Relationship Between Translation and Linguistics Seminar Paper

Pages: 4 (1211 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Communication - Language

Translation Linguistic

The Challenges of Arabic to English Translation

The need for effective Arabic-to-English translation has never been greater. With the barriers to international business being reduced all the time, the need for improved cross-cultural understanding growing greater all the time and the call for well-conceived educational resources increasing all the time, it is important to resolve some of the challenges that have prevented effective translation. Better linguistic translation is an important building block toward better Western-Arabic relations. Still, achieving this is an uphill climb because in spite of the demand for translation between the two languages, they originate from two entirely distinct linguistic traditions. Certainly, an immediate sign of the challenge in translation is that the two languages also originate from entirely distinct alphabet systems. As a result of these critical differences, there are distinct grammatical, semantic and syntactic differences in how English and Arabic are constructed. This presents a challenge to translators, which is addressed in the discussion here below.


The source at provides an instructive point of entry into the discussion, indicating that there are some inherent obstacles to translation that derive from differences in grammar. According to the source, "experience shows that one of the primary mistakes committed by the student of translation is their presupposition that English grammar and Arabic grammar can translate each other in a straightforward way." (Academic Supervisor, p. 1)Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Seminar Paper on Relationship Between Translation and Linguistics Assignment

This presents a particular challenge where the translation of non-technical texts is concerned. Poetic verse and prose offer great difficulty to a linguistic tradition which, according to the article by Enani (2006), did not author its own plays until the 20th century. This was also the first time that translations were made of Shakespearean works. The result would be translations that were either far too literal and largely missed the charm, humor, wordplay and subtlety of the original texts or, in the case of the definitive Arabic MacBeth translation, versions that were too liberal in their interpretations to capture the true intention of the source texts. Indeed, according to the article by Enani (2006), "The earliest extant Shakespearean translation dates as far back as 1900, namely Mohamed Iffat's free -- perhaps too free -- translation of Macbeth."

The Iffat translation attempts to recreate the original English verse in Arabic and finds limited success carrying forward the same dramatic intonations that make the source material so important to the traditions both of literature and theatre. A substantial challenge here is not only in bridging the gap of linguistic purpose by finding a way to convey the sentiments couched in the source language but also of finding ways to utilize the target language that may themselves be somewhat outmoded. As Enani points out, one of the great uphill challenges for the MacBeth translation is that its language is that of the kings and courtiers of Europe's middle ages. Thus, the same challenge is incumbent upon the Arabic translation. As Enani indicates, "reading or listening to the lines of a king, a military commander or a Roman potentate delivering a speech, the audience expect the oratorical tones of an ancient Arab, as the language was far removed from what I have referred to as Modern Standard Arabic, the language developed by the press from the 19th century onwards and used in writing and in learning." (Enani, p. 1)

This means that translating texts that derive from the rich English linguistic tradition of theatre, poetry and prose will often require the employ of language that is neither familiar to the reader or audience nor necessarily native to the translator. In the case of the MacBeth translation, we may presume… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Relationship Between Translation and Linguistics" Seminar Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Relationship Between Translation and Linguistics.  (2013, April 7).  Retrieved October 1, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Relationship Between Translation and Linguistics."  7 April 2013.  Web.  1 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Relationship Between Translation and Linguistics."  April 7, 2013.  Accessed October 1, 2020.