One word for one world
One word for one world

Doing business in Arab countries (continued)

If you want to start doing business abroad, it’s important to know about the culture in the country in which you want to do business. This may well stop you making a mistake that sabotages an important deal. It is therefore important to be well prepared for the business culture of the country in which you will be doing business. In order to help you become familiar with the business culture in countries in which Arabic is spoken, we have compiled some tips for you in this article. Before we start thinking about tips, however, it is important to be aware that not all countries in the Middle East have the same business customs. That said, more than enough general advice is given.

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Islam is an important religion in practically all of the Middle Eastern countries. It is therefore important to take this into account. It wouldn’t be sensible to try and conduct business on Islamic holidays, for instance. Make sure that you know enough about the Muslim faith and its rituals and customs in order to avoid making mistakes.

Personal contact

Personal contact is very important in the Middle East. There is much less of a distinction between one’s personal and professional life than there is in the UK. It is therefore important to take the time to establish and build relationships. It is also important to be careful with your choice of words. The Koran places a lot of emphasis on verbal agreements, although contracts remain important, of course.

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Important customs

There are some other important customs in the Middle East which you need to know about if you are going to do business in the region. It is not advisable to smoke or drink, for instance. There is less of a structure in organisation and meetings, which is something that you may feel is chaotic. Another tip is about how you sit. British people sometime sit with a leg resting across their knee so that the sole of their shoe is visible. The sole is regarded as unclean in Arabic culture so you should avoid this as much as possible.


There is a lot of nuance in Arabic. Our translators are very much aware of this when translating business documents in order to make a good impression. We have a great deal of experience in the translation of all sorts of documents which are used to support negotiations. Furthermore, all of our translators are native speakers and they often live in the country of the target language. Get in touch with us for more information or for a quotation.

Loubna Bekkaoui
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