What is Arabization anyway?

14 July 2021

What is Arabization anyway?

In the language industry, Arabization is the art of taking your words and ideas from any source language and delivering them back to you in their glorious Arabic form.

To the untrained eye, Arabization is a linguistic process. A simple exchange of English words into Arabic words. 

Simple enough, right? But while language translation creates new paths of access to ideas we want to communicate, it’s much more than just the words we speak or write. 

Language shapes society, culture and even our history. That’s why the words we select to convey our messages are so vitally important. That’s why we call Arabization an art. An art that must be carefully considered if you plan to take your business to the Arabic-speaking market. 

The Origins of Arabic

To understand what Arabization is, it’s essential to understand the creation of the Arabic language at its source. Originating around the second millennium BC in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula, Arabic spread out along the Silk Roads, travelling with traders, scholars and nomads. Migrating groups took their dialects with them to Northern Africa and modern-day Turkey. Over time, the dialects of these nomadic groups merged with those of local tribal groups, and new dialects were formed. 

So far, so complicated, right? Keep reading.

Just as cuisines differ across the Arab-speaking world, so do the dialects. Like the globally famous, delicious falafel we all love, Arabic is another well-travelled delicacy. And, over the years, it’s been spiced with cultural nuances and local influences from across the MENA region. 

This linguistic back and forth has given rise to three different forms of Arabic as we know and speak them today. According to the Eton Institute, these are: 

  • Classical Arabic 
  • Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)
  • Dialectal (Colloquial) Arabic 

And, according to Importance of Languages, Modern Standard Arabic is “understood or spoken by more than 206 million Arabic-speaking people”. However, while this makes MSA the most popularly understood and used dialect for Arabic media, there are still at least 22 other Arabic language dialects spoken worldwide today. 

Gulf Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Maghrebi Arabic and Iraqi Arabic make up some of the other frequently used Arabic dialects. Still, this list of highlights is by no means complete. Particular Arabic dialects are often used for specific instances of literature, film, poetry and music. That’s why you’ll hear many Arabic songs sung in Egyptian Arabic rather than the native dialect of the singer!

And don’t get us started on the subtle nuances of Arabic words.

Just as the Inuit famously have multiple words for ‘snow’, Arabic has 11 words for 'love', each meaning something different; from ‘alaaqa’, meaning ‘to cling on to’, to ‘hubb’, meaning ‘the potential to grow into something beautiful’. Navigating the nuances of a language with this many synonyms is tricky enough for a native speaker. And this is why companies all over the world work with e-Arabization. We understand the intricacies of Arabization, and we know which words will make the most significant impact on your Arabic-speaking market. This is also why we’re a favourite Arabic language provider in the MENA region. 

Arabizing with e-Arabization

From translation services to localization, Arabization is how we take your source content and rework it for Arabic-speaking customers. Our goal is to respectfully recreate what you need to convey in a way that avoids cultural misinterpretations and delivers impact in your chosen locale. Arabization is market localization that gets your brand messaging right. 

References that might have a US audience rolling with laughter could leave an Arabic audience scratching their heads in confusion. Arabization carefully rewords content to ensure you get all the laughs (and clicks) from your target audience.  

Why Arabize Your Content?

With more than 300 million Arabic speakers in the world, can you afford not to? It’s one of the UN’s 6 official languages, is spoken by the 22 countries of the Arab League, has its own ‘day’ on December 18th, and is the language of the holy writings of Islam. And with e-commerce in the Middle East predicted to hit $50billion by 2025, this is a region you want to connect with authentically. 

The only way to reach as many customers as possible, and keep them as customers, is to translate your key messaging from English (or whatever native language your brand speaks) into an Arabized version your Arabic-speaking audience understand and relate to. 

If you want to lead your customers into your brand’s world, then you need to reach them in their world, with their language. And that’s where we come in.

Contact us to find out how our Arabization services can help customers fall in love with your business.