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School of Languages M.A Arabic/English Translation and Interpreting
M.A Dissertation By
Omar Jabak Analysis of the Most Commonly Recurring Difficulties Facing Arab Students when Translating into English
Dissertation submitted in fulfillment of requirements of the M.A in Arabic and English Translation
Supervised by Dr. James Dickins
Date of submission: 10/9/200
University of Salford
School of Languages M.A Arabic/English Translation and Interpreting
M.A Dissertation By
Omar Jabak Analysis of the Most Commonly Recurring Difficulties Facing Arab Students when Translating into English
Dissertation submitted in fulfillment of requirements of the M.A in Arabic and English Translation
Supervised by Dr. James Dickins
Date of submission: 10/9/2007
"He who does not thank people does not thank Allah" Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)
First and foremost, I should be immensely grateful to Allah (the Almighty) for His innumerably bountiful blessings, one of which is the completion of my humble dissertation. On the personal level, I would like to profusely thank my loveliest wife, children and family for having provided me with their unstinting, spiritual support without which my MA project would not have been made possible at all. On the academic level, my sincerest thanks go to Dr. James Dickins whose professional guidelines and constructive feedback have been indispensable to both my study and dissertation. His unswerving commitment to cooperative teaching is but one of his many attractive qualities. I also feel deeply indebted to Mr. Hassane Lounis, Mrs. Summer Mouallem and the rest of the teaching and non-teaching staff at the University of Salford who have been exceptionally friendly and helpful to me. On the social level, I should express my profound gratitude to my friends and colleagues, particularly Dr. Jamal El-Jezeery and Mr. Adel AlSubhi whose great encouragement assisted me in making the right decision of furthering my education in the UK.
2.13 ..2 Articles 3..2.. 42 .1. 58 . .. Introduction 3. 33 . 9 2... Bibliography . Metaphors 4.4 Semantic Difficulties 2.4...3. 15 .3 Idioms 2.17 . 56 . 42 . .3 Prepositions 3.. 12 .. .2....4..3.4. Conclusion ..5 Verb 'be' 3.. 7..3.....3. Appendices .3. 70 ....2. Collocations 4.. Grammatical problems 3. Lexical problems 3.. Introduction . 31 .. 40 . 20 ..3 Morphological difficulties 2...5.. 22 . Cultural difficulties .1.. 26 .... 47 4. Chapter Three: Linguistic problems facing Arab students in translating from Arabic into English 3.19 . 49 . Chapter One: Introduction . 10 . 44 . 63 .5 Syntactic difficulties 2. 33 ..... 29 3. Introduction 4..1 Introduction 2.. Chapter Two: Difficulties of translating into a foreign /second language: Theoretical Framework 2. 4 2.2....2. . ... 19 .2.2.... . ... 10 2.. Proverbs 2. 2.. 51 52 .. . Proverbs 4.. Idioms 4. Chapter Five: Conclusion 6...2. .. 55 . Conclusion 5..6 Lexical Difficulties 2. Chapter Four: Cultural problems facing Arab students in translating from Arabic into English 4.....2. Conclusion ...3.3.2...2.....1.... Linguistic difficulties .. 38 . . ... Morphological problems 3. 36 .1 Introduction 2. 60 . 6 Metaphors 2...5 Cultural associations 2.6.4 Swear words 2.2. 24 .3...5..Contents 1.1 Tense 3.2....4 Relative Pronouns 3.27 .3.
the cultural specificities of English. On the cultural level. . Arab students seem to ignore the fact that Arabic and English belong to two different families. nor are they made aware of. Introduction The present study aims at identifying and analyzing the most common problems which face Arab students when they translate from their native language into English. these problems may become less common and Arab students may learn to avoid them in their translation tests and exams. Most Arab students who specialize in English find translation from Arabic into English much more difficult than translation from English into Arabic because they are more familiar with the various linguistic and cultural aspects of their mother tongue than those of a foreign language.Chapter One 1. and therefore they differ widely from a linguistic point of view. As for linguistic problems. The most common problems which Arab students seem to encounter in their translation from Arabic into English fall into two main categories: linguistic and cultural. Some Arab students thus apply Arabic grammar rules to their English translations which then sound both erroneous and non-English. Once attention is drawn to these kinds of problems which hinder Arab students from producing a good translation into English. Arab students seem to turn a blind eye to the different cultural aspects of the English language when they translate from Arabic into English because they are not well acquainted with.
The sample sentences in Arabic and the English translation attempts made by Arab students have been chosen carefully to suit the aims of the study and provide some analytical framework for future . the other one suffers the same consequence. Accordingly.This kind of practical study has much theoretical support because in essence this research study draws heavily on the claim made by some translation scholars that translation into a foreign or second language is much more difficult than translation into the mother tongue. this type of theoretical knowledge is itself of no value unless it is firmly grounded in practical experience. no matter how perfectly they master the foreign language. The corpus of the study has been selected rigorously from over two hundred translation tests and exams given to Arab students in Saudi Arabia and Syria in the last two years. Theoretical knowledge and practical application can be compared to two sides of the same sheet. If one side is torn. Mona Baker (1996: 2) says: Needless to say. the second chapter of the present study establishes the theoretical framework which paves the way for the practical side of the study in the third and fourth chapters. A good number of translation scholars are of the opinion that translation into a foreign language is fraught with linguistic as well as cultural difficulties because foreign language learners or/and translators do not have the same linguistic and cultural knowledge as native speakers of the foreign language do. In this particular respect.
Accordingly. the study focuses on the most common linguistic and cultural problems which the sample Arab students seem to encounter when they translate from Arabic into English. Some Arab students seem to be of the opinion that the basic meaning of a given lexical item in Arabic can determine its target equivalent in English.research in a similar area. and because of the overwhelming . seem to struggle with the grammar of the target language because they probably carry out translation under the assumption that the grammar rules of their native language are the same as those of the target language. Yet. the influence of the mother tongue on the target language is blindingly obvious. relative pronouns and verb to 'be' when used as a main verb in the sentence. because this contextual element is not taken into account when Arab students translate into English. most of the sample students. they make grammatical mistakes in areas such as tense. As far as grammatical problems are concerned. Lexical meaning in English. lexical problems and last but not least morphological problems. The sample sentences prove. by contrast. is both contextual and situational. articles (the definite and the indefinite articles). With this in mind. The third chapter of the dissertation further elaborates the most common linguistic problems which face Arab students in their translations into English. On the lexical level. however. prepositions. to a great extent. as the study shows. that in principle Arab students do encounter grammatical problems.
some Arab students are very likely to face lexical difficulties. like most second language learners and translators. The underlying reason for these problems is that Arab students. The cultural problems on which the study focuses are proverbs. Arab students are not able to render some Arabic collocations into correct English collocations because they are not native speakers of English. nor is the English culture their native culture. some Arab students. . Although some common Arabic proverbs do have equivalent proverbs in English. collocations are common to almost all languages of the world. find Arabic proverbs too hard to translate into English proverbs. some Arab students seem to be unable to use some inflectional and derivational morphemes in the target language properly because they mistakenly think that English morphological rules have no exceptions. In addition. metaphors and last but not least idioms. but it seems that second language learners are not as good as first language learners in their use of collocations. who do not seem to be familiar with English proverbs. do not have a solid background in the English culture. On the morphological level. Likewise.influence of the source language on the target language. collocations. The fourth chapter of the study deals with the most common cultural problems which face Arab students when they translate from Arabic into English.
