3 considerations when localising into Arabic

When adapting content for international markets, many businesses are now considering translation into Arabic. As the 5th most spoken language in the world (after Chinese, Spanish, English and Hindi), communicating in Arabic will help you to reach 400 million individuals worldwide.

1. Regional dialects

Due to historical and geographical reasons, there are several different spoken varieties of Arabic, each with local words, phrases, accents and spelling. While each spoken variety of Arabic is based on the same linguistic foundation, they are not always mutually intelligible. When it comes to the written form, Modern Standard Arabic is used as a standard across countries and dialects.

2. Transcreation

Transcreation can be incorporated into Arabic localisation too – this involves not just translating text directly, but adapting it to the local language and culture in order to achieve the desired impact.

Due to the fact that very little modern scientific or technical writing originated in Arabic, this creates a shortage of equivalent terminology, especially in the manufacturing and technical sectors.

While it is not easy to express some computing or technical terms in the Arabic language, a qualified linguist is able to transcreate Arabic terms that accurately express the exact meaning.

3. Desktop publishing

Arabic is written right-to-left, right aligned and it also classed as a bi-directional language – any English product names in Arabic text remain in the left-to-right form. Page layout, page order, images and website interfaces will need to be adjusted for an Arabic speaker.

For these reasons, the use of design and typesetting is fundamental to ensure that your Arabic content not only reads perfectly, but looks how it should for your intended audience.

Whether your Arabic translation project involves technical documents, software, e-Learning courseware, or marketing/digital content, partnering with a professional language service provider ensures that your requirements are met cost-effectively and on time, every time.

arabic infographic


As well as being a self-confessed language geek and baking fanatic, Fiona is the Digital Marketing Manager at Capita Translation and Interpreting. When she's not writing blogs, she often dreams of touring France one patisserie at a time.

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