Basic Phrases

Stop sign in Arabic
Stop sign in Arabic. (Image resized) Source: Francisco Anzola (Arret!) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are useful language tools that can assist with basic communication with your Arabic speaking clients.

Cue Cards

These are a new resource developed by Eastern Health Transcultural Services to assist health professionals and clients/carers who primarily have English language difficulties, or problems communicating with each other.This resource is not to be used in lieu of accredited interpreters, but can be used by clients/carers to communicate simple needs such as hunger, thirst, use of a telephone, request for a bible and by professionals to indicate simple instructions/concepts.

The Cue Cards in Community Languages are available in Arabic and other languages which may be spoken by your Arabic speaking clients, including Assyrian, Armenian and Somali.  

Common Expressions

Click on an Arabic expression to learn how to say it:

This very famous term, meaning God willing is the equivalent of the word hopefully in English. For example, "Insha’Allah I will get a promotion". Although the saying has a religious connotation, it is also used by Arabic speakers in non-religious contexts.
Clients may answer by saying: "Insha’Allah", if asked for example, if an appointment time is suitable or not. Usually their response would not be “yes” or “no”, but “Insha’Allah”, meaning “yes”.
Meaning God bless, this expression is usually said after giving a compliment, in the same way that you say "bless" in English. It shows that someone is not envious of someone else’s fortune, and that God is the reason for that good fortune, e.g. "Your eyes are beautiful, Masha’Allah".
When meeting someone for the first time, use this greeting which means peace be upon you.
When asking for something, you start or end your request with the expression “min Fadlak” which is a polite form of saying "please" (to a man - see Polite Terms in the next section for how to say "please" to a woman).

You can download the above audio files on our Arabic Language Audio: Common Expressions page.

Useful Words