Is Arabic still an important language?
Arabic is an essential language to know if you are conducting business in the Middle East. It is the official language of 25 countries, including Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It is also an official working language of the United Nations. Arabic-speaking nations have fast-growing economies that offer a host of opportunities.
Arabic is an ancient language, although has only relatively recent written examples. From the 8th to 14th century, the Arab World experienced a Golden Age, in which the domains of culture, economy and science flourished. There was a plethora of inventions from this period, including algebra, surgical methods and even coffee. In sum, the impacts of discoveries made in the Arab world can still be felt today.
The language of Islam
Arabic is the liturgical language of Islam. The language of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, many millions learn Arabic due to religious motivations. Being able to communicate in Arabic allows for greater tolerance and understanding of the Islamic world.
Is Arabic challenging to translate?
Due to the importance of Islamic civilisation in the Middle Ages, Arabic words spread across the globe. English and Spanish, for instance, have many words of Arabic origin.
Each Arabic-speaking country has its own dialect, meaning there are 25 Arabic dialects in existence. Overall, there is Classical Arabic (the language of the Qur’an), Modern Standard Arabic (or MSA, a simplified form of Classical Arabic, used in media and politics) and finally spoken Arabic dialects, which have no standardised written form. In some cases, the dialects are mutually intelligible. In other cases, , there may be differences in vocabulary. For instance, a lot of French is mixed into Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian dialects as the countries were former French colonies. Care should be taken when choosing an Arabic translator to ensure they are fluent in the appropriate dialect.
There are many aspects of writing Arabic which are considered to be complex. For example, Arabic script is incomprehensible if you are used to the Roman alphabet. The Arabic alphabet also includes twenty-eight letters, each of which has four different forms. That is why we recommend Arabic translation to be done by professionals. This is the case especially for document translations.
Arabic roots are based on guttural constants. To be understood in Arabic, you need to recognise and know how to pronounce these distinct sounds, which either differ from English, or do not exist in English at all.
Did you know there are 1000 words for camel in Arabic? With such a rich vocabulary, it can be difficult for a non-native speaker to know all of the words.