the key findings of the study will be presented along with some recommendations for future research into a similar area. The final chapter of the dissertation serves as a conclusion for what has been previously discussed. As such. though both languages have a preference for idiomatic expressions. . It seems that most Arab students are not familiar with English idioms and how they are used. so they find it very difficult to provide equivalent idioms in English for Arabic idioms.The translation of Arabic metaphors into English poses another challenge for Arab students because images implied in metaphors differ from culture to culture. A statistical table showing the percentages of the most common problems facing the sample Arab students in their translation from Arabic into English together with copies of the test and exam questions is included under Appendices towards the end of the dissertation.
syntax. Dickins. By the same token. In addition. Hervey and Higgins (2002: 2) point out: Translator training normally focuses on translation into the mother tongue. but also supports the claim made by most translation scholars that translation into a foreign language is far more difficult than translation into the mother tongue. he or she may find it very difficult to render . morphology and lexis enjoyed by the native speaker. the translator who translates into a foreign language lacks the full knowledge of the various linguistic elements of the foreign language. The underlying reason for this assumption is that translators have a more profound linguistic and cultural background in their mother tongue than in a foreign language whose linguistic and cultural aspects can hardly be learned in their entirety by translators or language learners simply because it is not their native language.1 Introduction This chapter not only forms the theoretical framework of the present study. because higher quality is achieved in that direction than in translating into a foreign language. In this respect. such as semantics.Chapter Two Difficulties of translating into a foreign /second language: Theoretical Framework 2.
These differences are best explored and illustrated when translation is carried out between languages belonging to different families such as English and Arabic. metaphors. idioms. As a result. swear words and others into proper equivalents in his or her mother tongue because the meaning of these aspects is both elusive and unpredictable. collocations. rather than acquired. In this respect. learned.cultural elements such as proverbs. When translators translate from their mother tongue into a foreign language they are likely to face grammatical difficulties because their knowledge of the grammar rules of the foreign language is not as comprehensive and profound as that of their native language. The translator's foreign language is.1 Introduction There can be no dispute over the notion that languages have different grammar rules because of the differences in their varied linguistic aspects. the linguistic and cultural knowledge of his or her foreign language is always in progress and never complete.2 Linguistic Difficulties 2. Katherine Reiss (2000: 60) argues: Due to the fact that differences between the grammatical systems of languages are frequently quite great.2. 2. for the most part. it is the morphology and . translation into a foreign language is very likely to be fraught with linguistic as well as cultural difficulties. For these reasons.
in most cases. he or she will have to refer to references and dictionaries for help.syntax of the target language that clearly deserve priority unless there is some overriding factor either in the nature of the text or some special circumstance. Every time the translator is unsure of the morphological. . In addition. On the linguistic level. such as the instinctive knowledge of grammatical. translation into a foreign language deprives the translator of some advantages. but it also puts him or her at the mercy of reference works. morphological. and the search for appropriate equivalents in the target language may take a long time. syntactic and lexical aspects of the foreign language because the translator cannot practically master these linguistic elements as fully and naturally as native speakers can. such as grammar books. he or she consults more than one reference or dictionary to decide on the right meaning of a certain word or phrase. syntactic. and general and specialized dictionaries as the translator's second language is. semantic or lexical rules of the second language into which he or she translates. semantic. learned outside its natural context rather than naturally acquired. Sometimes. this kind of translation not only provides the translator with some kind of bookish knowledge.
Another morphological aspect which is highly characteristic of English is affixation. which is morphologically equivalent to the comparative English form "elder/older". used here to refer to the superlative degree. translation into the mother tongue tends to be more successful than translation into a second language because of the translator's inherent knowledge of the morphological rules of his or her first language. in fact. For a translator whose first language is English. for instance.2. has no ready mechanism for producing such forms and so they are often replaced by an appropriate paraphrase. The following invented example in Arabic may illustrate this point. is. depending on the meaning . and payer/payee Arabic.3 Morphological difficulties As far as the morphological aspect is concerned. Such a sentence may confuse a novice translator whose first language is Arabic because " ". English has both prefixes and suffixes which extensively help augment its vocabulary. Many other languages do not have this morphological device. trainer/trainee. Mona Baker (1996: 24) states: English has many couplets such as employer/employee. In this respect.2. such a sentence will not pose any challenge because his or her morphological competence will automatically lead him or her to the right choice. The sentence is " ". This Arabic sentence corresponds to the following English sentence: he is the eldest child in the family .
both the adverb and adjective identical in form (with the adverbial taking the accusative suffix an). The translation of adverbs or prepositional phrases from Arabic into English can be difficult for the inexperienced translators who are preoccupied with literal translation. has. Besides. ' ' is an adverb. for the most part.2. Hervey and Higgins (2002:98).4 Semantic Difficulties According to Mona Baker (1992: 19). while it is an adjective in the second sentence. derived from their corresponding adjectives by adding the suffix 'ly' to the adjectives. Arabic. Adverbs in English are. This is true because the morphological systems of both Arabic and English are widely different. . o o In the first sentence. the translator who is aware of the basic semantic differences in both the source language and the target language will be at an advantage over the one who is not. 2.they convey (e. retrievable as 'can be retrieved and drinkable as 'suitable for drinking'). For Dickins. on the other hand. some prepositional phrases in Arabic can readily be translated into English as adverbs.g. Let us consider the following examples in Arabic: . the semantic knowledge of the translator who translates into his or her mother . for the most part.
no such distinction is made. Some words in Arabic which have the same form and meaning in different contexts cannot be replaced by their corresponding equivalents in English in the same contexts as those of Arabic. Typically in languages. attaching them to the heart and the head respectively. In traditional Chinese culture. In other words. Take these sentences from Herman Melville: "I stand for the heart. This. since the heart is referred to as the location of mental activities of all kinds. Michael Hanne (2006: 209) highlights this point by stating the following example: European cultures traditionally make a firm distinction between emotional and intellectual activities. Arabic may use the same word in different situations with the same apparent meaning. one word can be used to refer to more than one thing and only those translators who translate into their native language may be fully aware of such semantic features. however. may cause confusion or translation loss when translation is done into a foreign language. I had rather be a fool with a heart than Jupiter Olympus with a head". To the dogs with the head.tongue is an added asset to good translation because he or she does not translate words in isolation but meaning in a given context. but the basic English equivalent for the Arabic word cannot be used in the same . I understand.
we would have different verbs to express the actions intended in the source sentences. 2. making strange-sounding sentences in English.2. .range of situations as its meaning changes. But a novice translator or Arab students starting to major in English. o o o o o In the above-mentioned examples. might readily translate the above examples literally. tense. . Vladimir Ivir (1981: 56) emphasizes: . if we were to translate these sentences into English.5 Syntactic difficulties It is well-known that languages have different syntactic rules and that translation into a foreign language presents translators with syntactic challenges because their knowledge of the syntax of the foreign language is not as good as that of their mother tongue. voice and word order. depending on each situation. . Some of these grammatical devices or systems may be present in one language but absent in another language. gender. Let us consider the following examples: . . person. aspect. However. we notice that the same verb is used in its basic meaning to refer to different situations. Languages across the world have strikingly different syntactic rules when it comes to number.
Arabic has a preference for active structures. can standardly mean both 'buys' and 'is buying'. they often make mistakes in aspect. They go on to elaborate this point: The system of tenses of Arabic is quite different from English. and in other contexts. Moreover. Dickins. when people translate from Arabic into English. for example. non-progressive aspect.Languages are differently equipped to express different real-world relations. Hervey and Higgins (2002: 99-100) observe: The flexibility of Arabic tense usage may sometimes raise difficulties particularly in translating from Arabic to English. and they certainly do not express all aspects of meaning with equal ease. it might mean 'will buy'. In some contexts. whereas Arabic has more prominently a combination of tense and perfective vs. non-perfective aspect. . English has both tense and progressive vs. . Accordingly. It is worth mentioning here that while English favours the use of passive structures in scientific texts and other texts giving instructions.
