Translation Problems

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    Translation Problems

    (Arabic into English & vice versa)

    1-     lexical and stylistic differences between English and Arabic

    He came every day to sleep with me.
    Since many years ago,
    Believe or don’t believe it.

    These examples would be better written as:
              He spent every night with me
              Many years ago
              Believe it or not.

    2-     Semantic and Equivalence Problems

    For instance, (West Bank) as in:

    S.L.: The Israeli troops entered two West Bank Towns yesterday.
    Faulty translation: Dakhalat al qowat alisrailia madinatay al bank algharbi amss.  (The Israeli troops entered two towns of the west bank yesterday.)

    Improved translation: The Israeli troops entered two West Bank Towns yesterday.

    –      Rissalat raiss alwozarae al britani wadiha fi hada alkhitab.
    * The letter is clear in this discourse of the British prime minister.

    In the second example, the dictionary gives two translations for the word ‘rissala’ – ‘letter’ or ‘message’ and two translations for the word ‘’khitab’ – ‘discourse’ or ‘speech’, but the translator chose the wrong words.

    An improved translation would be:

              * The message of the British prime minister is clear in this speech.

    Source:,  January 26th, 2015.

    3-    Cultural dimensions of the environment from which the SL text is taken

    There is a strong relationship between culture and translation, because translation is the means by which people get access to others’ cultures.   It is worth mentioning that  differences among cultures represent an area of difficulty, the degree of which depends on whether the languages involved are close or remote culturally.  Proverbs are included among the cultural elements that cause difficulty in translation.  Overcoming such a difficulty requires a considerable effort on the part of the translator, who should at least try to provide a TL translation that is equivalent both in meaning and use to the SL phrase.

    4-    Untranslatability

    Terms such as سحور ، صلاة الاستسقاء، عقيقة    have lexical gaps resulting from cultural differences, so it is difficult to translate them into English.  Therefore, the translator keeps these terms as they are in the source language and should provide explanation in the target language.

    5-    The translator

    The translator’s role depends on various factors such as their mental disposition, experience, the congeniality (or uncongenially) of the textual input, the correlation (or non-correlation) of the degree of difficulty of the pertinent text to be translated and the translator’s competence level.

    Source: Adel Salem Bahameed,,    January 2015

    Extra References:,  January 2015 , January 26 2015.

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