Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 8 : 7 July 2008
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Stylistic Changes in English-Arabic Translation
With Reference to BBC News Texts

Kais Amir Khadim, Ph.D.


This study focuses on the stylistic changes that occur when translating English political news into Arabic. It attempts to find the answers to the research question, "What is the nature of the stylistic changes that occur in the Arabic translation?" Towards this end, it will examine the stylistic change in Vinay and Darbelnet (1995) procedure such as transposition (shift). At the same time, it will also look at the same data from the perspectives of the ideas of styles in Ghazala (1995) such as fronting, complex-simple, formal-informal. In other words, although the headings will use the labels in Vinay and Darbelnet (1995), each data will be examined from the ideas of Ghazala (1995) as well. Wherever necessary, the stylistic difference shall be captured using both X'-Theory representation either as phrase markers (tree diagrams) or in linear structures using label bracketing and narrative descriptions.

The Position of Vinay and Darbelnet (1995)

Vinay and Darbelnet (1995) consider comparative analysis an essential applied linguistic approach to translation as it is a more direct approach. They focus on the pragmatic stratum which determines the choice of lexical and grammatical devices in the text. In their approach, they offer two strategies: direct translation and oblique translation. The former strategy comprises three procedures:

  1. borrowing,
  2. calque, and
  3. literal translation.

They employ direct translation whenever a structural and conception parallelism exists between both languages. The latter strategy, oblique translation, has four procedures: (a) transposition (shift), (b) modulation, (c) equivalence, (d) adaptation, which are used whenever grammatical, lexical, structural or conceptional divergences are required due to certain stylistic effects in the source text. Each of the above ideas will be elaborated below.

Transposition (Shift)

For Vinay and Darbelnet (1995:36) this involves replacing one word class with another without changing the meaning of the message. They add that besides being a special translation procedure, transposition can also be applied within a language. They note that in translation there are two type of transposition: (a) obligatory transposition and (b) optional transposition. They also indicate that this method requires the translator to change the grammar of the SL text; and the translator needs to shift the grammatical make-up of the SL to fit that of the TL to achieve an equivalent effect or to produce the same effect on the readership of the translation as was obtained on the readership of the original. From a stylistic point of view, the base and the transposed expression do not necessarily have the same value. Translators carry out a transposition if the translation obtained fits better into the text or allows a particular nuance of style to be retained. The transposed forms are generally more literary in character than the original (Vinay and Darbelnet, 1995:36).

Ghazala (1995)

Ghazala (1995:242) notes that style of short sentences has an important function as it heightens the tempo of action in a text which is written in the form of a story, apart from the fact that such a style accelerates events and arouses suspense. He adds that it is the only type of style which reflects a function of acceleration, that can be sensed by reading the text aloud and quickly. Hence, in order to keep this function, it is suggested that short sentences be re-echoed in the Arabic translation (Ghazala, 1995:242). Ghazala further notes that the style of long sentences is better to be imitated in Arabic because it has important stylistic functions which are a part of the meaning of the text. He adds that translating an English long sentence into Arabic long sentences might be less problematic than breaking it into short sentences (Ghazala, 1995:245).

Ghazala also notes that there is a common mistake of changing the passive into the active made by some Arabic translators who claim that Arabic is an active language, whilst English is passive (Ghazala, 1995:246). In any case, he adds that this aspect of the Arabic language is by no means settled as both passive and active styles are used in all types of Arabic texts. As a consequence, both styles, active and passive, have to be reflected in Arabic translations to reflect their important functions in the message (Ghazala, 1995:246).In terms of redundancy and repetition, Ghazala (1995:252) considers redundancy is a bad style in translation, since it could dispose the meaning of the translation.

Ghazaka adds that such style as a long, boring way of expressing meaning, using two, three or more words instead of one word only, but at the same time it is the translator's job to be faithful to the original text as much as to his job of translation. With respect to repetition, Ghazala (1995: 252) says that "this style would rather be rendered into Arabic, thus reflecting the same effect of the original, and avoiding the problem of artificial variation which might be hard to accept".

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Kinship and Gender in Meiteiron | The Use of Layout in Malay Language Newspapers' Front Pages | Exploring Ethnolinguistic Vitality - A Case Study of Lepchas in Dzongu Valley | Tamil Advertisements in Television | The Use of Second Person Pronoun in Tamil and Telugu | Survival of the Minority Kristang Language in Malaysia | Meaning and Technique in Walt Whitman's Poetry | Syntactic Errors in English Committed by Indian Undergraduate Students | Form and Function of Disorders in Verbal Narratives - A Doctoral Dissertation | Problems of Assamese Speakers Learning Manipuri | Stylistic Changes in English-Arabic Translation - With Reference to BBC News Texts | HOME PAGE of June 2008 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Kais Amir Khadim, Ph.D.
University of Science Malaysia

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