6 Lexical Difficulties Despite the fact that the translators' best friends are assumed to be monolingual and bilingual dictionaries. they are fully equipped with the lexical knowledge of their first language which will help them match correct lexical items in both the source language and the target language.thus failing to match the appropriate word order in English.2. Word order is another feature which differs from language to language. by intuition. 2. English sentences begin with the subject followed by the predicate. or 'was buying'. for example. they are more aware of the lexical aspect of their native language than that of a second language. As a rule. 1996:110). Accordingly. they can decide . whereas Arabic sentences start with the verb followed by the subject.might be most naturally translated as 'bought'. By virtue of this knowledge. In English. word order is relatively fixed compared to other languages such as Arabic. and others (Mona Baker. Russian. For a novice translator or an Arab English student who translates from Arabic into English. this feature may pose some difficulties. German. In addition. translators who translate into their first language typically perform well even without the help of such dictionaries because. he or she might translate an Arabic sentence literally without changing its word order . for example.
Eugene Nida (2001: 130) asserts the existence of this dividing line between linguistic and cultural challenges facing translators: In fact. whether a feminine. what tense to use. It is worth mentioning that both the linguistic and cultural elements in the source language and the target language should be well-observed in order that translation is carried out successfully.what verbs collocate with what nouns. the transference of cultural elements into cultural equivalents tends to be more daunting for the translator who translates them into a second language than for the translator who translates them into his or her first language and culture. and other important lexical information. and between a masculine . Roman Jacobson (2001: 116) illustrates this point by providing an example from Russian: In order to translate accurately the English sentence "I hired a worker. what adverbs to use before what adjectives. what adjectives collocate with what nouns. differences between cultures cause many more severe complications than do differences in language structure. However. masculine. because he must make his choice between a verb of completive or non-completive aspect and a feminine noun." a Russian needs supplementary information. whether this action was completed or not and whether the worker was a man or a woman. singular or plural should be used.
which is probably suspiciously 'better' than an educated native's. not by his vocabulary. not by his grammar. proverbs. In such a situation.1 Introduction Translation into the first language allows the translator to draw on an indepth knowledge of the various aspects of his or her culture. On the other hand. if any translation were to be done. translators rightly translate into their own language.3 Cultural Difficulties 2. as well as culturally oriented linguistic features. and a fortiori.3. and swear words. such as idioms. When experienced translators translate into their native language and culture. the translator who translates into a foreign language and culture may not be able to recognize the cultural aspects of the foreign or second language because he or she is alien to that culture no matter how many cultural references or phrases he or she memorizes.2. metaphors. . but by his unacceptable or improbable collocations For the above reasons. because texts are normally coloured with cultural elements such as references to culturespecific items and notions. it would not sound very successful. Peter Newmark (1981: 93) suggests: He [the translator] will be 'caught' every time. which may well be wider. they are fully aware of the cultural sensitivities of the target language and can normally render the cultural elements of the source language into proper equivalents in their own language and culture.
culturally-oriented forms. For a translator whose native language is English and whose second language is Arabic. An invented example that may illustrate this point is the following English proverb "diamond cut diamond". Yet. However. metaphors. translators who translate such intriguing features into their native language find them much easier to render than translators who attempt to transfer them into a second or foreign language and culture. such as proverbs. it is the responsibility of translators to ensure that there is no equivalent proverb in the target culture to a certain proverb in the source culture before they suggest their own translation of that given proverb. idioms. 2. In general. not .3. the accurate translation of this proverb into Arabic is rather difficult. for instance. It is not very common to find equivalent proverbs. Proverbs The translation of proverbs in general is a difficult task because their meaning is culture-bound.foreign teachers and translators are normally unsuitable in a translation course. swear words challenge translators who translate into both the first language and the second language as these aspects are not easy to transmit from one culture into another. in languages belonging to different families such as English and Arabic as not only these languages but typically also their cultures are widely different.2.
In fact. will be distorted once it is rendered literally. will make neither head nor tail of the resulting translation. The target audience may understand the overall meaning of such strangesounding sentences. The target audience. On the other hand.because the words have no Arabic equivalents but because the cultural dimension and reference will be lost once the English words are replaced by their corresponding Arabic equivalents. Oddly enough. the target audience will easily identify any translation . Interestingly enough. such a translator might be tempted to translate the above-mentioned proverb literally. the translator whose mother tongue is Arabic and whose second language is English will easily find an equivalent Arabic proverb for the above-mentioned one because his or her cultural reservoir will help him or her find an appropriate equivalent proverb in Arabic. the translator will come up with the following equivalent proverb in Arabic " " which literally corresponds to the following English sentence: "Iron cuts only iron". but they will know for sure that these sentences are produced by ill-experienced or novice translators whose first language is not English. however. the translator will translate this proverb correctly into an Arabic proverb which the target audience will readily understand. As a result. More importantly. the meaning of such a proverb in the target language. We notice that in the English culture "diamond" is used while in the Arabic culture "iron" is used instead. which is Arabic.
errors and spot them because the translation is carried out into their own culture. In this respect, Katherine Reiss (2000: 79) points out:
The audience factor is apparent in the common idiomatic expressions, quotations, proverbial allusions and metaphors, etc., of the source language The translator should make it possible for
the reader in the target language to see and understand the text in the terms of his own cultural context.
Idioms are another cultural element featuring prominently in most languages. Translators often find idioms somewhat difficult to translate because of their unpredictable meaning. For this reason, idioms should be translated very carefully; otherwise, their deep meaning in the target culture will be lost. English, for example, is widely known as a highly idiomatic language. When translators whose second language is English translate literary texts into English, they may not be able to translate these texts into idiomatic English because their knowledge of English idioms is not as good as that of a native speaker. This is because the native speaker's knowledge of idioms is highly steeped in his or her own culture. Unlike a non-idiomatic string of words, idioms should be treated with the utmost care because their meaning does not depend on the meaning of their individual words but can only be explained and comprehended in cultural terms. In the case of the
translator whose first language is not English, there is a strong possibility that he or she may quote idioms wrongly or use them indiscriminately or out of their natural context. On the other hand, the translator whose first language is English and who translates into English is hardly ever likely to make such blunders. When translating idioms, the translator should focus on meaning and not on the search for equivalent idioms in the target language because not all languages depend to an equal extent on idioms for communication. In this case, the translator should aspire to come to grips with the meaning of a certain idiom and put it in a way most convenient for the recipient language and culture. In this respect, Katherine Reiss (2000: 62) says:
The factor of idiomatic usage becomes even more important for translation when no convenient and comparable expression is available, and some form of structural adaptation is necessary to avoid an undue strain in the target language.
Some idiomatic comparisons in English may pose a challenge for novice Arabic translators whose second language is English because of the cultural references these comparisons provide. Let us consider the following idiomatic comparisons in English:
o as magnanimous as Agamemnon o as cunning as a fox o as active as quicksilver
The literal Arabic translation of these idioms is as follows:
o o o We notice that the first and last translations do not sound good Arabic at all because they do not fit into the Arabic culture as the second one does. We can make them better by following one of Ivir's strategies (1987), which is substitution. When a term in the source culture has no equivalent in the target culture we substitute it with another term in the target culture which has the same evoked meaning as that term. Thus, we can say ' ', and ' / '. As a rule of thumb, when the idiomatic
comparison in English has no natural-sounding equivalent in Arabic we can use ' ' after the Arabic translation of the English adjective.
