There is a great fear among leaders across the Arab region that the language is at risk of becoming irrelevant. And as language goes, so does the culture.
Governments are taking notice and taking action.
In 2012, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, confirmed that the UAE 2021 Vision aims to establish the UAE as a global ‘center of excellence’ for the Arabic language. He stressed that the Arabic Language is an important tool to uphold the UAE’s national identity for future generations. It serves as an effective medium to express national values, culture, and heritage.
“Our Arabic language is a living, rich, lively language. It preserved its authenticity for more than 2,000 years, and it has the unique ability to keep up with the present and the future. Contributing to its preservation is, therefore, an Islamic value and a national obligation as well as an endeavor to consolidate our identity and historical roots.”
— His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
The UAE set forth the Arabic Language Charter, defining a set of guidelines and directions to affirm the preeminent status of the Arabic Language and formally establishing Arabic as the language of the government.
All official communications, correspondence, documents, agreements, laws regulations, and decrees issued by the government of the United Arab Emirates shall be in Arabic.
And other governments in the region are following suit.
Native Arabic speakers represent about 4.5% of the world population. And there is general agreement and understanding that strong local Arabic content speaks directly to stakeholders in a way that demonstrates understanding and respect for culture and local lifestyle.
Despite these facts:
- Less than 1% of all online content is in Arabic.
- Less than 0.2% of global digital content is hosted in the Arab region.
While demand for Arabic content is increasing, generally the quality is suffering.
The “translation landscape” is dominated by foreign or international companies lacking Arabic Language knowledge and the necessary expertise in local traditions and culture of the Arab countries.
And purely or directly translated Arabic content lacks eloquent nuance so important to the perception of your most important stakeholders.
A proactive and sustained commitment to a high quality “Arabic First” content strategy sends a strong message to a wide range of stakeholders across the region, particularly government leaders.
A message that demonstrates understanding, respect and a real commitment to investing in, not taking from, the local market.
And it tells your story in a way that has a much greater impact on and meaning to the people you want to reach.