Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry Mandating Arabic POS and Recipts

In a move that is probably going to cost Saudi Business millions of Riyals/Dollars, the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry is mandating businesses to use Arabic on receipts, price labels and special offers. Inspections apparently start next week on the first day of the Muslim new year.

I lived in Saudi for 18 years and have visited ever so often over the past 14 years, almost all point of sale and marketing materials are in English over there presumably because the tills and price tag printers are mostly imported from the US or Europe.

It’s fair enough to insist that the major super markets start to phase in Arabic Cash desks that can print receipts, but in a time where everyone is struggling to make ends meet to mandate that every small business needs to essentially replace their point of sale equipment, seems a little silly.

The reasoning behind this is apparently pride in the Arabic language, it being the language of the Quaran, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

All I have to go by is the above poster, I’ve done a quick check of the ministry’s website (Both Arabic and English) but I can’t find any reference to this.

If anyone can provide more detail I’d be interested in hearing about it in the comments…

Subversive Arabic Breast Cancer Awareness AD

This is actually quite clever, the ad shows a number of young Saudi (I presume) men who have been asked to publicly ask women to expose themselves, using the word Ikshifi (Arabic fonts don’t work on my blog due to an unresolved DB issue) they are really coy about it and a lot of them refuse to say it out right.

Initially you’d think from the way that they are talking and the common use of the term that they are asking the women to take off their hijab. But towards the end it becomes apparent that it’s a play on words, the Arabic for expose is also the Arabic for examine. A heartfelt request for women to get their breasts examined for breast cancer closes the video.

It got me watching it because I thought it might be about something else. Hopefully it has the desired effect.

Abdul Is Not A Name!

f0rbseh:

Cap’s being all gentlemanly and then Hawkeye appears leaping through the eye with a wisecrack.Oh Hawkeye, never stop being awesome! 
[Taken from The Ultimates 02 #12]

See, not an asshole. Ok Clint is being a bit ridiculous here but his family are dead and he has been tortured by this point.
Cap is just being a gent’.

Disregard the content of this, yeah sure the idea is that Captain America is trying to be a nice guy to the terrorist super hero or something (I don’t read the Ultimates so I don’t know what is going on).

The guys name Abdul Al-Rahman that’s not a real name!!!! Abdul means servant of, it’s actually “Abd” the “Ul” part is actually a prefix for the next word and just means “The”, Abdulrahman is a name it means the servant of  “Al-Rahman” or The “Rahman”; Al-Rahman being one of the 99 names of God meaning the merciful. The name Abdulrahman means servant of God, Abdul Al-Rahman means The The servant of god.

WHICH MAKES NO SENSE!

Sometimes Abdul is used as a a short form of Abdullah, literally Abd-Allah servant of Allah, servant of God. But not many people would use it like that, and they wouldn’t use a shortened version of their first name if  they were then going to say their family name.

Just because it sounds Arabic doesn’t make it okay! It irks anyone who speaks the language and enrages them, especially since you aren’t strictly supposed to use Abdul as a prefix for anything other than one of the names of God. Some people name their children Abdul-Rasool, servant of the prophet, but that is frowned upon and considered blasphemy in most circles…

/rant

The image is apparently from Ultimates 02 No. 12

Image From Pocket Full of Geek

Really Bad Translation

I saw this ridiculously badly translated flyer for a butchers in Riyadh posted to twitter by mkhonji. I don’t think you need to be able to read the Arabic to see how funny it is. But it helps…

Replace Abdullah: Should be Abdullah’s Place but could be interpreted as in place of Abdullah.

Baladi Dick: Deek means rooster, Balady means local so this actually means locally sourced roosters or chicken.

Homers: This is pigeon I’m not sure what went wrong here.

Baladi Bathroom: Again Baladi means local, and bathroom is supposed to be pigeon. The difference between the word for “bathroom” and “pigeon” is inflection.

Bathroom French: You’ve probably guessed this is French pigeons

I’m not sure what “Saman” is?

My Eggs: Is locally sourced eggs but was probably misread as the eggs of my country which lead to this mistranslation.

All in all this is made of win!

Arabic Translation Fail…

My colleague pointed this photograph by Sahil Anand yesterday, It amused me very much. Reminded me a little of this image of a Chinese restaurant that did the rounds on the internet 4 years ago.

via  The Guardian.

Dream Journal: On School, Arabic and whatever

Two nights in the past week I’ve had dreams where I was remembering school, it’s been really wierd. A couple of nights ago I had A dream where I was resitting my finals at schools (This was 12 years ago) and it was horrible. I hated school, I really despised it, I enjoy learning, but I just didn’t like the restrictive way in which the Saudi Curriculum was set up.

You are forced to study a certain set of subjects, and for each subject you are given a government issued textbook. The word of the Text book is law, there is no discussion and you were (still are?) expected to essentially memorize the contents.

I especially at the time didn’t like the Arabic and Religious studies classes, not becuase I’m not a religious person or that I dislike the Arabic language, it’s more that I think some things should be left to interpretation, and that the opinion of one person should not be set in stone.

Anyway in my first dream I was sitting my exams and they were horrible, in my secons dream I was in a shopping mall (I think it might have been the Al-Rashid Mall) with Avarinne and I saw some arabs, who proceded to mock me about my Arabic. They were convinced that I was just a forieghner who’d learnt Arabic rather than a native speaker, and nothing I could say to them wold convince them otherwise.

As it turned out several people that were in the group, but who hadn’t noticed me were actually people I’d gone to school with. They attested to the fact that I had actually goen to School in Saudi and that I was and Arab. It was wierd, then there were just more and more people from school who turned up..
While I’m at it…

A few weeks ago I had another dream about a large number of people from my days at school suddenly turning up in Glasgow to study. It was really wierd…

I think I’m starting to get a little homesick, so it’s just as well I’m going home this chrismas for a couple of weeks. I also think I have some deepseated insecurities about my competence at the Arabic language mainly because I don’t use it anymore, they are unfounded as whenever I go home or have to speak to anyone in Arabic I’m fine (Although it some times takes me a little while to get going, kind of a mental context switch).

Did I mention I got refused credit for Arabic Level 1 at university… Mainly because I didn’t turn up to classed after I got bored of correcting the lecturer on his Arabic… I even ended up pointing out a mistake in the final exam…