2.3.4 Swear words
Another cultural element which merits consideration with regard to translation is swear words. As a matter of fact, swear words or taboo forms are common features permeating all languages and cultures. Native speakers of a certain language can both identify swear words and use them correctly, unlike non-native speakers of that language whose lack of such knowledge deprives them of this advantage. These so-called taboo forms are not easy to translate because their meaning is culture-bound. Besides, what is seen as a taboo in one culture may not be regarded as such in another culture. More
the variation of swear words along with their elusive nature makes their translation into the translator's first language much easier than into his or her second language. but different languages have different associations for different animals. those who translate taboo forms into a foreign language culture will not be able to provide culturally proper equivalents for these forms because such translators lack the intuitive knowledge of the foreign culture into which they carry out translation. In addition. be accepted in their culture will enable them to make up culturally appropriate equivalents to some swear words which originally have no equivalents in their native culture. their innate knowledge of what might. those who translate taboo forms into their native language and culture will effortlessly find proper equivalents for these forms in their own culture because they are instinctively familiar with the various aspects of their own culture. Animal names are known to be favored as swear words. She says: Swear words pose problems for translation: the emotional elements must be carefully matched with the specific situational context. Katherine Reiss (2000: 84-85) pinpoints the elusive nature of swear words and illustrates that by giving an example of some animal names used as swear words in two different languages. Accordingly. In contrast.importantly. or might not. When a Frenchman swears at someone with the words "la vache!". In this regard. the German translation "Die(se) Kuh" .
whereas their equivalents in the target culture express social disapproval and disgust. the translator who translates such words into his or her native language culture will have to be very careful so as not to use equivalents whose meaning may be emotionally charged. in the target language. unlike the meaning of their counterparts in the source language.5 Cultural associations Not only do words have different meanings and associations in different cultures.3. but they also express different personal and/or social attitudes.(literally "the cow") would miss the meaning completely while "la vache" as a swear word finds its equivalent in the German word "Schwein!" (English "bastard!"). sound either vulgar or offensive while their corresponding counterparts in the source language are neutral or inoffensive. some words may sound inoffensive or neutral in one culture. A good example that illustrates this point is the one which Mona Baker (1995: 24) gives. Interestingly enough. She argues: . he or she may use equivalents which. 2. As a result. the decision to use neutral equivalents is often made on an ad hoc basis as he or she is not as fully aware of the customs and traditions of the target language culture as is the native speaker of the target language. for a translator who translates these words into a foreign language. As a result of this discrepancy. However.
The reason for this difficulty lies in the fact that metaphors sometimes involve two different things or people that are strung together due to some specifically cultural similarities between them. the most important particular problem is the translation of metaphor.Differences in expressing meaning are usually more difficult to handle when the target-language equivalent is more emotionally loaded than the source language item Homosexuality is not inherently pejorative in English. shithuth jins i(literally: 'sexual perversion') is inherently more pejorative and would be quite difficult to use in a neutral context without suggesting strong disapproval. Such similarities may not exist in languages belonging to different families such as English and Arabic or English and Chinese as their cultures are also widely different. 6 Metaphors Another cultural difficulty facing translators who translate into a foreign language is metaphor.3. On the other hand. the equivalent expression in Arabic. Newmark (1988:104) observes: Whilst the central problem of translation is the overall choice of a translation method for a text. . 2. although it is often used in this way.
the above-mentioned sentences pose serious difficulties because of the metaphors they imply. . o o o o For a translator whose first language is Arabic and whose second language is English. For these scholars. By examining the deep meaning of the afore-mentioned Arabic examples.According to Dickins. and these also fall into other categories. . The translator who carries out translation into a foreign language will not be able to translate metaphors because he or she cannot always see the image expressed in the metaphors of the foreign language simply because he or she is an alien to the foreign culture. However. or else the message they express will be distorted or even lost. Let us consider the following examples in Arabic: . . metaphors should be translated with a great deal of care and precision. there are different kinds of metaphors mainly lexicalized and non-lexicalized. Hervey and Higgins (2002:146-159) metaphors are the most challenging figure of speech for translators because of their extensive use and non-basic meaning. we notice that the first sentence talks about a situation . However. whether lexicalized or otherwise. these metaphors can be difficult to render into English if the translator does not have a broad cultural background in English metaphors and how metaphorical or figurative language works.
translation into the first language provides the translator with an intuitive knowledge of the morphology. in terms of linguistic competence. translation into a foreign language deprives translators of such knowledge and puts them at the mercy of reference works and dictionaries which may or may not be available or useful when needed or consulted. On the cultural level.4 Conclusion In conclusion. syntax and lexicon of the target language which is his or her mother tongue. The reason behind . the second one refers to a situation when someone comes back empty-handed rather than 'with Hunayen's slippers'. the third sentence means that someone is honest and pure rather 'Amr's robe is clean and its tail is pure' and the fourth sentence simply means that someone is a thief rather than 'someone's hand is long'. Besides. By contrast. 2. the translator who translates texts rich in cultural elements or references into his or her native language tends to be more successful than the one who translates such texts into a second or foreign language.when someone is struck by misfortune rather than 'bitten by time'. it can safely be argued that those translators who carry out translation into their native language outdo their fellow translators who translate into a second or foreign language because the former are more naturally equipped with both the linguistic and cultural knowledge of the target language than the latter. semantics.
will not easily recognize such elements. swear words and other features which cannot be rendered literally. . idioms. The translator who carries out translation into a foreign language even if he or she spoke and wrote like a native speaker. however. metaphors.such success is that the translator who translates into his or her native language will readily recognize cultural elements such as proverbs.
Chapter Three Linguistic problems facing Arab students in translating from Arabic into English 3. I have attached copies of all the tests and exams on which this chapter and the next one are based at the end of the dissertation under Appendices. For the sake of transparency. . I have also typed the students' translations with all the mistakes which the students have made in order to maximize the benefit for both translation scholars in this field and Arab students taking up English as a specialism. Some other samples have also been taken from a translation test I myself administered to some first-year Syrian students at the Department of English. Introduction This chapter is the first part of the practical side of the dissertation.1. Teachers' College in Madina in the academic year 2005-2006 when I was teaching translation from English into Arabic and vice versa. Faculty of Arts and Humanities in Aleppo University in the academic year 2006-2007. The sample sentences which the present study examines have all been selected from translation tests and exams I myself gave to some Saudi students specializing in English at the Department of English. It aims at analyzing the most common linguistic problems that are encountered by Arab students when they translate from Arabic into English.
. some Arab students might be under the delusion that both English grammar and Arabic grammar are similar. the influence of the mother tongue on the target language is blindingly obvious. and therefore. some Arab students might not be able to use some inflectional and derivational morphemes in the target language properly because they mistakenly think that English morphological rules have no exceptions. lexical and morphological. some Arab students are very likely to face lexical difficulties. On the lexical level. relative pronouns and the verb 'be' when used as a main verb. when they translate into English they seem to apply Arabic grammar rules rather than English grammar rules. Accordingly. articles (the definite article and the indefinite article).The chapter scrutinizes some linguistic problems which some Arab students are likely to encounter when they translate from Arabic into English. As far as grammatical problems are concerned. prepositions. however. These linguistic difficulties fall into three main categories: grammatical. Lexical meaning in English. is both contextual and situational. Some Arab students think that the meaning of any lexical item in isolation can determine the target equivalent to a certain word in Arabic. On the morphological level. they make mistakes in areas such as tense. Because this contextual element is not taken into account when Arab students translate into English and because of the influence of the source language on the target language.
present and future. Grammatical problems 3. past. It seems that this influence is so remarkable that it cannot be simply ignored. The child run a fast running. The boy run very quickly. The first grammatical problem which most of the students of the present study seemed to run into is that of tense. Most of the grammatical problems that are faced by Arab students when they translate from Arabic into English arise from the unconscious influence of their mother tongue on their second language. o o o o o The boy run quickly. Such a difference becomes transparently obvious when these two languages are compared or contrasted by means of translation. . most of the Arab students in the study tend to ignore the various aspects of these tenses in English when they translate from Arabic into English.2.2. The boy runs a fast running. The boy run very fast. . Let us have a look at the source Arabic sentence and some of the students' attempts.3. The verb ' '. which is in the past.1 Tense It is self-evident that Arabic has a different grammar system from English. Some students fail to translate the simple past tense from Arabic into English when the verb is irregular perhaps because they are not sure of its past form. has been translated by a good number of students as either 'run' or 'runs'. Since Arabic recognizes only three tenses.
