couple reading by ekelly89

5 Ways Reading Improves Your Mental Health

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The significance of reading differs from person to person depending on their inclinations and interests. Some may see it as a good and useful way of spending their free time, while others may see it as a life necessity. However, reading goes beyond being simply a means of enjoyment and gaining knowledge thanks to the many benefits it brings to mental health and capabilities.

In this article, we present to you five benefits of reading that can strengthen the mental capabilities and health of readers.

1. Strengthens Neuron Synapses

Reading is considered to be one of the activities that most motivates the brain to perform its functions and develops neurological communicative and analytical capabilities, especially in children and youth. It also strengthens the neuron synapses in the brain.

2. ِEnhances Focus

The processes the brain performs while reading and analyzing texts vary from reflection to thinking, imagining, analyzing, connecting phenomena with their concepts, which lead to more reflective and expressive writing and speaking, developing analytical skills and increasing focus.

3. Develops Creativity

Creative abilities are directly proportional to the amount of reading done, as reading enables the individual to think differently and to come up with the unprecedented as their horizon widens and their knowledge increases. Many mental health experts have drawn connections between the extent of creative skills development and amount of reading.

4. Activates Memory

As a mental activity and source of strengthening mental skills, regular reading reduces memory loss and lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s; some studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s who read showed symptoms of the disease later compared to those who do not read.

5. Helps Fight Depression and Anxiety

Reading plays a role in reducing the levels of depression and anxiety because the reader gains new dimensions of thinking that may decrease certain negative thoughts they may have learned through social and personal experience. Reading is considered a resistor against simple neurological diseases, such as headaches and insomnia.

Read the original Arabic article by Diala Al-Rifa’i on Inkitab.

hainich national park

Hainich National Park: Forest from Above

Articles, Translations, Uncategorized

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Hainich National Park: Forest from Above


2000 years ago, nature in Germany looked completely different- beech trees dominated the landscape between northern Germany and the Alps. Today, only small areas remain. One of these is the Hainich National Park in Thuringia, home to wild animals and many plant species. You can come especially close to them on a path almost 24 meters high, allowing you to walk above and through the highest part of the trees. You can go even higher up with the tower where you can see this forest from 44 meters above and take a look at how Germany looked once upon a time.

Hainich National Park

Tel. +49(0)361/57391000

You can read the original Deutsch perfekt article here.

Translation of Deutsch Perfekt’s “Art Cologne” Article

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Art Cologne


As the world’s oldest art fair, Art Cologne has accompanied many trends right from the start. It was established in order to bring back energy into the German art market, which had lost popularity after World War II.

Later, a new audience, alongside trade professionals such as art dealers, collectors, gallerists and museum directors, became interested in the Fair. Here, curious individuals can get to know the contemporary and new stars of the art scene.

This year, almost 200 international galleries will exhibit paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, installations and video art. The Fair supports young artists and galleries through its scholarship programs “New Positions” and “New Contemporaries”. This is how Art Cologne can remain the oldest art fair in the world.

Original Deutsch Perfekt Article:

Jury Chooses German Youth Word of the Year

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Adults probably don’t know this word-you won’t find it in dictionaries either. “Smombie”, a new word creation, was chosen by a jury this year as the Youth Word of the Year. It’s made up of two words: “Smartphone” and “Zombie”. That’s what young people call someone who doesn’t really see because they’re too busy looking at their phone.

In second place came the word “Earthporn”. A vulgar expression? No: To the youth, this is nothing more than another word for “a beautiful landscape”.

Another word that was at the top of the online poll for a long time is”merkeln” ( or “to merkel”). The verb means “to fail to come to a decision” and is a critique of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The reason why the word didn’t win in the end is perhaps due to the politician’s recent engagement in the refugee crisis.

Also in the top 10 are words like “Tinderella” (a woman who does a lot of online dating, for example using apps such as Tinder) and “Augentinnitus” (or “eye tinnitus”). The latter is said when someone has or sees only unpleasant people in their environment.

The Jury is made up of 20 people- linguists, youth, educators, and media representatives. The Youth Word is chosen annually. In addition to the “Word of the Year”, a “Non-Word of the Year” is also chosen.

For the original article visit Deutsch Perfekt


Translation of Abdel Bari Atwan Article Excerpt into English

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It is undisputed that the international community, and the Syrian people especially, look forward to a “new Syria”. The “old Syria” and the practices that took place there: the absence of democracy, the robbing of freedoms, corruption of the justice system and most, if not all, government institutions, encroaching autocracy, and dominance of the police state, will not, indeed must not, in anyway, be allowed to go on. But what is the Saudi perspective on this “new Syria” and if there really is a ready model that is based on the principles of democracy, pluralism, equality, and an independent and fair justice system, then how come we don’t see it implemented in the Arab world, starting with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia itself?

The term “new Syria” reminds us and others of the new Iraq, which has become one of the most corrupt nations in the world, torn by sectarian and ethnic fragmentation and the absence of a single national identity. In the past, we talked of an Iraq divided into three entities on sectarian and ethnic bases and now we’re talking about multiple Sunni and Shia identities as well as multiple Kurdish identities; the three states are nominated to become six, or even 12, states and entities.

