In the Arab region, there are dozens of spoken dialects, hundreds of colloquial variants but one single and universal written form of modern Arabic, known as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), used in everyday written communication.
written forms of Arabic
there are three key written forms of Arabic that linguists need to be aware of.
the highest refined form
Qaran and religious writings
the higher refined form
the literary form that includes Biblical translations into Arabic, older Arabic literature and poetry, prose with linguistic artistic expressions
the high standard form
known as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) used in official documentation, formal correspondence media, contemporary literature, business, academia and other communication material
The spoken form, on the other hand, is very diverse and includes a wide variety from one Arabic-speaking country to another. Additionally, there are local in-country variations of vernacular dialects and a plethora of accents. These are geographically based and are influenced by a number of factors, such as historical origin of people, migration, integration, colonization, globalization, trade and occupation, etc. These are known in Arabic as ‘Ammiyyah (Colloquial) and/or Darijah (Common). The colloquial is more area-specific; the common is more country-specific.
When it comes to translating written texts, we need to focus entirely on MSA. Again, this is the unified and universal form practiced in Arabic speaking countries and serves its purpose equally, East to West. The MSA is also used and understood in all other countries where Arabic is a second or a third language. Do not be distracted or discouraged by the many Arabic variants as these mostly have to do with the spoken form, not the written form.
When it comes to localization, MSA is the only written form used. However, there are certain differences that have to deal with the choice of vocabulary, names of entities or local terminology. This is where we would need a translator from a certain country to apply any certain changes required, and edit and adapt your text for localized use in Arabic.
Highly technical terminology in political, medical, military and industrial fields are maintained by a number of entities and services, such as the UN term portal, the WHO EMRO-UMD, Microsoft Language Portal, the International Telecommunication Union Term Portal, and others. Professional translators are well experienced in the use and application of such databases and term portals and have hands-on experience in handling acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms.
Cultural aspects and differences should also be observed when translating into Arabic for a target audience living in the source language countries. For example, translating US or UK material into Arabic for the Arabic-speaking communities residing within the USA or the UK might require certain linguistic and sociocultural elements that differ when the target audience is the Arabic-speaking communities living within Arabic speaking countries.
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importance of cultural translations
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