about, all sparked by an interest in 2016.
With the Arabic already designated to another reader, Saleh seized the opportunity to read ‘The Little Prince’ in Japanese- going as far as comparing five different versions of the book to choose the most accurate one.
As for the other two, German will be read by a Turkish native, and Russian will be read by an Indian.
Beyond the nerves and excitement ahead of the event, determination is the most profound feeling exuded among the participants as they readied themselves for the rehearsal yesterday that this reporter witnessed.
Although there may be no room for mistakes, the feeling of pride also shines as each participant embodies this opportunity as an unmissable chance to represent their country, wear its traditional costume and speak its language in front of the world, alongside a diverse community for a historical event in Qatar.
Tonight, the Museum of Islamic Art will be transformed into the planet of ‘The Little Prince’, in support of Qatar Television, which will release a broadcast of the World Record attempt on a later date. The audience can tune in to the live event on the official Facebook page of MIA to witness the readers tell the story in 56 different languages.
‘The Little Prince’ tells a story of friendship, love, loneliness, and loss in the covers of a children’s book which resonates values about life, adult, and human nature.