Arabic to English Translation: 7 Key Facts to Remember

Arabic to English Translation: 7 Key Facts to Remember
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Arabic is one of the most spoken languages globally, spoken by more than 300 million people globally. It is most used by people from the Islamic religion as their holy book, the Quran, is written in classic Arabic.

However, spoken Arabic is believed to be more ancient than the Quran, which explains why there are several diverse Arabic dialects.

There is so much difference in these dialects that Arabic speakers from one country may not understand Arabic speakers from another.

Due to these variations, the government and academicians took the initiative to institute Modern Standard Arabic, which is currently used in newspapers, books, and teaching Arabic as a second language.

Due to the widespread use of the language, businesses need to understand the importance of getting their marketing content translated from Arabic to English or English to Arabic in terms of expanding the customer base and increasing revenue generation within a short period.

Today, we discuss some factors that must be kept in mind while translating content from Arabic to English.

7 Factors to Keep in Mind While Translating Content from Arabic to English

1. Numerous Variations Under One Language

Arabic is a diglossic language, i.e., it has 2 versions. The first is the Classical Arabic version that originated in the 6th century. It’s typically used in religious literature and writing.

In contrast, the informal version (Modern Standard Arabic) is used while speaking and in modern literature, television, the internet, etc. Businesses should remember this while translating content into the Arabic language.

The key to getting your translations correct is knowing your target audience before translating.

You May Like: How to Get Your Book Translated in 6 Easy Steps

2. Arabic Alphabets are Different from Latin Alphabets

There are 28 characters in the Arabic language, out of which eight characters do not have matching English terms.

These sounds are guttural – spoken from the back of the throat, and mastering these pronouncing usually denotes proficiency over the language.

3. Arabic is Typically Written from Right to Left

Unlike English, Arabic characters are written from right to left, except the numbers, which are written from left to right. The number reads in the opposite direction of the Arabic letter.

The bidirectional character of the language makes it much harder to master for non-native speakers of the language, especially while dealing with time, dates, and recipes.

Also Read: How to Get Travel Guides and Maps Professionally Translated

4. Spanish has Its Roots in Arabic

Most Spanish-speaking regions were ruled by Muslims from 711 AD until 1492 AD. During this time, Arabic culture high influenced the Iberian Peninsula in architecture, religion, language, art, and customs.

Even now, various Spanish-speaking regions are highly influenced by Arabic culture because many Spanish dialects can trace their roots to the Arabic language.

Some examples include Camisa, which means "shirt," and Ojala, which translates to "hopefully."

5. Arabic Also had an Impact on English

Since it is one of the oldest languages used, Arabic influences several languages spoken around the globe, and English is one of them.

Some examples include qithara, meaning "Guitar," and sookar, which means "sugar." Several other words have their roots in Arabic; Arabic is the unique language in the world, having different alphabets for writing and speaking.

See Also: Challenges in Translation and How to Overcome Them

6. Arabic has Unique Sounds

There are different sounds in Arabic that do not exist in any other language, such as ح, which sounds like h in ‘hubb’ (love).

To understand more clearly, try listening to the use you make when breathing against a window or mirror when you fog it up.

7. It has Numerous Dialects

Arabic is spoken in 22 countries but has regional dialects. Generally, these dialects are completely different from each other, despite coming from the same language.

It is assumed that Arabic was just verbally used without any written dialects, long before the birth of Islam, which may be the reason behind so much difference.

Why should you Use a Professional Translation Services Company?

  • Access to a Larger Audience

Arabic-speaking customers account for a significant portion of the international market.

High-quality Arabic-to-English translation can bridge the communication gap and provide an opportunity for rapid growth.

  • Increased Chances of High Profit

Arabic countries have successfully skyrocketed their income in the last couple of years, and their consumers are always looking for the best quality products and services at an affordable range.

Professional Arabic-to-English or English-to-Arabic translators can understand the mindset of their people, thereby increasing the likelihood of sales.

See Also: What Gets Lost During Translation of Online Courses?

GMR Transcription Services, Inc. provides highly proficient and cost-effective Arabic to English and English to Arabic translation services. Our skilled professionals deliver a high volume of work in a short turnaround time.

Arabic translation can expand the text size by almost a quarter, so we have devised specialized tools and systems to maintain the layout and flow of your document while translating and to minimize the time taken to do so.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.