Have you ever wondered what proverbs might sound like in other languages? What about Arabic proverbs?

Lots of camels in the desert.

Well, I recently read The Son of a Duck is a Floater by Primrose Arnander and Ashkhain Skipwith and I loved it! It’s full of wonderful Arabic proverbs and translations into English and it can be read both English-style (left-to-right) or Arabic-style (right-to-left). I did notice, however, that many of the Arabic proverbs were related to camels. This made sense to me. Having spent 8 months living in Morocco, I know how much people in the MENA region love their camels. Heck, I even rode on one in the Sahara.

So without further ado, here are some of my favourite proverbs about Camels, taken from this book:

Black and white camel in the desert, tied up with traditional harness.

عرج الجمل من شفّته

The camel limped from its split lip.

I.e. A bad workman blames his tools.

اللى يسرق البيضة يسرق الجمل

He who steals the egg, steals the camel.

I.e. Once a thief, always a thief.

الجمل ما يشوف سنامه

The camel cannot see its own hump.

I.e. The pot calling the kettle black.

البعرة تدل على البعير

The camel’s dung points to the camel.

This didn’t actually have an equivalent in the book, but I imagine it means when something is really obvious or when there’s an obvious trail for something.

لا ناقة لي فيها ولاجمل

I have neither a male nor a female camel in it.

I.e. It doesn’t bother me.

Camel in the desert/
All images were taken from pexels.com

Did you find these Arabic proverbs and their English equivalents interesting? If you speak Arabic, can you think of any other proverbs relating to camels? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

And if you’re looking for someone to translate into Arabic for you, that is a service I offer. Send me an enquiry on my contact page!

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a Norfolk-based Arabic and French > English translator and languages tutor.

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