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August 21, 2013
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The Arabic Language

arabic translation

Last updated on May 3rd, 2021 at 02:24 pm

Arabic language and culture have become subjects of increasing intrigue within these past years.  To those who are unfamiliar, the Arabic language can seem especially mysterious.  This expressive language is in fact the fifth most spoken language in the world, just after Spanish and English.  It is an official language in a total of 25 countries, located mostly in the Middle East.  Spoken by well over 300 million people, Arabic is among the most requested languages for translation and interpretation services.

Arabic Language- Written & Spoken Form

The official language form currently taught in Arab schools and used often in media, business and government functions, is Modern Standard Arabic. In its written form, Modern Standard Arabic can be understood by every Arabic individual.  There are, however, many different spoken Arabic dialects that vary according to region which means an Arab living in one country may not be able to understand another living in a different country during spoken conversation.  Some of the main dialects include North African Arabic (used in regions including Morocco & Libya), Hassaniya Arabic (used in Mauritania), Gulf Arabic (used in regions including Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar), Hejazi Arabic (used in Western Saudi Arabia) and Najdi Arabic(used in Central Saudi Arabia).


Written Arabic is a bidirectional language.  Bidirectional writing systems include portions of text written from left to right, while other portions are written from right to left.  The following are some distinguishing features of written Arabic:

  • There is no capitalization in Arabic.  In place of capitalizing, single or double quotes are used.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms do not exist in Arabic. Arabic letters, of which there are 28, are used strictly to create words. The letters are “linked” to form words just like in English cursive writing.
  • Each Arabic noun is either masculine or feminine.  In addition, each masculine/feminine noun can have singular, plural, or dual form.   This gives a total of 6 forms for each Arabic noun.
  • One word may have more than one meaning or tense.

Culture: Targeting the Arabic Market

Arabic culture has a solid foundation in Islam, a religion that carries strong conservative values.  Extra care should be taken to ensure that all marketing and advertising efforts are localized with sensitivity to the culture and religion.  Photographs, visual images and all other content must err on the side of conservatism, and avoid veering into controversial topics such as sensuality and gambling.

Additionally, keep in mind that the Arabic calendar differs from that of Europe and the U.S.  The Hijri (Islamic lunar year) calendar is the official calendar used by several Arab countries.  Friday is a holy day for Muslims, making it a common weekend date.  Most Arab countries have Friday and Saturday as a weekend, while a few others consider Thursday and Friday to be a weekend.  Corporations hoping to form positive business relationships with Arabic corporations must acknowledge and respect Arabic religious traditions by scheduling meetings accordingly.

In order to enter the Arab world successfully you need the services of a professional translation company or translator who will deliver Arabic translations that are grammatically and culturally correct.

Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.