Arabization – Localization

We should differentiate here between three terms: Translation, Arabization and Localization (notice that the word “Ta’rib” carries two different meanings yet close to each other as we shall illustrate now). First of all, Translation means to convey a written or spoken text from a particular language (the source language) into another language (the target language). In short, it is a mere transformation of the text from one particular language into another.

As for Ta’rib, it mostly deals with words, and not complete texts. If we start with Arabization, we will define it as follows: “Conferring of the (Arab) aspect on all what is non-Arab, be they countries, citizens, books, civilizations or even the simplest units in the structure of speech, i.e. words. For example, the word (Telfizion) is arabized from the original English word (Television).

In other words, Arabization means the invention of an Arabic word as an equivalent to a foreign term that originally has no counterpart in the Arabic Language. At that point, the arena shall be left to the specialized scholars to coin new words from original Arab roots in a way that fits the meaning of the word in the mother language. For example, the word “telephone” is an original English word, with no equivalent in the Arabic Language. For this reason, linguists coined a new word, which is (Hatef)– a word derived from the root (h-a-t-a-f-a), which has to do with voice and the communication process.

As for Localization, it is a more comprehensive term, since it is not related to the Arabic Language alone. It can be defined as follows: “a basic tool in the knowledge conveying process that acts through providing the information in the audience’s linguistic and cultural context.” So, it does not mean the mere translation of data and information from one language into another but rather the adaptation of these data and information in a way that fits the target culture.

Recently, the concept of Arabization has been restricted to the translation of the internet websites, which is totally wrong, because the Arabization services include: Arabization of software, multi-media, mobile applications, certain products operation style guides, guidelines of big companies, guidelines of the internet, and games.

For all of this, we, in Elaph, are fully aware of the difference between Translation and Arabization – Localization. Thus we have a team of translators who are highly specialized in the Arabization – Localization services, which are deeper than Translation itself. They are fully aware of the target cultural realms and environments.