The official language of Qatar is Arabic, but because of the increasing number of expatriates who have settled in Doha, Qataris make up less than 15% of the total population, which currently stands at 2.74 million, according to World Population Review. This means that English has become the main language of business in Qatar, since it is the more widely spoken language among the expatriate population.
On January 14, 2019, his highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, issued a new law for the protection of the Arabic language (Law No 7 of 2019).
According to an article in Dentons, this new law requires all ministries, government agencies, public entities and institutions to use Arabic as the primary language in meetings, discussions, issued resolutions, regulations, instructions, documents, contracts, correspondence, designations, audio and video presentations, written publications and all other transactions.
Additionally, companies and foundations with commercial, financial, industrial, scientific, recreational or other purposes must be given Arabic names. Exceptions apply for international and local companies and institutions whose foreign or product names have a registered international reputation. They may keep their foreign name and have it written in Arabic along with the name written in the corresponding language.
Data and information relating to Qatari products is to be written in Arabic and to be accompanied by translations in other languages. Further, trademarks and trade names are to be written in Arabic. Where the corresponding language is used, the Arabic language is to be highlighted.
To read the full article by Dentons, please visit Qatar’s new law to protect the Arabic Language.
Arabic Language Facts
- The Arabic language (العربية Al Arabyia, or عربي arabī) is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world.
- There are 280 million Arabic-speaking people spanning 22 countries around the world with combined economies equaling over one trillion USD annually.
- When considering the Arabic language, one must be aware of the very important distinction made between its written form and its numerous spoken forms, or dialects.
- There are three distinct Arabic forms: Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic and local dialects.
- Classical Arabic is the language of the Qur’an and the liturgical language of Islam and also known as the literary language.
- Modern Standard Arabic is derived from Classical Arabic and is currently used as the official language for all Arabic countries for government and education. It is used and understood across all Arabic countries, that is why it is the recommended form in the localization industry.
- Modern Standard Arabic is used as the intra-country communication language for Arabic publications, newspapers, books, media, television and radio broadcasts across the Arabic world and is understood by Arabic speakers.