I didn't see him in the past. o The teacher give us a lot of homework and ask us why we don't prepare the lesson well. I didn't see him before.Another group of students finds it difficult to translate negative sentences from Arabic into English perhaps because in Arabic the form of the main verb in the past after the negation word ' ' is identical with its form in the present. . it . . Let us examine the source sentence and what the students have come up with. I didn't see him before at now. o o o o o o I don't see him before. they produce strange-sounding sentences in English. I didn't see him yet. Another situation where students struggle to produce good translation is when they have to render simple questions into English. o The teacher gave us a lot of homework and asked us why don't we prepare the lesson completely. When students are required to translate Arabic sentences whose English counterparts express the present perfect tense in the negative. I didn't see him ever. The difficulty becomes more serious when the students have to deal with complex tenses like the present perfect. Let us have a close look at the following Arabic sentence with some of the students' English translations. Though the equivalent question in English should be in the simple present tense.
How you feel in the hungry? No. or perhaps because the Arabic question sounds like an English question in the present progressive tense. thanks on question. Are you feeling hungry? No. thank you for your question. o o o o o he must have been at home right now. I think that he is in the house now. Let us have a look at the source sentence and some of the students' translation attempts. . . thank you on your question. perhaps because. . A close look at the source question along with the students' translations will tell us more about this point. question formation in English is a little difficult for second language learners. o o o o Are you feel hungry? No. Another area of difficulty for students as far as tense is concerned seems to be in the translation of the Arabic expression ' ' followed by the present form of the main verb. He is surely at home right now. Did you feel hungry? No. I am sure that he is in the house now. It is inevitable to be in the house now. Some students seemed to have confused the present tense with the past. I have typed the translations of the students with their spelling and grammatical mistakes for the sake of accuracy in reproducing their translations. and some other students tried to translate it by explaining what it means. thank you for your question.seems that students have failed to recognize the tense implied in the source question. in general.
For this reason. This is illustrated by the mistakes that some Arab students in the present study have made in their translation of the following sentence: . Arab students are very likely to make grammatical mistakes in this area when they translate from Arabic into English. o I had seen the boy playing in the street. 3. while English does not use the definite article 'the' with abstract nouns unless they are specified. In addition. o I see the boy playing in the street.2. To better illustrate this point.The translation of the past in Arabic into English seems to be of some difficulty for some Arab students because in Arabic the same past form of the main verb can be used as an equivalent to more than one aspect of different tenses in English. let us have a look at one of the Arabic sentences and the English translations produced by some Arab students.2 Articles In Arabic there is only one article which is equivalent to the definite article 'the' in English. Arabic uses the definite article with abstract nouns even if they are used in a general sense. o I have seen the boy plying in the street. whereas the indefinite articles 'a and an' in English do not have any counterpart in Arabic. . Some of the Arab students of the present study seemed to have forgotten this difference between Arabic and English.
it seems that some Arab students apply the Arabic rule to these names when they have to translate such words from Arabic into .. From these translations we can infer that students are aware of the definite and indefinite articles in English. which is equivalent to the definite article in In Arabic. I am sure he is in the home now. o o o o o The science is necessary from the childhood until the grave. whereas in English we use no article with these names. some other Arab students use the articles in English indiscriminately without taking into consideration the fact that grammatical rules have exceptions. Let us examine the following Arabic sentence and the attempts made by students at translating it into English. o o o o He must be in house now. He should be at the home now. Ask a science from the birth to a grave. Ask for science from cradle to grave. some Arab students seem to forget such exceptions when they translate from Arabic into English. Ask knowledge from cradle to grave. However. we use ' English. However. For example. we do not use any article in certain fixed or idiomatic expressions such as 'at home'. '. but they are not sure where and how to use them. He must be in home now. You should search for knowledge from the birth to the end. . Moreover. with names of religions.
The following example taken from one of the translation exams given to some Arab students illustrates this point. the Arabic preposition ' ' can be translated into English as about . . for . . of as the following examples show: o He asked about you. This may be correct for some cases but not for all. For example. 3.English. o He was absent from the meeting. o The world must understand the Islam peace religion and good. o The world should understand that the Islam is religion peace and fear. Because Arabic and English belong to two different families. . from . / o My brother is independent of my father financially. Some Arab students who have been given some translation tests failed to supply the correct proposition for the English translations perhaps because it . . nor do they use them in the same way. it is axiomatic that they do not have the same prepositions. o The world must understand that the Islam is a peaceful religion and fairness.2. they may feel tempted to translate Arabic prepositions into equivalent prepositions in English.3 Prepositions Prepositions are another grammatical category that presents an enormous challenge not only to Arab students learning English as a second language but also to all English learners. When Arab students who learn English as a second language have to translate into English.
which. they rely extensively on bilingual dictionaries.did not cross their minds that prepositions differ from language to language. o The great increasing on smokers' numbers which happen in the latest quarter of twentieth century considered to be a cause of a person death from each ten adults or one person from five men. The teacher asked the student why he did late about lesson. give only possible different meanings of the foreign words in isolation. whereas monolingual dictionaries explain meaning and provide other linguistic information including the right preposition to use. The teacher asked the student why he was late from class. . . . Another interesting example that better shows how some Arab students fail to make good use of monolingual dictionaries to choose the right preposition used with the noun 'increase' is the following source sentence with some translation attempts made by some Arab students. The teacher asked the student why he lated at lesson. Let us examine the following Arabic sentence with its various translations produced by some Arab students. o o o o The teacher asked the student why you are late on the lesson. Although students are allowed to use monolingual and bilingual dictionaries in the translation exercises and exams. o The increase of smokers that happened in the last quarter of the century is considered the reason in the death of one of every ten adults or one in every five men. o It considered the big increase at the numbers of smoked which happened at the last quarter at the century it is the cause at killing one of ten adults or one of five men. in most cases.
. the police was cutching the thieves that their faces were covered by masks. some students of the present study have rendered that expression differently. which .2. Yet. Let us consider the following Arabic sentence with the English translations produced by some Arab students. o In each time we support the human rights and major freedoms. o At every time we support the human rights and the main freedom we stopped at the terrorism face. . we stand against the terrorism. o In every time we support human rights and the main freedoms then we face the terrorism. o When Ahmad inter his apartment. 3. . A good example is the time expression in Arabic ' ' which is equivalent to 'every/each time' in English.4 Relative Pronouns Another problem that is faced by Arab students when they translate from Arabic into English is the choice of correct relative pronouns in English.It is worth mentioning that some Arab students do not know that some prepositions in Arabic should be left out in the English translation. whom or that'. A few students of the present study find it very difficult to supply the correct relative pronoun 'whose' for the phrase ' ' perhaps because they mistakenly think that ' ' is equivalent to the English relative pronouns 'who .
the police was attack thieves whom covered them faces with rubber mask. Another group of students would drop the relative pronoun and use the redundant object pronoun which the relative pronoun is supposed to replace. Let us have a look at both the source sentences and the target translations produced by some Arab students. o When Ahmad enter his flat. the police was touching (blank) which him faces was covering by masks. o The most important thing that we should mention it is that South Africa considered the most poor country. . . the police was resist steals who their faces are covering with masks. o When Ahmad entered his house. .o When Ahmad inter his apartment. there are some important points in their relationship we must define it to be successful teacher. o Despite of the role of the teacher and student seems to be easy and clear. . drop the relative pronoun or use both the relative pronoun and the pronoun which it is supposed to replace. but there are some points between them should be defined to be successful teacher. The reason why they choose to do that might be their resort to literal translation from Arabic into English without taking into account the specificity of the target language. o Even the role of teacher and student look like easy and clear. .
