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Arabic to English Translation

Est. Reading Time: 4min
Category: Translate
Last Updated: December 15, 2020
By: Babak Vosooghzadeh

Arabic to English Translation

In order to perform error-free Arabic to English translation as we do here at Calgary Translation Services, many issues such as Linguistic intricacies, context analysis, language localization and nuances, cultural cues, text orientation and grammar rules including gender have to be considered.

Arabic Language Around the World

Arabic is one the most frequently spoken languages, constituting more than 420 million native speakers across the planet. It has the sixth ranking for the most extensively spoken languages in the world, and 25 countries in the Middle East and North Africa have recognized Arabic as their official language. These countries are blessed with rich culture, friendly and warm people, incredible historical and tourist sites, amazing vacation spots and great multi-sectoral economies.

The Arabic language belongs to the Semitic group of languages, and in the late 7th century, it steadily replaced Aramaic as the lingua franca of the Middle East. Even though Arabic is a common language on a universal scale, it is very intricate which makes it one the most challenging language to translate.

Due to different local dialects, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) was created to standardize communication in Arabic, and it is usually used in Arabic published documents and media communication.

Translation issues can be split into linguistic and cultural components. The linguistic issues include the alphabetical arrangement of words, the syntax in grammar, text variations, differences in ways to influence people, and practical considerations. On the other hand, cultural issues include the difficulty in finding the equivalent of certain Arabic expressions in English, the intention of some cultural phrases and the cultural cues.

A major concern facing Arabic translation is the extensive group of dialects that exist in the Arabic language. Starting with the classical version of the language, Arabic speaking countries have developed their own unique versions of the language over the course of time.

MSA is generally used for newspapers, TV shows and some media arrangement, and specific dialect is occasionally used in advertisements. In any case, the translation services should ask the Client whether MSA or a regional dialect is to be considered for the Arabic test. Furthermore, the translation process should be familiar with different Arabic dialects and more importantly, it should examine the whole context in order to extract the correct information and figure out the intention before translating to English.

Arabic Grammar Rules

It is important to note that Arabic and English have notable differences in alphabet and grammar rules. The Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters, and short vowels are not generally shown in writing, whereas English uses only 26 letters.

Arabic sentences are intricate due to the functional relationship between the components of clauses and the arrangement of the words. Also, many expressions and words can have various interpretations. Therefore, these complexities have to be sorted out in the translation process by careful examination of the context.

Furthermore, in English, word capitalization is used to signify the beginning of a sentence or proper nouns. However, in Arabic, capital letters are not used for this purpose. Therefore, the reader has to rely on the Arabic context to find out if a sentence contains a name or title and capitalize the translation accordingly.

Another complexity is the text formatting. In contrast to the English text format, the Arabic text is read and written from right to left but in some cases, clients may decide to retain the original orientation for certain items. Therefore, these formatting issues have to be taken into account in the translation process.

Moreover, in contrast to English, Arabic nouns use gender when referring to inanimate objects and if the gender is not known for a person, both genders have to be specified instead of using a word like “they”.

Lastly, as a grammatically gendered language, Arabic designates a specific gender for each verb, noun and adjective.

Arabic Global Market

Calgary Translation Services provides error-free translation between Arabic and English by handling linguistic intricacies and cultural cues, by properly using Modern Standard Arabic or localizing to the required language version and by having a deep understanding of the subject matter and context. Considering the massive business opportunities in the Arabic multi-sectoral international market, these features are essential for businesses to maintain an image, avoid legal trouble and costly inaccurate translations, reach a wider audience, gain a foothold in the Arabic global market and ultimately improve business prospects in this huge market.

About the author

Babak Vosooghzadeh

As a new migrant to Canada, Babak realizes the important role of international trade and proper translation in Canadian economy.

He has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University (1991) and has an Accounting Assistance Certificate from Columbia College, Calgary (2020). He has 30 years of experience in the communications and energy sectors, and has submitted more than 70 technical and marketing articles in LinkedIn and ResearchGate to promote Canadian businesses in different sectors. His business-related articles include topics on diversified prescriptive analytics, financial transactions, economic feasibility, incremental innovation and upstream marketing. He is also an advocate for international trade.