6 Essential Skills a Professional Arabic Translator Should Have

Translation is a creative and challenging profession in which a written text is transmitted from one language into another. And, like any other profession, the Translation has a set of skills that every professional Arabic translator needs to master. These skills are gained over time and through experience and learning.

Here are the six key skills of a professional Arabic translator:

  1. Language knowledge

Translation is a complex process that requires a translator to have good knowledge of both the source and the target language. Some may incline to think that bilinguals are good translators, but very few are. The professional translator must have socio-linguistic, pragmatic, textual and lexical-grammatical knowledge to have the ability to understand the wider context in order to express things and the intended meaning accurately.

  1. Writing skills

 Some people assume that writing is a talent, not a skill, but this is not so accurate. One can learn to be a good writer, just as he can with any other skill. A good translator must have the ability to write well in the target language; otherwise he will only be able to translate from the target language to the source language.

In fact, the key to improve one’s writing skills are to keep practicing. Also, reading helps to improve writing skills. So, one need to read at least one book a month in the languages he works with.

  1. Computer skills

A professional Arabic translator needs to improve his computer skills constantly. By computer skills, I mean using programs and application in relation to the translation process especially MS Office programs and having good typing skills. One may also need to know how to use CAT (computer-aided translation) tools, as some of clients in UAE, being Arabic Translator in Dubai, require such skill. And of course, translators have to be prepared to pick up new computer skills to offer distinctive services.

  1. Research skills

A translator will need to have excellent research skills in order to provide high quality. A good Arabic translator will search for terminology, words, and local concepts and learn how to get best resources online. This helps the translator to use right spelling, terms, etc., because, when translating official names of organizations, one must adopt the official spelling of organization name.  For example, the spelling of the Dubai International Financial Centre, the translator here must write “centre” not “center” according to the official website. Another Example in United Arab Emirates they use the word “Cabinet” in the official websites, while “Council of Ministers” is used in Qatar official websites.  

  1. Time Management

Translation is a deadline-driven profession. For this, you need to organize your time productively to meet deadlines.

  1. Attention to detail

Translation is a profession that requires high level of attention. It requires the ability to focus on details of the translation project. For instant, in legal translation, one needs to pay attention and be extra caution to every detail to keep the meaning, because mistranslated terms and phrases are highly critical.  Translators need great revising and proofreading skills.


Clients need to use an experienced professional Arabic translator, or a well-established Arabic translation company in Dubai that employs them. So, translators need to develop their skills to be professional to meet clients requirements.

Which other skills do you think to be essential for translators?