Iftah Ya Simsim 2015: Localization of Language, Educational Goals and Cultural Content for an Arab Audience (Excerpt: Introduction)


By Dima Masri


Sesame Street is a successful children’s educational television program that was groundbreaking at the time of its inception on multiple levels. Since airing in the late 1960’s in the United States of America, it has become known internationally through its friendly monster puppets, or Muppets, as a beloved children’s show that teaches young children all about the letters and the alphabets, but also important social and emotional lessons to “help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder” (“Our Mission”). Sesame Street has reached 150 countries around the world. To relate to the different audiences, the American show is localized for the different audiences of the various co-productions. This research aims to discuss how the American Sesame Street was localized for an Arab audience in the 2015 Iftah Ya Simsim. An introduction on Sesame Street will first be given in which its goal, format and research results will be briefly discussed. The introduction on Sesame Street will be followed by a section on localization where the definition of localization in the context of this research will be discussed in detail. The third part of the research will be concerned with the localization strategies of the different co-productions around the world. The localization of Iftah Ya Simsim will be discussed in terms of the language, educational goals and cultural aspects of the show. Before concluding, additional ways in which Iftah Ya Simsim appeals to children today and the importance of such educational shows in the Arab world will also be discussed to exhibit the importance and relevance of Iftah Ya Simsim and shows like it today.