Annan said. there is no equivalent verb in Arabic to 'be' when it is used as a main verb in the present tense in the sentence. He must at home now. the English equivalent for the Arabic word ' ' as far as the basic lexical meaning is concerned is . during his meeting with UN officials in New York. 3. . can occur without verbs. For example. unlike English ones. Let us look at the following Arabic sentences with the translations suggested by some Arab students. The reason behind this omission could be the fact that Arabic sentences. . . some Arab students often supply English equivalents for Arabic words based on their meaning in isolation without considering either the way these equivalents are used or the other lexical items used with them. He younger than me. Besides. .2. The teacher asked the student why he late from class. that all UN family ready to help people to rerun their life.3.5 Verb 'be' One of the basic elements of the sentence that some Arab students leave out when they translate from their mother tongue into English is the verb 'be'. For these reasons.3 Lexical problems As far as lexical difficulties are concerned. some Arab students drop 'be' from the target text without realizing that by choosing to do so they have omitted the most important constituent of the English sentence.
the government should sign international greement immediatly to decrease the using of tobaco. o In age. I have typed the students' translations as they really are with all the mistakes they have made so as to be honest to both their performances and my research. we notice that the students have tried to supply lexical items in the target sentence for all the words in the source sentence without taking into account the fact that lexical meaning functions differently from language to language. However. o He is younger than I am at the age. he is smaller than me. but this meaning is not correct when the reference is to age. . . . the redundant phrase 'in age or at the age' should not be used as lexical equivalents to the Arabic word ' '. the English adjective 'younger' is associated with age.'smaller'. o His age is smaller than me. o If we want to stop smoking costum in the future. From these translations. Let us compare the following Arabic sentence to its translations as suggested by some Arab students. Let us have a look at the source sentence and its English translations as produced by some Arab students. and therefore. Another interesting example of lexical mismatches in the two ' into English as languages is the translation of the Arabic word ' 'custom' in a context which requires 'habit' instead.
Because of this disparity.o If we want to take off the smoking hapit in the future the government must sign Some Arab students focus on lexical meaning without paying attention to other grammatical considerations such as parts of speech and context. o After his meeting with the U. they set pen to paper without checking the validity of the meaning of these equivalents in a monolingual dictionary.N house is ready to help the people to return their life. Arabic and English have different morphological systems.4. Morphological problems On the morphological level. 3. o In subsequent to his meeting with executives of the United Nations in New York. The Arabic word ' ' whose equivalent in English is 'thief' presents some challenge to some Arab . o In the remainder of his meeting with officers of the United States in New York Annan said that all of the family of the United States are ready to help people in giving back their live.N responsibles in New York Annan said whole U. let us focus on the different possible equivalents for the underlined Arabic words. Anan said that United Nations family ready to help people to rebuild their life. For our purpose here. . some Arab students may make mistakes in relation to some inflectional morphemes in English when they translate from Arabic into English. Let us consider the following Arabic sentence along with the different translations suggested by some Arab students. Once they consult a bilingual dictionary and it gives them the basic lexical equivalents for the source words.
' as suggested by some Arab I have used the translations done by the students as they are without changing any grammatical mistakes made by the students.students because its plural form in English. I will glide far away from humans because they are very unmerciful. o If I were a bird I would fly far away from people because they became no kindness and stick hearts. o If I am a bird. o If I was a bird I would fly away from people because they became no mercy and mean. This kind of morphological discrepancy between Arabic and English may confuse some Arab students when they carry out translation into English.. I flew far away of the people because they became without mercy and hard the heart. they are adjectives and should have adjectives as their corresponding equivalents. Let us have a look at some English translations of the Arabic term ' students: . in reality. Let us consider the following Arabic sentence with some of the English translations attempted by some Arab students: . o If I were as the bird. which is 'thieves'. the police was arreste the theifs Another problem pertaining to English morphology as contrasted with that of Arabic is the fact that some words in Arabic sound like nouns in English while. is not formed by simply adding the inflectional morpheme 's' to it as some students would be tempted to think.. When Ahmad entered his apartment. .
o Seek for knowledge from born to death.ly' which is added to an adjective to form an adverb of manner applies to all adjectives alike. A good example of such a case is the following Arabic sentence along with the English translations attempted by some Arab students: . Some other Arab students think that the English derivative morpheme '. o The boy runs fastly.Other situations include the erroneous translation of Arabic nouns into English adjectives in which case morphological rules in English are broken. Let us consider the Arabic sentence with the translations produced by some Arab students: . died/the old'. when they translate Arabic words that sound like adverbs in English they apply the above-mentioned derivative morpheme without paying attention to exceptions. o Ask the learning from the youth to the old. Some Arab students translated the Arabic words ' ' whose respective equivalents in English are 'birth. o The boy ran fastly. death' as 'born. . o Seek the knowledge from birth to died. However.
but because the aim of the study is to identify the recurring problems. only three kinds of linguistic difficulties have been analyzed in some depth. In doing so.3. relative pronouns and the verb 'be' when used as a main verb in the sentence.5. what determines meaning is context rather than dictionaries or lexicons. some Arab students seem to struggle with the translation of plural nouns and adverbs into correct equivalents in English because these two categories involve the . articles. the study shows that Arab students most often struggle in areas such as tense. As regards grammatical problems. most of the mistakes made in these grammatical areas stem from the fact that some Arab students apply the grammatical rules of the source language to the sentences of the target language. prepositions. These are grammatical. Conclusion To conclude. On the morphological level. As the study has shown. In other words. it can be stated that linguistic problems facing Arab students when they translate into English could be multi-faceted. they seem to ignore the fact that Arabic and English have widely different sets of grammatical rules because they belong to two completely different families. It also seems that some Arab students focus only on the basic lexical meaning of English equivalents to some Arabic words. the study has clearly shown that basic lexical meaning alone is not enough to produce correct translation. lexical and morphological. This can be true for some specific cases. but not for the majority of English vocabulary items. On the lexical level.
. some other students mistakenly translate Arabic nouns into adjectives in English because some Arabic nouns may morphologically sound or look like English adjectives or vice versa. Such confusion might arise from the wrong application of morphological rules of the target or foreign language because new foreign language learners and translators are often under the assumption that rules are absolute and have no exceptions.addition or use of some inflectional and derivational morphemes in the target language. In addition.
Another cultural problem which seems to persist in translating from Arabic into English is collocation. In fact. To do justice to scholarly research in general and my present study in particular. These students may provide the surface literal meaning in English for the Arabic proverb. The chapter draws heavily upon the translations produced by some Arab students from two different Arab countries namely Saudi Arabia and Syria. The sample sentences and translations included in this chapter are from written tests and exams I gave to some Arab students taking up the translation module on the undergraduate level some time ago. but that does not do the trick. find Arabic proverbs too hard to translate into English proverbs. It examines the most common cultural problems which face Arab students when they translate from Arabic into English. collocations are common to almost all . I have typed the students' translations as they really appear on the exam answer sheets.1 Introduction This chapter sheds light on the second part of the practical side of the dissertation. but some Arab students. The first recurring cultural problem that seems to confound a great number of Arab students in their translation into English is the rendering of Arabic proverbs into English. Fortunately.Chapter four Cultural problems facing Arab students in translating from Arabic into English 4. who do not seem to read about English proverbs. some common Arabic proverbs do have equivalent proverbs in English.
