It’s a Living: Arabic Vocabulary for Professions

Arabic Vocabulary for Professions

It’s a Living: Arabic Vocabulary for Professions

I have worn many hats throughout my professional career. My very first job as a teenager was working as طاه – taahi (cook) at a famous fast food restaurant. Later, I was a مشغل الراديو – mushghil arraadyu (radio operator), حارس أمن – haaris ‘amn ( security guard),  علامة الرسام – ‘alaamat arrassaam (sign painter), and even worked for a while in بناء الطرق – binaa’ atturuq (road construction) painting the lines on the road.


After studying English Communications at university, I was a  مدير المبيعات – mudeer almabee’aat (sales manager) until I moved to Amman and became an معلم لغة انجليزية  – mu’alim lugha injleeziyah (English teacher). Amman has also afforded me other opportunities for employment including working as an الممثل – almumathil (actor), محرر – muharir (editor), and finally, my dream job as a كاتب – kaatib (writer). If the old saying is true about a job defining who a person is, then I guess I’m many people – a veritable “jack-of-all-trades”  or roughly translated from English to Arabic as جاك متعدد المهن – jak muta’adid almihan (Jack-Multi-Professions).


However, before I moved to the Middle East and started to learn Arabic, I had no idea how to speak Arabic and explain my past employment history when looking for a job. So you don’t make the same mistake, today’s post is going to be about what you do for a living. Here is a list of some Arabic vocabulary for professions:


English Arabic Transliteration
profession مهنة mihnah
employee / worker عامل, عاملة ‘aamil (m), ‘aamilah (f)
clerk / official موظف, موظفة mowazaf (m), mowazafah (f) 
colleague زميل, زميلة zameel (m), zameelah (f)
pensioner / retiree متقاعد عن العمل, متقاعدة عن العمل mutaqaa’id a’n il-‘amal (m), mutaqaai’dah a’n il-‘amal (f)
unemployed person / jobseeker عاطل, عاطلة
باحث عن عمل, باحثة عن عمل
‘aatil (m), ‘aatilah (f)
baahith a’n ‘amal (m), baahithah a’n ‘amal (f)
doctor طبيب, طبيبة tabeeb (m), tabeebah (f)
journalist صحفي, صحفية sahafi (m), sahafiyah (f)
engineer مهندس, مهندسة muhandis (m), muhandisah (f)
boss رئيس العمل, رئيسة العمل ra’ees al’amal (m), ra’eesat al’amal (f)
director مدير, مديرة mudeer (m), mudeerah (f)
manager مدير, مديرة mudeer (m), mudeerah (f)
secretary سكرتير, سكرتيرة sikrteer (m), sikrteerah (f)
driver سائق, سائقة saai’q (m), saai’qah (f)
farmer مزارع, مزارعة
فلاح, فلاحة
muzaari’ (m), muzaari’ah (f)
falaah (m), falaahah (f)
baker خباز, خبازة khabbaz (m), khabbazah (f)
salesman (m), saleswoman (f) موظف مبيعات, موظفة مبيعات muwazaf mabe’aat (m), muzafat mabe’aat (f)
nurse ممرض, ممرضة mumarrid (m), mumarridah (f)
policeman (m), policewoman (f) شرطي, شرطية shurti (m), shurtiyah (f)
cook / chef طاه, طاهية taahi (m), taahiyah (f)
teacher (m), female teacher (f) معلم, معلمة mua’llim (m), mua’llimah (f)


Is your profession not on the list? Drop us a line at kaleela.com and we’ll add it to our next one. Now that you know what your job is, you can use these Arabic words to explain to friends and possible future employers to tell them what you do.