It is no longer about Assad’s presence or absence, but about Syria’s and its fragmentation as an entity. This point is neglected by those involved in the Syrian crisis militarily or politically, for even “Plan A”, i.e. changing the regime, which was adopted by the powers supporting the armed resistance, has crumbled. After five years, this plan is no longer practical or on the table and everyone agrees on the Regime and its institutions staying. The conflict is about the president only in the media, but almost everyone has come to accept him in conversations behind closed doors, even if just temporarily.

Link to original Arabic article by Abdel Bari Atwan:

Ebola Virus

Ebola- Hunting for the Killer

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Ebola. Vor vier Jahrzehnten wurde das Virus erstmals identifiziert, aber sein plötzliches Auftauchen und sein ebenso plötzliches Verschwinden sind bis heute ein großes Mysterium. Seit Ebola und ein eng verwandtes Virus 1976 im damaligen Zaire (heute Demokratische Republik Kongo) und im Süden Sudans (heute Südsudan) ausbrachen, flackerte die Seuche zwar immer wieder auf – aber nur in sporadischen Episoden. Von 1977 bis 1994 wurde kein Ebola-Opfer registriert. Hätte das Virus in jenen 17 Jahren Menschen in einem größeren Ausbruch getötet, wäre das nicht verborgen geblieben. Denn Ebola ist kein heimlicher Killer. Sondern ein unheimlicher.

Ein Virus kann auf sich gestellt weder lange überleben noch sich vermehren. Es braucht dazu einen Wirt, einen lebenden Organismus: ein Tier oder eine Pflanze. Das Virus wird durch den Körper dieses Lebewesens geschützt, und es vermehrt sich, indem es dessen Zellenfabrik benutzt. Nicht immer bringen Viren ihren Wirt um. Und nur einige von ihnen springen von Tieren auf Menschen über. Sie verursachen Krankheiten, die Mediziner Zoonosen nennen. Ebola ist eine Zoonose, die im Falle eines Ausbruchs viele ihrer menschlichen Opfer innerhalb von Tagen tötet, andere an den Rand des Todes bringt – und dann wieder verschwindet. Doch wo versteckt sich das Virus in der Zwischenzeit?

Jedenfalls nicht in Schimpansen oder Gorillas. Bei jedem neuen Ebola-Ausbruch sterben auch viele unserer nächsten Verwandten, oft stecken sich Menschen erst dadurch an, dass sie das Fleisch von Affen essen, die an Ebola gestorben sind. Es ist unwahrscheinlich, dass die Viren dauerhaft in Affen leben. Wenn sie die Tiere befallen, töten sie sie auch. Sie müssen sich also anderswo verbergen.

Dauerwirt oder Reservoirwirt ist der Fachbegriff für ein Lebewesen, das einem gefährlichen Erreger auf längere Zeit Unterschlupf bietet. Affen zum Beispiel sind Reservoirwirte für das Gelbfieber-Virus: Sie tragen es, ohne selbst zu erkranken. Flughunde der Gattung Pteropus sind Reservoirwirte für das Nipah-Virus, das für Menschen tödlich sein kann. In Australien tragen Flughunde das Hendra-Virus, das auf Pferde übertragen wird und von diesen wiederum auf Pferdehalter und Tierärzte, die häufig daran sterben. Sind Flughunde auch die Reservoirwirte für das Ebola-Virus? Das ist oft zu lesen. Doch bis heute konnte niemand das Ebola-Virus bis zu seinem Ursprung zurückverfolgen.


Ebola. The virus was first identified four decades ago but its sudden appearance and just as sudden disappearance remain a great mystery until this day. Since Ebola and a closely related virus spread in 1976 in Zaire (what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and in south of Sudan (what is today South Sudan), the plague continued reappearing- but in sporadic episodes. From 1977 until 1994 no deaths by Ebola were registered. Had there been an Ebola outbreak in those 17 years that caused deaths, the virus wouldn’t have stayed hidden. Ebola is no silent killer.

On its own a virus can neither survive nor multiply. To do so, it requires a host, a living organism: an animal or plant. The virus is protected in the bodies of these living creatures and multiplies by using their cell factory. However, viruses don’t always kill their hosts. Only a few are transmitted to humans from animals; these diseases are what doctors call zoonoses. Ebola is a zoonosis that, in an outbreak, kills its human victims within days and brings others to the brink of death. And then disappears again. Where does the virus hide in the time between the death of its host and its next attack?

In any case, not in chimpanzees or gorillas. In every new Ebola outbreak, many of these species also die. Often, humans are first infected by eating apes that have died from Ebola. It is improbable that the viruses live permanently in monkeys and apes as when the viruses strike the animals, they also kill them. So they must hide somewhere else.

A reservoir host is the technical term used to describe a living organism that offers a dangerous pathogen long-term harbor. Monkeys, for example, are reservoir hosts for the Yellow Fever Virus: they carry it without being infected with the virus themselves. Flying foxes of the species Pteropus are reservoir hosts for the Nipah virus, which can be deadly for humans. In Australia, flying foxes carry the Hendra virus which is transmitted by horses and is then transmitted to horse owners and veterinarians, who frequently die of the disease. Are flying foxes also the reservoir hosts of the Ebola virus? That is frequently read, but until today no one can trace back the Ebola virus to its origin.

Original German text written by David Quammen