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Why It’s Crucial to Have Arabic Speakers Format Arabic Files

One of the most culturally sensitive and complicated languages for translation is Arabic. Arabic is spoken across various countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon and each of these countries have different dialects. While your translation teams will pay detailed attention to translating your content per your requirements with the help of your reference materials, instructions and reviewer comments, there are other elements that can affect the outcome of your translated materials. One of them is the formatting and layout of your Arabic document after translation.

Below, I will discuss some of the challenges that can occur when formatting Arabic files.

Formatting Arabic Files

After the translation of your content, formatting will need to be completed before printing your materials for publishing or distribution. This task can be complicated for Arabic documents as the language is written right-to-left and there are cultural sensitivities that must be respected. Due to this, it is very vital that the formatting and design of your printed materials are done by a native Arabic speaker.

If the copying and pasting of translations are completed by a non-native Arabic speaker, there are high chances of having the language flip its direction as well as introducing multiple errors like line breaks, corrupted characters and linguistic issues. You might hope to perform this task internally to save money however, sometimes your translation partner’s cost could be lower than your internal costs and they will be aware of what errors could occur and how to avoid them.

It is recommended to let your translation partner/language lead complete your formatting and deliver the file in a ready to print format. If your budget doesn’t allow room for tasks other than the translation, talk to your language partner and they can suggest other ways to handle the formatting tasks. For example, your translation partner can review the formatted file you completed to ensure no errors were introduced before printing the final file.

It is not recommended to print or publish any file unless your translation partner gives you approval on the final format of the file.


Additional translation tasks, like formatting files, do add cost and time to translation projects. However, these extra steps will boost quality and help ensure your multilingual documents will appeal to your targeted audiences and achieve your translation goals.