With more than 313 million native speakers spread in over 24 countries, Arabic is the fourth world’s most spoken language. It’s no surprise that you consider localizing your product or service into that language! However, localizing content for the Arabic market is not a simple task.
As Arabic is a widespread language, there are major differences in the language spoken in different areas. There are at least 30 different dialects! The first step of localizing into Arabic would be to do extensive research on the specific region you want to reach. We decided to list a few things to keep in mind when localizing content for the Arabic markets. Keep on reading!
#1. Understand the Target Market
As we mentioned before, there are multiple dialects of Arabic. The most difficult part of that is that they vary way more than dialects of the English language. Arabic in Morocco will differ from Arabic in Lebanon or Saudi Arabia. You have to consider whether the standard of Arabic that you chose will be good enough for the target audience. If you neglect that part, you will sound awkward in the best case scenario and you may sound offensive in the worst case one.
These linguistic differences lead to some considerable restrictions – especially when localizing marketing material. Your marketing team should do intense research when it comes to translation of marketing content for the specific target audience. A skilled translator and native Arabic speaker from a specific region where you want to localize your content is a must for good quality translation and delivering your message across correctly.
You will find more on doing the research on your target market here.
#2. Understand the Cultural Differences
That includes paying attention to symbols, imagery and even colors. Example? We can all recognize what an owl represents in the Western culture. In Arabic, however, it has a very negative connotation as it represents pessimism. Putting it in the logo of an e-commerce selling educational materials for children and targeting an Arabic country probably wouldn’t bring you the results you want.
Keep in mind that some regions of the Arabic speaking world may be more conservative than others. Depending on which region you are targeting, locals may be quite sensitive to particular topics such as religion, politics, gender and sexuality. Images, illustrations and content may need to be adjusted to fit the cultural aspects of the target market. Remember that images are one of the most powerful pieces of content for your product and they will have an impact on your target audience.
Read how to avoid cultural mistakes here.
#3. Mind the Layout
This may be the most challenging part of localization to Arabic. When you translate your content into Spanish, there may not be many layout adjustments for the final product. Yes, the text may expand and lines may break. However, Arabic requires the whole layout to be adjusted because of its non-latin left-to-right alphabet. A DTP specialized in Arabic is simply required to take on this task.
Read more about RTL languages typography here.
As you can see, localizing your content into Arabic may be quite challenging. However, if you keep the above characteristics in mind, you can overcome any challenge! Good luck with localizing your digital assets for the Arabic market!
Read more on the process of localization for specific markets:
English Is Not the Language of Innovation Anymore