October 8, 2022

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The Real Challenge of Arabic to English Translation

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Arabic is one of the oldest and most spoken languages in the world. It is the official language in more than 25 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Qatar, Morocco, Jordan and more. It has influence across many other languages such as Turkish, Persian, and Urdu. It is rich and complex language. Translating content between Arabic and English is full of challenges. Translators providing Legal translation Dubai between Arabic and English face difficulties such as grammar differences, cultural preferences, and style and tone. Also, Arabic is written and read from right to left and English uses left-to-right formatting.

A study published in October 2015, highlighting problems Translation students at Saudi University face when translating Arabic into English, found that there are at least 4 major difficulties of Arabic to English translation.  The researcher listed it as follows:

  1. Sentence structure in Arabic is complex.
  2. Sentences are often too long.
  3. Arabic is a poetic language and terms and words can have several meanings
  4. An Arabic phrase is complex and ambiguous in terms of syntax, due to order of words and content.
  5. There are some Arabic letters that have no equivalent in English.

In 2013, a paper published in the International Journal of English Linguistics revealed that graduate students frequently encounter problems when translating between Arabic and English languages including:

  • Ambiguity of and unfamiliarity with some cultural expressions.
  • Lack of knowledge of translation techniques and strategies.

Some of the difficulties face translators of English to Arabic legal translation Dubai include:

 

Arabic Alphabet

The Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters, and some of these have no equivalent in English. For example, Arabic language includes the letter (خ), which has no equivalent in English and is substituted by the two letters (Kh). In Arabic translation in Dubai, translators have to select the letters that best resemble the sounds of the Arabic ones.

 

Arabic Dialects

Arabic language is officially used in more than 25 countries, thus it is spoken and written in different dialects depending on the country or region. The major Arabic dialects include Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Gulf Arabic, and Maghrebi Arabic. These various dialects leave inexperienced translators confused.

 

Arabic has a complex Nature 

Arabic is a rich and complex language. Translators face challenges finding suitable equivalent terminology while providing Arabic translations.  Capitalization used in English for names and at the beginning of the sentences is another challenge. In Arabic there are no capital letters and this can be little bite confusing for translators to understand the context.

Alsun legal translation in Bur Dubai provides high-quality legal translation from Arabic into English and vice versa. Contact us for more information.

 

Conclusion

Translation into Arabic is full of challenges each translator may face his/her own challenges.  However, translation into Arabic requires special preparation and each translator should be aware of the target audience and the Arabic style to provide accurate translations.