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Which form of arabic is the most popular?
Thread poster: murat karahan

murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:21
English to Turkish
+ ...
Jun 14, 2004

Hi all, one of my clients is planning to translate a movie into Arabic but he wants it to be the most widely known form/dialect of Arabic. Since were talking about subtitles here, the alphabet also could be an issue.

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Sabry Hameed  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 04:21
Member (2004)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) Jun 14, 2004

I think that the following information will be of help:

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the official language throughout the Arab world, and in its written form it is relatively consistent across national boundaries. MSA is used in official documents, in educational settings, and for communication between Arabs of different nationalities. However, the spoken forms of Arabic vary widely, and each Arab country has its own dialect. Dialects are spoken in most informal settings, such as at home, with friends, or while shopping. Of all the spoken dialects, Egyptian Arabic is the most widely understood, due primarily to Egypt's role as the major producer of movies and TV programs in the Arab world.
Arabic belongs to the Semitic family of languages. It is written from right to left. It is also the language of Islam, one of the world's major religions, and has a literary tradition that dates back to the days of Mohammed in the 7th century. In fact, the spread of Islam transformed the regions of Northern Africa and the Middle East into Arabic-speaking areas within a century of its founding. In later centuries, Arabic was spoken in parts of Europe and Asia following additional Arab conquests.




Sabry Gameel Hameed
Founder and Translation manager
Egyptian Translators Team


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
Modern Standard Arabic Jun 14, 2004

Modern Standard Arabic is the standard and grammatically correct Arabic, known in Arabic as Fusha, which is used in literature, media etc, and is understood throughout the Arab world. It wouldn't be appropriate to use one particular dialect for that purpose.

Regards,
Nesrin


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S Abdullah
English to Arabic
+ ...
There is only one Alphabet for Arabic Jun 14, 2004

for subtitle, there are only one Arabic, and one alphabet.

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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:21
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Cameras, lights, action... Jun 14, 2004

You're talking about a film, so I suppose you mean the translation of a script and you're looking for a dialect to translate the language into. If you're dubbing the movie, then Egyptian Arabic is the dialect to go for, but if you're using subtitles, then I believe that this is normally done in the written language - MSA.
Good luck!

[Edited at 2004-06-14 13:27]


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murat karahan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:21
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all answers Jun 14, 2004

Sorry for my ignorance of the arabic alphabet but let me give you and example of a blooper which should explain my caution

"...ahead of Coke's major marketing effort in China, many shopkeepers had made signs adopting any old group of characters that sounded remotely like 'Coca Cola' without giving a thought to the meaning. One improvised sign translated it as 'female horse fastened with wax'. Another exhorted customers to 'bite the wax tadpole'.

While wrestling with Coca Cola's phonetic equivalents, the company kept to its resolve to find characters that had good meanings both individually and collectively.

The search ended with 'ke kou ke le'. In Mandarin, this sounds very close to Coca Cola and also has the positive meaning of 'permitting the mouth to rejoice'"

http://www.englishfirst.org/bloggerarchive/2004_03_01_bloggerarchive.html

Better safe than sorry


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S Abdullah
English to Arabic
+ ...
Chinese is different language structure its not Alphabet lanuguage Jun 14, 2004

Chinese, old Japanese,...etc. the language is not base on alphabet, so it's not correct to compare it with Alphbet language

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translatol
Local time: 02:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dubbing in dialect? Jun 14, 2004

I agree with all the other answers but would just like to add a qualifier concerning dubbing and voiceovers. It depends on the genre of the original. For example I have noticed that while Egyptian dialect is popular for sitcoms, MSA seems to be the choice for historical costume dramas.

As for written Arabic, though there is only one alphabet there are many calligraphic styles and type fonts, and the choice among them is important for any material that is intended to convey an image.


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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
Agree with other posters => go with MSA Jun 15, 2004

Greetings.. taHaiya Tayyiba wa b3ad..

Agree with other posters => go with the use of MSA for both subtitling and dialogue.

FYI, for the voice-over/audio portion of dialogue in film/VT media, an equivalent and parallel term used by voice-over professionals "in the industry" is "Formal Spoken Arabic" or FSA.

HTH.

Khair, in sha' Allah.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California


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R Farhat  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 04:21
Member (2004)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Go for standard Arabic Jun 18, 2004

agree with all above.

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ArabInk
Local time: 21:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
Egyptian Sep 3, 2004

murat karahan wrote:

Hi all, one of my clients is planning to translate a movie into Arabic but he wants it to be the most widely known form/dialect of Arabic. Since were talking about subtitles here, the alphabet also could be an issue.


Egyptian is by far the best known dialect. If your producer can do dubbing, then there is no doubt whatsoever that you should do it into Egyptian. Egyptian film and television has been seen throughout the Arab world for many years, so virtually any Arab can understand the dialect. (I have first-hand experience with this. I studied in Egypt, and whenever I meet an Arab from somewhere else they reassure me that I can go ahead and speak Egyptian and they will understand. And they always do.)

If you must subtitle, I personally would still try to do it in dialect. This is because (to my ear at least) Standard Arabic is stilted, stiff, and emotionally false. Nobody learns it as a native language; nobody whispers sweet nothings in Standard Arabic. So if you put the dialog into Standard Arabic you lose the immediacy of it. Don't get me wrong; Standard Arabic is a beautiful, expressive language, but it is not by any stretch of the imagination the language of everyday (i.e. passionate) life. Think Samuel Johnson and you will get some idea of the relationship between literary standard Arabic and the ordinary language of living people.


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ashraf999
Local time: 05:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
Choose Standard Arabic Jan 15, 2005

Standard Arabic (known as Al-arabiyya al-fus-ha) is the one you should choose if you want to translate a movie into Arabic. However, there are many dialects or slangs which are widely understood among Arabs such as the Egyptian.

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