Qatar shops told to print bills, receipts in Arabic

July 8, 2010

Qatar’s shops have been given six months to start printing bills and receipts in Arabic beside English.

 The move to have major shopping centres to issue purchase bills to customers with the names and prices of the items written in Arabic as well as English is to help older citizens and people who cannot read or understand English, and to promote the national language, Qatar daily The Peninsula reported.

Most major outlets issue their cash bills to customers with the list of the items sold written in English along with their prices. However, the Consumer Protection Department has recently taken up the Arabic price tag issue with officials from major shopping centres during a meeting to fix the prices of some essential items during Ramadan.

According to unnamed sources quoted by the daily, the consumer rights watchdog gave shops six months to introduce the new billing system before fines are imposed for non-compliance.

However, the outlets said they would need a longer grace period to have the new billing system in place.

 “We have more than 200,000 food and non-food items, including electronics and electrical appliances and garments on sale, so having new software would take time,” a source said.

 “You need to have product names translated into Arabic and then get new software developed. It would also entail a lot of expense. Presently, the entire software is in English,” the sources said, quoted by the paper.

According to the sources, the only people who will benefit from the challenge-laden move are information technology (IT) professionals and translators.

However, sources supporting the move say that many old citizens and Qatari families do not read or understand English and rely mainly on their drivers to do the shopping for them.

 “These people have to rely entirely on their drivers and have no way to double-check the prices of the items they purchase,” said a Qatari community source. “So, cash bills with details in Arabic would help these people a lot. Major shopping centres in neighbouring Saudi Arabia issue purchase bills in Arabic as well as English, so Qatar could follow suit.”



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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