Arabic Through the Looking Glass

Prestige Network Blog

‘I’ll tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass  House. First, there’s the room you can see through the glass — that’s just the same as our drawing room, only the things go the other way’.

Alice found out very quickly that things are not always what they seem. Arabic can play similar tricks on the unwary.

In 2012 Arabic signage welcoming visitors to the London Olympics was found to be incoherent due to the Arabic characters being printed back to front.

The Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) commented that “It beggars belief they cannot even write ‘welcome’ in Arabic. What will our Olympic guests be thinking? It is cringeworthy.

But don’t get lulled into thinking that this problem can’t happen today. It does! And quite regularly.

So if you are considering producing materials in Arabic, or any right to left reading text, then tell us in advance. We can produce your print-ready materials for you, ensuring that you’ll never experience ‘Looking Glass’ meltdown.

If you need any more information on how to avoid embarrassment in unfamiliar languages in both public and private settings, contact the team at