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Speaking English in the United Arab Emirates


“For aviation, English is the worldwide accepted language. It’s the standard for when you’re dealing with anything in aviation, really. Now, so the pilots, air-traffic controllers, they have a level of proficiency that you’re able to talk on. They may not have the level of proficiency to talk about the football game that happened last night, but you can have a conversation for mission-related, exercise-related activities. Now, your maintainers, mechanics, ones that may not so much be dealing with the aviation or talking on the radio or anything like that. So, what we had to do was use some of the Emirati pilots and air crews to facilitate any kind of translations that we need. [The] fuel handlers were the ones that I noticed that weren’t really proficient [at understanding] an idea. It took a little bit of concerted effort, might have to call an Emirati pilot over and say, ‘Hey, this is what I’m trying to… I’m trying to work.’ So it would take a little bit extra… But for the most part we were able to use that relationship of the aviation English-speaking standard to conduct business.”

In this video, an Army major discusses speaking English in the United Arab Emirates.