Arabic is, of course, spoken in countries throughout the Middle East and Africa. However, there are many distinguishing features, accents and pronunciations, which vary from one country or region to the next. Nevertheless, all these variants are considered a single language, which is spoken by as many as 490 million people. Thus, Arabic is one of the world's six most prevalent languages. The most-spoken variety of Arabic would most likely be that of Egypt, which has 89 million native speakers. Arabic also is a praying language of 1.6 billion Muslims and one of six official languages of the United Nations.
Today Arabic has two officially recognized forms: Modern Standard Arabic, or the modern written language, which is derived from the language of the Quran; and Classical Arabic, also known as Quranic Arabic. The former is widely taught in schools and universities as well as in commerce, the media and government. However, while Modern Standard Arabic generally follows the grammatical standards of Quranic Arabic and uses much of the same vocabulary, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have counterparts in the spoken forms. Instead, it has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties. Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-Quranic era, particularly in modern times.
Because they're rich in oil, gas and other mineral resources, many Middle Eastern countries--whose peoples happen to speak Arabic--host investments from countries in Europe and elsewhere. Many major multinational corporations have offices in the UAE, for example, and those operations require the translation of different projects into and from Arabic. Therefore, translation is a huge business in Arab countries due to extensive investment in properties, the vast market for cosmetics and the existence of different petroleum companies.