Translating English modal expressions: an Arab translator trainee’s perspective

Eades, D 2011, 'Translating English modal expressions: an Arab translator trainee’s perspective' , Babel, 57 (3) , pp. 283-304.

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Modals are known to be a source of considerable difficulty for the translator due to the subtle and complex nature of the meanings they convey. The present study sheds light on difficulties associated with the translation of modal expressions by exploring errors in the translations of a group of native Arabic-speaking translator trainees, and seeks to determine complexities associated with the transfer of modal meaning from an English source text (ST) to an Arabic target text (TT). The findings are discussed with respect to what they reveal about shortcomings in the skills and training of the participants, and how these may be remedied. The results of the study show that while the participants generally exhibited a sound knowledge of the dictionary meanings of the various modal expressions in the ST, the intended meaning conveyed by a given modal in the ST was frequently misconstrued in the translations, and many modal expressions in the ST were overlooked entirely. These and various other types of errors suggest that in addition to the trainees requiring a greater understanding of the nature of modality in English and Arabic and the formal coding of the category in both languages, greater consideration of macro-textual factors (cohesion, text type, relationship between author and audience) through the utilization of top-down text processing skills is required in their translation training.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Babel
Publisher: International Federation of Translators
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0521-9744
Depositing User: DC Eades
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2011 14:22
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 13:20

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