Grammatical problems in translationPresentation Transcript
Grammatical Problems in Translation
English and Arabic belong to two different language families, their grammar are sharply different . Several grammatical features of English create variable problems of translation into Arabic. 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. To confirm that, the problem of translating the most prominent points of English grammar into Arabic are discussed below . All problems are followed by one or more solutions.
Literal translation of “ am, is, are, was, were”
When these verbs are the main and only verbs in the sentence, they are translated by many students literally into ( يكون ), which is poor translated. And the same thing when we used as auxiliary verbs to form the present progressive tens and the present passive voice. A good number of students translate them literally; For example:
“ She is kind” ( هي تكون طيبة )
“ I am leaving now” ( أنا أكون مغادرً الآن )
“ They are put in the same situation” ( هم يكونون موضوعين في الموقف نفسه )
In the first, it can be omitted altogether here thus changing verbal sentence into Arabic nominal ones” i.e. into a topic and a comment each.
Therefore, verb “be” in the present simple is used to connect as much as equate between two words. And usually dropped in Arabic, both as main as well as auxiliary, it mostly unacceptable and poor in Arabic grammar and word order.
Also, “- ing” ending for the main verbs have no equivalent in Arabic grammar.
أنا مغادرٌ الآن
هم موضوعين في الموقف نفسه
There are two exceptions which they used the past simple of “ be”, are translated literally into ” كان“ both as well as auxiliary which is writing as a main verbs and as auxiliary in the past progressive but in the past passive voice sentence we should dropped them: As the main verbs: “ the child was ill ” = “ كان الطفل مريضاً ” As auxiliary: the past progressive : “ Our guests were playing ” = “ كان ضيوفنا يلعبون ” BUT as the past passive voice : “ The food was eaten ” = “ أُكــل الــطـعـام ”
2. Translation of verb Do and Did : as main verbs (do & did) doesn’t pose any grammatical problems. However, as an auxiliary, poses more than one problem. Verb “Do” is used in English to form the negative of all verbs except “be”, “have” and the modal verbs. Do & Does used with the present simple, whereas “ Did” with past simple. All these form meaningless in Arabic , they have the function of indicating the tens of the verb( past or present) , and what is translated into Arabic is negative particle “not”( , لم , ما , لا ) except in the questions it implies the question particle “ هـل ؟ ” whether in the present or in the past. 1- Do in the negative : means ( لا ) , for example: “ Some people (do not) smile” = ” بعض الناس ( لا ) يبتسمون“ 2- Did in the negative: usually translated into ( لم ) with the present , and occasionally into ( ما ) with the past ; for example: “She (did not) eat much” = “ ( لم ) تأكل / ( ما ) أكلت ... كثيراً ” 3- Do in question; means ( هل ) “ (Do) you sleep early?” = “ هـل تـنـام بـاكـراً ” “ (Did) Ali visit you yesterday?” = “ هـل زارك علي بالأمس؟ ”
Translate “ Do ” as main verb: 1- as main verb “do” is meaningful in translation, usually it is translated as “ يفعل ” for example: “ I will do my best ” = “ س أفعل ما بوسعي ” 2- or it can be translated as “ write” = “ يكتب ”… “ Some student do their homework’s quickly” = “ يكتب بعض الطلبةِ واجباتهم بسرعة ” At translating verb “Do” as an auxiliary verb, it has NO lexical meaning in Arabic, but implies the grammatical question particle “ هل ” . However, as a main verb , it has a full lexical meaning.
3. Translation of verb “ Have ” : As a main verb, it can pose a few problems to the student of translation, it take different meanings. What helps students distinguish between these meanings of “ have” is the consideration of the word immediately after it “its object”. Together with its object , “have” make especial combination in Arabic . A- “ She had a nice holiday” = “ قضت عطلة جميلة ” B- “The students have left early today” = “ غادر الطلاب باكراً اليوم ” C- “She has the tablets on time” = “ تتناول الحبوب في الوقت المحدد ” D- “she has money” = “ في حوزتها نقود ” / “ تملك نقود ” /“ لديها نقود ( هي )” we cannot say “ يملك دواء ” بل “ يتناول دواء ” 4. Translation of Modals” Because there are many auxiliary verbs in English, so they create several problems of translation for two major reason: A- they don’t have one-to-one single semantic equivalent in Arabic, and there is no grammatical class of verbs called Modal Auxiliary in Arabic. B- they have several complex and complicated function in English.
1- “ will, would, shall,” are not verbs in Arabic, these modals are used to refer to future either in present “will, shall” or in the past “would” it translated into “ سوف ” or “ ســ ” regardless of the possibility of the reference of the latter to the near for example: “ They will forgive us” = ” سيغفرون لنا “ 2-”can, may, must, could, might, ”: usually translated by students to mean one word each. BUT the case is NOT so. They imply two words. Problem becomes clearer when students translate them from Arabic into English, they’re translated into “ يمكن أن , يجب أن , يستطيع أن ” because أن is implied in these verbs and needed in such combination in Arabic for e.g. : “we can walk” = “ نستطيع أن نمشي ” but we cannot say # نستطيع نمشي 3-The confusion of “must have” and “should have” the students understand these as having the same meaning in the past but it the opposites. MUST HAVE = action which took place, whereas SHOULD HAVE =“action didn’t take place” …. e.g. “They must have finished work” = “ لابد أنهم أنهوا العمل ” “ They should have finished work” = “ كان عليهم أن ينهوا العمل ”
5- Translating of Question: Questions in English are formed in two ways only: A) The conversation of the subject and verbs when one of the following verbs is used: “ be, have, and modal verbs” B) The use of the auxiliary verb “do” with the rest of the verbs in English. The problems could arise at translating the different types of question, both is called “Yes or No question” because they are answered by them. The first problem appear in the possibility of imitating the question form: so the students will find this not possible because simply there are NO such equivalents in Arabic but just one word for all questions it is( هــل ). e.g. : “Are you playing tennis?”/ “Have you played tennis?”/ “Do/Did you play tennis?” OR the disappearance of ( هل ) with WH-question : when “do” and the subject –verb conversation are used in WH-question, they are meaningless. “ هل ” is on longer used in the Arabic translation here e.g. “what have you said?” = “ ماذا تقول؟ ” “ why they are crying?” = “ لماذا يبكون؟ ”
6. Translation of negation
she cannot pay money.
لا تستطيع أن تدفع النقود .
she will not pay money.
لن تدفع النقود .
she has not money.
لا تملك نقوداً .
All that glitters isn't gold.
ليس كل ما يلمع ذهباً .
Do not, does not = لا
Did not = لم
Many people do not play chess
لا يلعب الكثير من الناس الشطرنج .
The children did not sleep early yesterday
لم ينم الأطفال باكراً بالأمس .
‘ Not’ has more than one equivalent
Negation in English includes the following words "not , do not , does not , did not , never , neither , nor & no ".