Arab students may not be able to render some Arabic collocations into correct English collocations because they are not native speakers of English nor is the English culture their culture. The difficulty lies in finding equivalent idioms in English to Arabic idioms. For the same reason. What is difficult for all Arabic translators and not only for Arab students is to translate Arabic metaphors into English and yet maintain the same effect on the target audience as that on the source audience. Arab students specializing in English do not commonly use idiomatic expressions in English because unfortunately most Arab students are not aware of this cultural aspect of the English language. The last cultural problem to be discussed in this chapter is the translation of Arabic idioms into English. Arabic is said to be one of the most flowery languages which favour rhetoric and figures of speech. In fact. The third kind of cultural difficulty that faces Arab students when they translate into English is metaphor. It is interesting that both Arabic and English are idiomatic languages and some Arabic idioms can easily be rendered into equivalent English idioms provided that the translator is well-acquainted with English idioms and how they are used. but it seems that second language learners and translators are not as good as first language learners at the use of collocations. .languages of the world.
One interesting example that clearly shows the difficulty of translating an Arabic proverb into an equivalent proverb in English is the following Arabic proverb with some suggested translations produced by some Arab students: . the present study focuses on the case of proverbial equivalence in both Arabic and English in order to show how lack of cultural background in the target language impedes translation. . Nothing strikes iron but iron. Everything is handled by its own tools. In case there is no English equivalent to a proverb in Arabic. Sometimes the meaning of a certain proverb in a particular culture and language is echoed in another different culture and language. For practical reasons. I have typed the students' translations as they appeared on their exam test sheets. nothing breaks the iron but iron. the translator who is supposed to do the task should first check in the English culture whether there is any equivalent proverb to the Arabic one. When a particular proverb whether in standard or spoken Arabic has to be translated into English. o o o o o o The iron cuts iron. Every problem has it's solution.4. Strength needs strength to break it down.2 Proverbs Proverbs are a common feature that exists in all cultures of the world. the translator can suggest his or her own translation which must then be based on the implied or intended meaning of that proverb in the source culture.
. Treate people the same way that you want them to treate you. into English is a formidable task especially for new learners of English such as Arab students. o o o o o Deal with people as you want them to deal with you. Deal with people as you like them to deal with you.These attempts may express. to a considerable extent. to expose themselves to the culturally sensitive aspects of English most prominent of which are proverbs. Another Arabic proverb whose translation into English seems to present another challenge to some Arab students is the following one.3 Collocations According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (2005:293). or other proverbs related to other cultures. though they clearly reflect the students' lack of cultural background in the target language. a collocation is: I have used the translations produced by students with all the mistakes they contain for honesty and truth's sake. 4. It is clear that the translation of Arabic proverbs. both Arab and non-Arab alike. Trate people as you like to be trated. the meaning of the source proverb. Do with people like what you like they do with you. Yet it is the responsibility of English learners and translators. Let us examine this proverb along with the attempts some Arab students have made at rendering it into English: .
However. they differ from language to language and from culture to culture. Besides. make mistakes in the use of collocations in English. Some Arab students could not translate these Arabic collocations into equivalent collocations in English because they lack the cultural knowledge of English collocations and how they work. that happens very often and more frequently than would happen by chance: 'resounding success' and 'crying shame' are English collocations. though the equivalence in English is both simple and easy. Collocations are a universal element featuring in all cultures of the world. to whom Arab students are no exception. For this reason. . One of the most recurring problems some Arab students face in some translation tasks is the rendering of the Arabic phrase ' ' into English. The problem becomes very exasperating when Arab students have to translate from Arabic into English. o He must be at the home now.A combination of words in a language. o He must be at the house now. collocations do not follow any grammatical rules and should be memorized as they are. English language learners. o He must be in the home now. Let us have a look at the Arabic sentence in which this phrase occurs and some Arab students' attempts at translating it: . Some other collocations in Arabic which can be translated into equivalent collocations in English are the Arabic collocations ' ' ' and '.
An interesting example of how some Arab students do not make use of monolingual dictionaries when they translate into English is the following sentence that some students could not translate properly because of their total reliance on bilingual dictionaries: . because it is and unfollowing for the academic rules. o If we want to stop the killer smoking hapit in the future. most bilingual dictionaries exclude. and examples which.Accordingly. o If we want to no smoke in future. the students produced strange-sounding English sentences which native speakers of English can easily identify as poor English translation.. unfortunately. o If we want to leave the cigarite. idioms. o Cheated started personal problems between teachers and student because it will roind the trust and break univarsty rules.. o Cheating causes problems specially with the teacher and the students. Let us examine the source sentence and the different translation attempts made by some Arab students: . . because it breaks the trust and it breaks the universitical systems. o Cheating makes spicial problems with the teacher and the students. The reason why some Arab students make such mistakes in translating from Arabic into English is that most of them look up the Arabic words only in Arabic/English dictionaries without checking the words they have chosen in a monolingual standard English dictionary which gives other important cultural information such as collocations. ..
In Arabic. More importantly. The reason for either situation is apparently cultural. When Arab translators have to translate these metaphors into English. metaphors present images of two different objects or draw comparisons between two similar or dissimilar objects. 4. The English collocation that matches this Arabic collocation is 'the overwhelming/vast majority'. a big number of Arab students seem to be unaware of that English collocation. then translators should focus on and portray the image behind the metaphor .4 Metaphors Metaphors are another cultural challenge for most translators because the language used in them is literary or poetic. though their translation is a valid one. '. Arabic and English both seem to favour metaphors to some degree. though it is one of the most common idiomatic usages in English.Another well-known example of an Arabic collocation which has an equivalent collocation in English is ' '. Accordingly. Almost all of them came up with 'most' as a possible equivalent to the Arabic collocation ' . they have to look for equivalent metaphors in the English culture before they venture their own translation. If the target culture does not have equivalent metaphors. some languages have a tendency for metaphors while other languages do not seem to favour the use of metaphors. However. most of the Arab students on whose performance the present study is based have failed to provide the correct collocation.
Though the metaphor in Arabic is both simple and clear. Sometimes. In addition. 4. some Arab students found it difficult to express in English. The reason for this difficulty lies in the fact that idioms are fixed expressions whose meaning does not necessarily depend on the meaning of their individual words. idioms feature in almost all languages.5 Idioms Idioms are another cultural element which is hard to render from one language into another. idioms should be treated and translated as units or entities that carry special meaning. perhaps because they focused on the translation of the individual words rather than the image behind the words. translators who translate from Arabic into English .which they will translate. o Terror become more savage in every time we stress on their collar area. o More stress we make on terrorism more atrocity and violent. idioms in a particular language have equivalent idioms in another language. Accordingly. Therefore. Arabic is well known for the use of idioms even in everyday speech and so is English. and it is the responsibility of translators to find equivalents to source idioms in the target language before they offer their own translation of the idioms. One example of how an Arabic metaphor has been mistranslated by some Arab students into English is the following: .
.might come across idiomatic expressions in Arabic. One example of how the lack of cultural background in English hinders translation from Arabic into English is the following Arabic sentence with some translation attempts made by some Arab students: . but they might not be able to render these expressions into English idioms if they are not well acquainted with the English culture. Let us have a look at the could not translate into English. As the translations show. Another Arabic idiom. is ' Arabic sentence in which the above-mentioned idiom occurs and some of the Arab students' attempts at rendering it into English: . the Arab students who have produced these translations are not familiar with the English idioms 'from the cradle to the grave or from birth to death' which can fit in as equivalents to the Arabic idiom ' '. o o o o If we wanted to quet the deadly habit smoking If we want to stop the killing hapit of smoking If we are decided take off smoke happit If we want to leave the killed habit of smoking Some other Arab students went about translating the Arabic expression ' ' into English in different ways but not idiomatically. keen to knowledge when you are baby until you are old man. though in English . which some Arab students '. ask for science everytime. Ask for science from begining to the end. o o o o you need learning from you are young till you will be die..
