The Arabic language is a vast language spoken and accepted world over. It is a growing language in any serious world marketing plan for many reasons: it is spoken by an estimated 290 million native speakers in the Middle East, North Africa and East Africa. With online sales and websites becoming a hub for information, the importance of having a good translation for an Arabic website is pivotal for any world-class business that uses languages for financial translations, medical translations, technical translations, etc. Arabic is spoken over 27 countries and it has had considerable influence on other languages and cultures across the Mediterranean. Many words in Spanish and Portuguese have an Arabic origin (it is considered that around 20% of Spanish and Portuguese vocabulary). Maltese, Catalan and the Sicilian dialect have Arabic influences, too, as well as Bosnian. Arabic has also influenced languages in the Middle East like Persian and Kurdish, Central Asia (Kazakh) and South East Asia (Malay, Indonesian, Tagalog in the Philippines) and in Africa (Tigrinya, Somali and Swahili in Eastern Africa, Hausa in Western Africa. In the Indian subcontinent, Arabic has influenced Bengali, Hindi, Sindhi and Punjabi.
Arabic spreads over almost 5000 miles (8000 km) from Nuakchott in Mauritania to Muskat in Oman. This is practically the same distance travelling from Alaska to Puerto Rico or from Lisbon in Portugal to Omsk in Russia… and everybody speaks in Arabic or an Arabic dialect. However, as with any language that is spread over thousands of miles, Arabic is open to many varieties which sometimes are not mutually easily intelligible both written and orally. Only Classical Arabic is common to all Arabic speakers. If we consider all Arabic dialects a single language, we can count as many as 420 million speakers (between native and non-native but using Arabic proficiently) in the Arab world. This would make it one of the six most-spoken languages in the world. Globally, it is the third language with official status in most countries, after English and French. Arabic is also one of the official languages of the United Nations. If we consider the separate Arabic dialects as different languages, the largest spoken variety would then be Egyptian Arabic, which often taken as the standard variety for translation because of its 89 million native speakers. The several Arabic varieties as a whole constitute a sociolinguistic language, which means that on purely linguistic grounds each of them would likely be considered to constitute more than one language as it happens with other languages. However, Arabic dialects are commonly grouped together as a single language because of political/religious reasons. Nobody has established how many different languages Arabic would be portioned into if we were to consider it multiple languages because the spoken varieties form a dialect chain dialect chain with no clear boundaries. Arabic is also the common liturgical language of religion for 1.6bn Muslims.