Can you translate my bar of soap?
July 5, 2012 1:48 PM   Subscribe

What is written (in Arabic?) on this soap?
posted by tinamonster to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm. A bit hard to make out as it's back to front, but the word that runs across the middle is 'Halab' (حلب), Aleppo--which is what I expected to see before I clicked on the image, as it's famous for making soap. At least, it was, in happier times. The rest is probably the name of the manufacturer--the top part starts with the word sâbûn (صابون), 'soap'.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 2:24 PM on July 5, 2012

Okay, I flipped it round. Here's the text in its approximate position on the soap:
صابون غار صاغ
عبد البديع زنابيلي
transliterated (with a makron marking lông vowels):
sâbûn ghâr sâgh
'Abd al-Badî' Zanâbîlî
I'm ashamed to say I can't work out ghâr and sâgh at the moment (rusty!), but I think that like 'âl ('fine', here) they're just adjectives for the soap. 'Abd al-Badî' Zanâbîlî is the name of the manufacturer (google 'zanabili soap aleppo' and you'll find entries in English). So in logical rather than decorative order it would be 'Abd al-Badi' Zanabili, Fine [something something] soap, Aleppo.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 2:51 PM on July 5, 2012

I think that first part is 'superior bathing soap.'
posted by Paquda at 2:55 PM on July 5, 2012

Looks like 'ghâr'= laurel -- here's a web site that came up when I googled:
posted by Paquda at 3:00 PM on July 5, 2012

Best answer: D'oh! Sorry. Looking for the wrong roots. Ghâr here means 'laurel' (common ingredient of Aleppo soap). And sâgh appears to mean 'regular' or 'proper', though more loosely translating it as 'quality' might work. Again, in logical order:

'Abd al-Badi' Zanabili
Fine quality laurel soap

Sorry that took so long.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 3:00 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've been wondering about that every time I see that soap for months now and today it occurred to me to ask Metafilter and I have an answer in half an hour. Amazing. Thanks so much!
posted by tinamonster at 7:22 PM on July 5, 2012

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