The Challenges of Translating Arabic to English Language

The Challenges of Translating Arabic to English Language

Imagine the world with no English language. As a foreign visitor or businessman abroad, this pose a great problem. How will you communicate with the locals? How can you understand what the people around you are saying? How will you read signs and directions? How would you sign a document without understanding its context? Luckily, there’s a universal language for everyone – English.

Though, majority of countries, especially non-English speaking nations, are still using their native language as main method of communication. This is where translation comes to the rescue. But even with translation, it still has its own share of loopholes.

Arabic is a complex and intricate language. Especially if you plan to translate Arabic contents into English language or vice versa, it requires utmost knowledge and paramount experience. Translation problems usually arises when there is no standardize form of communication. Although Modern Standard Arabic or MSA is expected to be used at all times, there are linguistic and cultural differences that needs to be considered.

In Qatar for example, there are regional dialects and classical Arabic that makes translation complicated. For example, some Arabic words have no direct translation to English. Like in the case of “تيمم tayammum” or the Islamic act of using purified sand or dust for ritual washing which doesn’t have a direct translation to English language.

While it’s true that there are translation machines available right now, still there are problems facing automation. The Amin Ali Al Mubarak of the Jazan University in Saudi Arabia even conducted a study when using translation machines to translate Arabic into English. Some problems noted are:

  • Arabic sentences are too long in nature.
  • Most sentence structures are complex.
  • Arabic is syntactically vague and grammatically different.
  • Some words have multiple meanings.
  • Some Arabic alphabet letters doesn’t have an English equivalent.

Other challenges when translating Arabic to English language includes unfamiliarity with cultural expressions and lack of translation techniques as well as strategies. Another factor that needs to be considered is the variance between the source language and target semantic morphology. These reasons and more makes translation of Arabic to English language hard, complicated, technical, and most of all difficult.

The next time you need to translate Arabic contents into English language, choose a translation company that has years of solid experience. Likewise, they should possess the following skills:

  • Well versed with social, cultural, and religious differences.
  • Has a solid understanding and mastery of the Arabic language.
  • Knows the linguistic rules and differences of the source language.
  • Can interpret contents precisely and accurately.

With English being dubbed as the universal language, it makes communication with people all around the globe easy and convenient. The secret to a flawless and perfectly translated document is mastery of the language – both Arabic and English. Although there are serious challenges when it comes to translating Arabic to English and vice versa, the human brain features a deep intelligence that will surely overcome linguistic differences.

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