English is currently the most commonly used business language in Qatar, even though Arabic is the official language. The dialect of Arabic spoken in Qatar is called Gulf Arabic or Khaliji.
Earlier this year, 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). This means that all business being done with governmental institutions should be primarily conducted in Arabic and non-governmental companies should be given Arabic names or at least have their name transliterated into Arabic alongside the original language.
It has always been common practice to see international company names with the Arabic translation alongside it, however, it has now become a legal requirement.
This law is not the first time that Arabic language regulation has been implemented in Qatar. In 2016, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce issued a rule that Arabic should be the primary language for retailers and failure to comply could result in legal action. Retailers and service providers were advised to implement measures, such as the following:
- Retail outlets, hotels, service centers, etc. should have at least one Arabic speaker behind the reception desk.
- Information labels, menus, invoices, advertisements, warning signs, instructions, etc., should be written in Arabic, with the possibility of an English translation next to it.
- Call centers and customer service desks dealing with customer complaints and queries should have Arabic speakers available to help consumers.
With a lot of business in Qatar being done in English and many expatriates who are non-Arabic speakers, it has become very important to ensure that you have a strong and reliable translation provider who can translate accurately into Arabic. Globalization Partners International (GPI) has extensive experience translating content into Gulf Arabic for industries including, but not limited to, travel and tourism, banking and finance, legal, events, and many others.
The GPI team has written blogs, eBooks and whitepapers specific to Arabic translation services. Please read the below pieces of content for additional information on doing business in Qatar and Arabic translation: