Thinking Arabic Translation

One reviewer said:

Thinking Arabic Translation is an outstanding book for anyone attempting to make a coherent, cohesive translation from Arabic to English. It outlines the continuum that exists between an extremely literal translation (interlinear translation) and a free translation. In the former case, much of the Arabic grammar of the source text comes over into the translation creating an extreme source language bias so that the translation does not really respect English grammar. In a totally free translation, there is maximum bias from the English language to the extent, for example, that an Arabic proverb might be replaced by a completely different English proverb with the same general meaning. Thus, the colloquial Arabic proverb, “What passed died” (illi faat maat) might be replaced with “Let bygones be bygones.” Somewhere in between these two extremes is a more balanced translation. In addition, Dickins discusses such topics as translation loss, the need sometimes to translate by omitting words, or by adding them. One of the problems I have encountered myself in translating is the tendency for many Arabic sentences to be far longer than the average English sentence, and generally lacking in much punctuation. This often requires sentence splitting. Dickins gives examples of how this can be done. Dickin’s book is full of Arabic texts with examples of how they have been translated with all the issues involved. He even points out the ways in which Arabic and English typically organize their ideas differently, and the problems this creates in translating. It is, therefore, sometimes necessary to use textual restructuring. Really an outstanding book that I have found very useful.


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