A collection of things that are not Arabic.
Nope, Not Arabic is an archive of things that are not Arabic. It documents instances of butchered Arabic script in public, from major motion pictures to billboards to video games and everything in between.
Computers are designed to handle the subset of the Latin script required to manipulate American English first and foremost. Every other writing system is an afterthought, and Arabic is particularly poorly served. Most of the images in this archive are the result of non-Arab graphic designers pasting Arabic text into mainstream graphic design software that cannot handle anything but Latin characters and not checking with a native speaker.
I have written about this at length at The Increment and the Decolonising the Digital Journal, and I spoke at DECONSTRUCT 2019 on the subject.
Contact me on Mastodon or email with a screenshot or photograph and information on where and when you saw it and I will be happy to add it to the archive. You should also contact the people responsible, if possible, and tell them they are embarrassing themselves and offending a billion people.
My article at The Increment gets into it.>
Hi, I'm Ramsey Nasser and I do research into the hidden cultural assumptions present in computing among other things. Arabic is my native language so I lose sleep over this shit.
This archive was originally on tumblr but as that platform has degraded over the years I decided to move everything to a git repo where I have more control over the content.
via @M150Kendrick (reported by @tha_rami)Dec 28th 2021
via @MariamAboelezz (reported by @georgionic)Dec 18th 2021
That's the second one from the Cowboy Bebop. The original anime had Arabic script in it and they got it right.
via @EltaibSami (reported by @nazihfares)Nov 22nd 2021
via @mtajri (reported by @Salamatizm)Nov 22nd 2021
From a TV Show called "Mayday", Season 11 episode 9Aug 15th 2021
"I saw this at the entrance of a small mall in Germany and it hurt my eyes and heart."
via emailJun 9th 2021
League of Legends Wild Rift on IpadJun 8th 2021
Spotted on a hat by VANS Europe.
via @CamelSound and @MissLayla__xMar 4th 2021
Spotted in the video game "Maquette" by Annapurna Interactive, more images at the source.Mar 2nd 2021
Spotted in James Verini's book "They Will Have to Die Now"Mar 2nd 2021
Spotted in Born A Champion (2021)
via @SalamatizmFeb 7th 2021
"Multiscript Support: Arabic"
via @TypeStage (submitted by @KhaledGhetas)Feb 3rd 2021
Spotted in Hitman 3Jan 20th 2021
"courtesy of the Hague's open market"Jan 2nd 2021
from a grimes video
via DM from @thearabcynicDec 19th 2020
"An ad I received from Ubisoft regarding one of their upcoming games, Scott Pilgrim."
via email from Mohammed Maher AbedDec 18th 2020
from a music video
via email from George HDec 12th 2020
wemmen do not be shopping for arabic 😔
via DM from @sonyameeshDec 4th 2020
(BREAKING NEWS) no one working at the the late show can read arabic via my family whatsapp group chatOct 24th 2018
Nothing says “happy Ramadan” like butchering Islam’s holy language. via @arabictypeMay 22nd 2018
This was fixed as of April 11, 2018 S K N A H T github via @AhmedElGabriApr 10th 2018
Spotted in Peleng Island by my parents, who confirm that this is not, in fact, Arabic.Feb 20th 2018
Spotted on Netflix. via @indiesaudiJan 22nd 2018
“France literally has millions of Arabs living here, but no one thought to ask one of them to write this Christmas sign outside Notre Dame.” via @ConorMichael28Dec 21st 2017
It’s not like your business model involves people from other countries or anything. via @sandsubramanianDec 5th 2017
¡̣̥̫͎̼͍͝ǝ̰̙̲ǹ͖̩u̱̝̠̳̪ǝ̭ʌ̛̫̹̻̰̪̻u̩̺̥͓̟͠ͅǝᴉq̳͝ͅ via canttouchthisifyouaintblackDec 5th 2017
