Call of Duty developer accused of Arabic misrepresentation

The highly anticipated Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 has been called out over some questionable uses of the Arabic language, as well as misplaced or misrepresented depictions of the Middle East.

On ResetEra, a user by the name of ‘Dance Inferno’ analysed recent screenshots revealed for the upcoming release of Warzone 2.0, which features locations based on real-life places, including across the Middle East and Mexico.

Calling it “comically inept” and a “complete b*****disation of the Arabic language”, Dance Inferno broke down what they saw as wrong with the game’s use of the Arabic language.

On the map of Al Mazrah City, a region Inferno theorises is based at least partially on Iraq, they noted the majority of the billboards were in English — something that, while not uncommon when used sparingly, does not represent the Arabic-speaking region at all.

One billboard, which appears advertise a new truck, offers the advertisement of “0% APR”, which for non-Americans, stands for Annual Percentage Rate, and is decidedly an American acronym — it doesn’t belong in the Middle East.

Inferno continues with their analysis, adding that Sawah Village has a billboard advertising the sale of “Air Conditioner” — as in, the singular version and not the plural version. “They have one air conditioner to sell,” Inferno wrote.

On the Taraq Village map, a sign, when roughly translated, advertises a “Halal Hookah Bar”. Inferno points out that the concept of a “bar” is a Western term, and people in the Middle East do not refer to bars as, well, a bar. They also said the term “hookah” used the Palestinian or Israeli term for hookah — a water pipe used to inhale tobacco — and not any of the region-appropriate terms.

Finally, Inferno explains you wouldn’t use the word “halal” to describe a tobacco product, since halal as a designator applies only to meat products. Furthermore, you wouldn’t really advertise anything as “halal” at all — everything would be considered halal because that is the norm in the region.

This isn’t the first time Inferno has commented on Call of Duty’s lack of accurate Arabic representation.

In a previous thread, they noted Infinity Ward did not hire Arabic speakers to play Arabic roles, as many of the Arabic-speaking characters were difficult, or impossible, to understand without reading subtitles.

We reached out to Activision for clarification on their sourcing and cultural representation pipeline, but have not heard a response as of this writing.

Written by Junior Miyai on behalf of GLHF.

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