6 Conclusion To sum up what has been discussed earlier. such an idiom is easy to handle. Another Arabic idiom which has an equivalent idiom in English is ' '. it can be safely said that some Arab students face some cultural difficulties when they translate from Arabic into English because of their conspicuous lack of cultural background in English. Some translation attempts made by some Arab students include 'in place of/instead of/in somebody's name' which are possible translations. 4. For some Arab translators who are familiar with English idioms and how they are used. Let us have a look at the source idiom and some of the translations produced by some Arab students: . The English idiom which corresponds in meaning to this idiom in Arabic is 'to turn a blind eye to something'. some Arab students found this idiom difficult to translate into English. o He said the world do not focus on this side.its equivalent is 'on behalf of somebody/on somebody's behalf'. On the other hand. o He point that whole world do not look at the violence people face. they could have come to grips with the most common idioms used in English. so they produced very literal translations. Had the students had a profound knowledge of the English culture. The translation of Arabic proverbs into English seems to be a challenging task for some Arab students whose knowledge of .
Since most Arab students tend to translate literally. Idioms pose another formidable obstacle for some Arab students when they translate from Arabic into English because of their unpredictable structure and meaning. . and therefore it is the responsibility of translators to find equivalent idioms in both languages. Metaphors prove to be difficult to transfer from one language into another because the images they create vary from culture to culture. though Arabic and English have some well-known proverbs in common. both Arabic and English display a tendency for idiomatic expressions. Surprisingly enough. but these could be the focus of other research studies in the future. Another area of difficulty for some Arab students is the translation of Arabic collocations into English. There might be other cultural problems which hinder translation from Arabic into English.the English culture is very limited. there is a big possibility that they misrepresent the source images in the target language on account of their lack of cultural background in the target language. some Arab students are not aware of the fact that collocations cannot be translated literally into a foreign target language as this may then give rise to strangesounding utterances in the target language. Again.
translation from Arabic into English poses some linguistic and cultural challenges for Arab students who learn English as a foreign language. some Arab students seem to struggle with the translation of plural nouns and adverbs . It has become clear that the most frequent linguistic difficulties facing Arab students are grammatical. the study has clearly shown that basic lexical meaning alone is not enough to produce a correct translation. most of the mistakes made in these grammatical areas result from the fact that some Arab students apply the grammatical rules of the source language to the sentences of the target language. lexical and morphological. prepositions. the study has clearly shown that Arab students most often struggle in areas such as tense. As regards grammatical problems. More importantly. relative pronouns and the verb 'be' when used as a main verb in the sentence. For the sake of narrowing the scope of the research. On the lexical level. articles. Similarly.Chapter Five 5. Conclusion From the above. it is clear that the translators who carry out translation into their native language surpass their fellow translators who translate into a second or foreign language because the former are more naturally equipped with both the linguistic and cultural knowledge of the target language than the latter. a few linguistic and cultural problems have been closely analyzed and examined. On the morphological level.
In addition. as the sample translations have clearly shown. Metaphors prove to be difficult to transfer . In addition. but their equivalents may not necessarily collocate in English. The translation of Arabic proverbs into English seems to be a daunting task for some Arab students whose knowledge of the English culture is very limited. arises from the wrong application of morphological rules of the target or foreign language because new foreign language learners are often under the assumption that rules are absolute and have no exceptions. Again. These are proverbs. some Arab students are not aware of the fact that collocations cannot be translated literally into a foreign target language as this may then give rise to strange-sounding utterances in the target language. Such confusion. collocations. some other students mistakenly translate Arabic nouns into adjectives in English.into correct equivalents in English because these two categories involve the addition or use of some inflectional and derivational morphemes in the target language. the translation tests and exams given to some Arab students have yielded only four cultural areas where some Arab students struggle very hard. In relation to cultural difficulties facing Arab students when they translate from Arabic into English. perhaps because some Arabic nouns may morphologically sound or look like English adjectives or vice versa. some Arab students seem to forget the fact that some words in Arabic collocate with each other. metaphors and idioms.
which have been highlighted and discussed earlier.from one language into another because the images they create differ from culture to culture. by no means. the present project serves to open the way for future research in this area or a similar one. It only aims at identifying and analyzing the most frequent problems which the sample students have run into when they translated from Arabic into English. a thorough analysis of the linguistic and cultural difficulties encountered by all Arab students. the problems. . For the sake of disseminating knowledge. Besides. Accordingly. though Arabic and English are both idiomatic languages and share many idioms with each other. the research findings could be made public either by publishing the research in the form of a thesis or as part of a journal. are the ones which the corpus of the study has displayed. there are other linguistic and cultural difficulties in translating from Arabic into English. book or other mediums of presenting it to the public so that benefit is maximized. In this way. Certainly. the study is. If Arab students and researchers into the area which the present study has investigated have access to the findings which the study has come up with. However. most Arab students fail to translate Arabic idioms into English idioms because they are not familiar with English idioms. the study will hopefully make a valuable contribution to translation theory and practice. but these can be the focus of other future research.
3 Prepositions 1.5 Verb 'be' 55 % 69 % 80 % 70 % 70 % 70 % 55 % 50 % 46 % 2. Metaphors 30 % 4. Grammatical 1.4 Relative Pronouns 1.1 Tense 1. Lexical 3. Idioms % . Proverbs 2.Appendix i Statistical table of the percentages of the various problems facing the sample students in their translation from Arabic into English Total Samples (200) Percentage % Linguistic Problems 1. Collocations 45 % 60 % 40 % 3. Morphological Cultural Problems 1.2 Articles 1.
. . ." ": . .Appendix ii Translation Midterm Test (2006) Third Year English Students Translate the following sentences into English: . Examiner: Omar Jabak . . . . .
. Examiner: Mr. .Appendix iii Translation Midterm Test (2006) Third Year English Students Translate the following sentences into English: . . . . . . . . . Omar Jabak .
. . . . ." " " . . .Appendix iv Translation Midterm Test 2nd Term 2006 Translate the following sentences into English: " . Omar Jabak . . Examiner: Mr.
. ": ". .Appendix v Translation Exam Third Year English Students Translate the following sentences into English: . ": ". Examiner: Mr. . . . Omar Jabak . . ": .
. Examiner: Mr. ": .Appendix vi Translation Mid-term Test (2006) Third Year English Students Translate the following sentences into English: . ": ". . . . . Omar Jabak . .
. Examiner: Mr. . . .Appendix vii Translation Test ( Arabic/English). .2nd Term 2007 First Year English Students Translate the following sentences into English: . . . . . . . . Omar Jabak . . . . . .
The Translator as Writer. (in R. E 2001. Routledge: London & New York. Ed. Routledge: London & New York. M 1995 In Other Words: A coursebook on translation. P 1981/1988 Approaches to Translation. Newmark. M 2006 'Epilogue: Metaphors for the Translator'.The Potentials and Limitations. Jerome Publishing: Manchester. St. Jacobson. in: L Venuti (ed). in: S Bassnett (ed). in: L Venuti (ed). Erroll. Dickins J et al 2002 Thinking Arabic Translation: A course in translation method: Arabic to English. Hanne. K 2000 Translation Criticism.Bibliography Baker. R 2001 'On Linguistic Aspects of Translation'. Routledge: London & New York. The Translation Studies Reader.). 'Principles of Correspondence'. Nida. The Translation Studies Reader. Continuum: London & New York. . Prentice Hall: Hemel Hempstead. Reiss. Routledge: London & New York.
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