Linguistic Diversity

Arabic books
Arabic books. (Image resized) Source: place light from UAE, sharjah, P.O.Box:1234 (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Many clients may have another language as their first or preferred language of communication, for example, Assyrian, Chaldean, Kurdish, Coptic, or Somali, especially if they identify with another ethnicity other than Arab.

For a list of languages spoken in countries of the Arabic speaking world, refer to Languages of the Arab World. It is important to ensure that your client’s preferred language is documented in client files so that when engaging an interpreter, the relevant language is requested and booked.

In terms of "spoken" Arabic, there are many different dialects - an Arabic speaker from Iraq, for example, can find it almost impossible to understand a local Algerian, and vice versa - even though both individuals are speaking a particular form of Arabic dialect. However, both will be able to communicate in Modern Standard Arabic.

The local variations of Arabic are important to note for the purpose of engaging an interpreter, particularly if your client has poor or no level of formal education in Arabic, they will be able to communicate effectively in Arabic via an interpreter who may be from the same country as the client.