A taxonomy of translation problems in translating from English to Arabic
This thesis investigates translation problems in translating from English to Arabic. Despite the fact that there are some taxonomies available, none is based on empirical research; moreover, none can be considered comprehensive. The present study provides a ranked taxonomy of problems in translating from English to Arabic that was developed through two empirical studies. The first is a case-study of the researcher translating a published corpus of short translation-class texts. Since the aim of this project is pedagogical, students of translation were the target population of the second multi-subject study. Here, 56 undergraduate and 18 postgraduate students in Arabic —+ English translation classes at Al-Fateh University and the Academy of Graduate Studies in Libya translated a sub-set of the same texts. By comparing the two groups' performance, the researcher could also find out the effects of translation experience/proficiency on the type and severity of problems. The taxonomy consists of four levels: supra, main, sub and sub-sub categories. The supra category includes problems of ST Comprehension and TT Production and problems of Transfer Process. The main category includes Micro-Language problems, Macro-Text level problems and Strategies and Techniques problems. The sub-category includes problems of Grammar, Vocabulary, Spelling, Rhetorical and stylistic devices, Cohesion, Register and style, Background Knowledge and Culture. The sub-sub categories include forty seven categories such as problems of Word order, Fixed Expressions, Spelling Slips, Irony, Omission and Additions. A tentative ranking of the difficulty of problems is based on three factors: perceived difficulty, error count and error severity. What distinguishes the taxonomy formulated in the present study from existing ones is comprehensiveness, e.g. in combining problems of ST comprehension, TT production and problems of transfer process, or in combining problems of the language system and extra-textual problems; and the ranking adds another dimension. The thesis consists of six chapters: Chapter One outlines the theme of the project and presents the research questions. Chapter Two reviews the relevant literature with an emphasis on translation problems and errors. Chapter Three presents the researcher case-study which sets the ground for the multi-subject main-study in Chapter Four. Chapter Five provides a model of English —* Arabic translation problems as exemplified by the taxonomy of translation problems and discusses the ranking system used and its outcome. Chapter Six, Conclusion, evaluates the outcome of the study, assesses the methodology that has been used to investigate the issues set in the research questions and discusses implications for further research.