non, ce n'est pas arabe via @Conseil_EtatOct 2nd 2017
Good thing I checked the ingredients! I’m allergic to Not Arabic! via @sygmaSep 16th 2017
Treasures are usually rare, but this butchered Arabic is all too common. via @JamilAlioAug 31st 2017
More like “don’t forget to hoplessly butcher this language” via @AhmedElGabriAug 21st 2017
via aleadras: “In Málaga, Andalusia. Campaign against sexual harrassment. “No” means “no”, but “al” means… ?”Jul 15th 2017
Very welcoming… via @karoumparisJul 15th 2017
via Nick D: “I was putting together Arabic examples for a presentation and happened to notice this restaurant Did you mean قبلة ?”Jul 11th 2017
via Nick D: “From the trailer for the new ‘The Mummy’ movie” We’d need a whole other blog to address the tired racist stereotype of a masked Arab firing a rocket, but for now, no, that sign in the background is not Arabic.Jul 11th 2017
via hellpe: “From Legion S01E01. Not Arabic, am I right?” you are as right as they are wrong, my friend.Jul 11th 2017
From the national broadcasting corporation in Spain, RTVE: القسم العربي via aleadrasJul 11th 2017
The only thing worse than the lazy butchering of a language cast into metal is the fact that they were trying to say “Heritage Walk” via @porglezompJul 8th 2017
You should get a refund on whatever you paid for that sign, because that’s not Arabic. via @sygmaFeb 2nd 2017
Sorry, CBS’s Madam Secretary, that’s not “another Benghazi” because that’s not even Arabic. via @Rowaida_AbdelDec 31st 2016
My “shopping” won’t be “happy” until you get the “Arabic” right. via moustafachamliDec 31st 2016
Four year old Russian girl knows more Arabic that whatever adult designed that t-shirt. via @tha_rami from this videoOct 25th 2016
This video opens with a touching montage of names and falls flat on its face in the first two seconds. via @kamalmarhubiOct 5th 2016
We’ll use blockchains and modern cryptography to reimagine DNS and shed all its problems! Well, not all its problems…Aug 16th 2016
A wild POKÉMON GO appeared!
It used COMMON ARABIC RENDERING BUG!
It’s SUPER EFFECTIVE!
ARABIC SPEAKERS have FAINTED!
The Future of Language Publishing is a lot like the present. Full video. via @publishergeek, @KhaledGhetasMay 29th 2016
Sit back, relax, soak in the not arabic. via @jenskutilek, @khaledghetasMay 28th 2016
Can’t tell what you were going for, but you didn’t arrive at Arabic, friend. via @sygmaNov 12th 2015
This image was used as the banner for the original tumblr blog.
via @edeng. Original article is on Aljazeera, photo © Getty Images, Sajjad HussainAug 29th 2015
You wanted مقاتل, which means fighter, but you got م ق ا ت ل, which just means ignorant motherfucker.Aug 29th 2015
HEAR Asbestor? THINK Prevention! READ Something that isn’t close to Arabic via TwitterMar 29th 2015
Neither does Arabic via @fawzimesmar’s tweet.Mar 15th 2015
I am, actually. Spotted at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.Mar 3rd 2015
Threes is a game about matching numbers, not Arabic letters on the high score page.Mar 3rd 2015
Guess what language the last line of that sign is not. Via Salman AljammazFeb 2nd 2015
The word ‘chocolate’ in a variety of languages, except of course Arabic, which is no where to be found. Via Salman AljammazFeb 2nd 2015
It may be the best website of 2015, but that’s not Arabic. Appreciate aligning it to the right, though!Jan 12th 2015
Sublime Text is my editor of choice, and a brilliant piece of software, unless you’re developing an Arabic programming language in it…Dec 21st 2014
UPDATE This has been fixed! Thank you for caring! Twine is a great story telling platform, unless your story is in ArabicDec 21st 2014
DICE spent a lot of time making Battlefield 4 look super pretty and polished, except the ArabicNov 26th 2014