Arabic is one of the oldest spoken languages dating back to 1000-1500 years ago. It is the 5th most common language in the world, with around 300 million people speaking Arabic around the globe.
What’s more, since Arabic is the official language in Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Palestine, and Western Sahara, there are plenty of export opportunities available.
- The Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters.
- Arabic words are written from right to left, whereas numbers are written from left to right.
- In the UK, only one per cent of the adult population can hold a basic conversation in Arabic.
- There are at least 11 words for love and hundreds of words for camel in Arabic
- Arabic has sounds that don’t exist in other languages
- English has many words acquired directly and indirectly from Arabic words, including alchemy, alcohol, algebra, algorithm, alkaline, amber, arsenal, candy, coffee, cotton, caravan, carat, ghoul, hazard, lemon, loofah, magazine, racquet, safari, sherbet, sofa, sugar, tariff – and many more.
If you’re considering exporting to Middle Eastern countries, it’s important to be aware of that they operate mandatory Conformity Assessment Programmes to ensure unsafe goods or poor-quality goods do not enter their markets. Almost all shipments must be inspected and certified. Therefore, understanding the compliance requirements related to your shipment is vital to reduce the likeliness of any shipment delays.
Each country in the Middle East has a list of what it considers to be ‘regulated’ products, along with exempted products and prohibited goods. As such, it’s worth doing thorough market research before beginning your export journey in the Middle East.
With regards to key export opportunities, there is currently a strong and growing market for agricultural exports to the Middle East, along with a need for grains, such as barley and wheat, and canola.
When it comes to services, education is a key services export market in the Middle East and this looks likely to continue to grow as the region looks to upskill.
Arabic speaking countries tend to be more relaxed when it comes to time and schedules than Western cultures. As such, negotiations are often likely to take longer than you may be used to. However, it is expected that you will be punctual to meetings.
You should also be expected to engage in small talk, as building relationships is vital to building trust. In Arabic speaking countries, there is much less of a divide between personal and professional life.
Business tip: Organise face to face business meetings, but not too far in advance and confirm the meeting by phone a few days before the meeting. Also, don’t try to organise meetings on a Friday as this is considered to be a holy day in Islam.
It’s also recommended that you learn some simple Arabic greetings to establish a friendly connection.
|Peace be upon you||As-salaam alaykum||السلام عليكم|
|And peace be upon you too||Wa alaykum as-salaam||وعليكم السلام|
|How are you?||Keif al-haal?||كيف الحال؟|
|Thanks be to God (response to above)||Al-hamdulillah||الحمد لله|
|Please||Min fadlak (to a male)
Min fadlik (to a female)
|Goodbye||Ma As-salama||مع السلامة|
We have worked with many clients on Arabic translation projects, most notably in the automotive industry with Armored Auto as well as in the food industry on a Food safety questionnaire.
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