Appreciate Life in Arabic

Posted on: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 21 comments

I have seen my fair share of bad Arabic tattoo translations. But, in recent weeks one of them has especially caught my eye. The Arabic phrase انا معفن ana mu3affan is purported to mean “I appreciate life” whereas it actually means “I am rotten” or “I am putrid”. The trouble … Continue reading

Mysterious Arabic Calligraphy #2

Posted on: Friday, May 14th, 2010 5 comments

Firdaus sent me the following picture with the request to identify the Arabic writing in this tattoo: The writing is an artistic calligraphic rendering of on top: حب (Hubb) and on bottom: سلام (salaam) which mean “love” and “peace” respectively. Confusingly, the dot that belongs to the letter baa’ is … Continue reading


Posted on: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 4 comments

Kitty sent me the following e-mail to ask for a tattoo design in Arabic for “miracle”: Hi! My name is Kitty! I saw on internet that you translate from english to arabic! I would like to make a tattoo with the word “miracle”! I have been searching for it for … Continue reading

Arabic Calligraphy Design: Poetess

Posted on: Saturday, April 10th, 2010 5 comments

Recently, I received a request from a potential client for a crescent-shaped tattoo design of “poetess” (woman poet). The order didn’t materialize in the end but I went ahead and did a preliminary design anyways. Here is the result:     In plain text: شاعرة Note that a lot of … Continue reading

Mysterious Arabic Calligraphy

Posted on: Monday, February 8th, 2010 3 comments

Today I received an e-mail from a reader of this blog who is struggling to decipher a piece of Arabic calligraphy. Here are the picture and the e-mail: Hi I’m planning on getting a tattoo. I have found this design but I don’t know what it says. I have even … Continue reading

“Believe” In Arabic

Posted on: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 12 comments

Maggie sent me the following question in a blog comment: keefakkk my name is maggie (ghaleb) just want to make sure of something… getting my 3th arabic tattoo! (proud to be libanease!) its the word believe (faith) in the way, i believe i will get trough this, or i believe … Continue reading

Arabic Tattoo Perseverance

Posted on: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 7 comments

Today a Portuguese speaker asked me for a tattoo translation: Bom dia Max, gostaria de fazer uma tatuagem escrito Perseverar, Perseverança. Poderias me enviar pra eu poder fazer? A tatuagem da Angelina Jolie? o que significa? como escrevo? Obrigada, Nana I don’t speak any Portuguese, but from my knowledge of Spanish … Continue reading

Arabic Tattoos – Another Reader Request: never give up, unbreakable, strength and courage

Posted on: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 172 comments

Today I received another request for a translation of a few English phrases into Arabic for the purpose of an Arabic tattoo: Hi Max, I have been reading your blog from australia and its fantastic, i really enjoy it. I noticed that you did a translation for one of your … Continue reading

Reader Request For Arabic Tattoos: Happiness and Scorpio

Posted on: Saturday, August 29th, 2009 22 comments

Today a reader sent me a request for two specific translations of English words into Arabic: Hi Max! I am writing you from Hungary, I have seen your e-mail adress in your webpage. I have a problem, exactly that I want an arabic tattoo, but I am a bit unknown … Continue reading

Arabic Tattoos – The Three Most Embarrassing Errors

Posted on: Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 94 comments

While Arabic tattoos can be aesthetically pleasing if the right calligraphy is used, there are a huge number of cases where neither the person getting the tattoo done nor the tattooist have the slightest idea of Arabic. The result is often disastrous: incorrect or ugly Arabic writing. I’ll show you … Continue reading

Arabic Tattoos – The Latest Celebrity Must-Have

Posted on: Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 315 comments

Arabic tattoos are definitively in fashion in the world of the rich and the famous. And I don’t mean temporary tattoos done with henna. This is perhaps surprising, because there are hardly any tattoos to be seen in the Arab World. In the West, however, tattoos have come a long … Continue reading