World Arabic Language Day occurs every December 18. As a Translation Agency, we cherish this event established by UNESCO in 2010. Since then, the Arabic Language has been recognized and celebrated globally every year.
Here we will talk about the importance of this International Arabic Language Day. Also, we will discuss the issues one can face when translating English to Arabic and vice versa.
History of the UN Arabic Language Day
According to UNESCO, this date coincides with the anniversary of Arabic becoming a United Nations official language, back in 1973.
This UN Arabic Language Day has been established to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity. In addition to promoting “equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization”.
Arabic Language Overview
That’s why providing Arabic translation is relevant. Arabic is considered to play a significant role in cultural diversity due to its rich history and close connection to other European, Asian, and African languages.
For instance, the English language has many Arabic loanwords (e.g.: alcohol, candy, caravan, cotton, sugar, talisman, etc.).
Additionally, Arabic has been, over the centuries, a key actor in the exchanges between continents and across cultures.
Top 5 Arabic dialects speaking countries:
It is estimated that there are over 25 dialects of Arabic spoken in the world today.
- Egypt – more than 82 million speakers.
- Algeria – more than 40 million speakers.
- Sudan – more than 28 million speakers.
- Iraq – more than 22 million speakers.
- Morocco – more than 25 million speakers
Various Arabic Language Forms
Arabic has different forms which vary according to the context it’s being used for.
For instance, Modern Standard Arabic -also referred to as Classical Arabic– is used in formal settings such as in media, newspapers, literature and so on.
There is also Aamiya, designated as being colloquial Arabic. It possesses several forms depending on the country, and even on the town it is being used in. This, also according to society’s various functions.
There are a few factors to bear in mind when doing a translation from or into Arabic:
- There are 28 characters in the alphabet. 8 of those do not have equivalent sounds in English.
- Arabic is usually written from right to left, except for numbers, making it a bit of a tough language to learn and be used in translation.
- The Arabic syntax, gender assignation, and the inclusion of pronouns in relative clauses which is likely to cause grammatical issues.
Read further information in our guide How to Translate English to Arabic Audio and Video.
FUN FACT! Did you know that the Arabic dubbings of some of the most famous Disney movies changed multiple times over the years? (learn what is dubbing and how does it work).
We’d love to hear from you whether you need voice-overs or subtitles.