5 Facts to know About Arabic Language

In the age of globalization and mobility, the world becomes more open and interconnected. For this reason, many businesses are becoming more dependent upon supplying their products or services internationally. However, to achieve international success, you need to communicate and understand the culture of your target market.
Many Business owners agree that Middle East is a fast-growing market of heavy consumers, which means that in order to do effective business in the Middle East, it's time to think of localizing your products or services into Arabic, as Arabic language becomes a trend language globally and is classified as one of the most important online languages (CSA Report)

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” Nelson Mandela.
Tweet: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” Nelson Mandela

The 7th Arab Social Media report indicated the increased usage of Arabic language in social media. This was not a surprise in fact as Arabic is one of the top 10 spoken languages, being spoken by 420 million people worldwide and it is also the official language of 26 countries. This trend has a huge impact on the way businesses engage with their potential customers in the Arabic markets, as they should consider making their products and services easily available to Arabic-speaking world. This drives them to think about translating all kinds of content whether online or offline into Arabic.
I came up with few facts in this blog that can help in Arabic language understanding;


1. Arabic language dialects

Classical, Colloquial or Modern Standard Arabic! The three are different variants and forms of Arabic language which are used in different countries by different nations. Classical Arabic is the language of the Holy Quran and is primarily used for religious and literary purposes. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the primary dialect of Arabic language used in our official communication. The third form is Colloquial Arabic which is used in our daily life “street language”.

2. Written and spoken Arabic

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is used in all writings and spoken in political speeches and in news readings, however, no one speaks it spontaneously. The Arabic dialects spoken in our daily life differ according to the region, which may be specific for a country, as Egyptian dialect spoken in Egypt or common throughout an entire region, as Gulf dialect spoken in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. This video shows the different ways of saying the same thing in Arabic

#Tip 1: When it comes to Arabic language translation in Business, you should first set your objectives, if your target is Arabic translation in general and not for a specific country, the best choice then is Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), as it is the official language used in newspapers, magazines, marketing materials, studies, any official communication…etc. However, if you are targeting specific Arabic speaking country, you may need to adapt Arabic into the dialect spoken in the target country, especially if you are using multimedia content.

3. Arabic as a bidirectional language

Unlike most of Latin languages, which read from Left-to-Right, Arabic language belongs to the bidirectional languages that are written and read from Right-to-Left. However, some of this script is written from left-to-Right as numbers. The Number +12345 is not shuffled around to 54321+
#Tip 2: When translating into Bidi languages such as Arabic, you will need to adjust the whole document layout, user interface and overall design, starting from characters, marks, signs, graphs, and so on.


4. Arabic numbers

Arabic numeric system is taken from the Indian numeric system with some alternations and calling them Arabic numerals 0123456, which are written in a Latin script from Left-to-Right as well as the Western Arabic numerals 0123456, which we are used throughout the world. Moreover, they are commonly known as "Western Arabic Numerals" or "Arabic Numerals" as they were introduced to Europe in the 10th century by Arabic-speakers of North Africa.
#Tip 3: One of the most common issues you may face when translating into Arabic language is the "Missing Numbers" and they are considered as false positive issues. This usually happens with numbers 1 & 2, as the singular and dual forms in Arabic do not require adding numbers, such as "1 file", "ملف" and "2 files", "ملفان", both already reflect the numbers 1 and 2 and do not require adding them.

5. Arabic as a rich language

Arabic is a language with different history, linguistic rules, unique characters and rich with many vocabularies. It has 28 characters that may take more than one shape according to its location in the word, such variations extend the Arabic characters into 57 shapes.
In addition, there are many Arabic vocabularies to express one meaning with such slightly different from each other; on the other hand, one Arabic word may give completely different meaning with different diacritics.
#Tip 4: During the localization phase, take care of the diacritics. Using wrong diacritics may result in different words that do not necessarily carry the same meaning. This will affect the pronunciation of words during the recording of the voice over.

As a result of the increasing global recognition of Arabic Language and becoming a trend language, many international companies are realizing the importance of making the online content available to Arabic speakers. So you need not only to convert your texts into Arabic, but you also need to adapt those texts to the rich Arabic culture. Also, check out our blog about The Most Common False Positive Issues in Arabic Translation QA checks