Grammatical issues in translation The grammatical level

Grammatical issues in translation
The grammatical level:
1. Morphology: words and their formation
by affixation, inflection, derivation and
2. Syntax: the arrangement of words into
phrases and sentence
It is the grammatical level where
translation loss is generally obvious given
the grammatical differences between
languages. However, the question is not
whether there is translation loss (there
always is), but what it consists in and
whether it matters
1.1 Words (lexis)
It is vital to remember that meanings are not found
exclusively in the words listed individually in the
Any text shows that the combination of words
creates meanings that they do not have in
isolation and even meanings that are not wholly
predictable from the senses of the words
In translation lexical loss is very common. It
arises from the fact that exact synonymy
between ST words and TL words is relatively
The word may be considered an exact
synonymy of English 'meat'. For many Arabs ,
‫لحم‬and fish almost certainly will not.
‫لحم‬however, chicken may not count as
Another source of lexical translation loss is that
words often acquire associative overtones over
and above their denotative meaning.
‫أحمل الزمن المحترق في عيني‬Example,
' I carry this scorched era in my eyes.' Rather than
I carry this burnt era in my eyes'.
'scorched era' sounds much more acceptable
because the phrase echoes the military phrase
'scorched earth'.
1.2 Grammatical arrangement
Lexical issues are a particular category of
grammatical issue. So it is not surprising that
some lexical issues are discussed under the
heading of grammatical arrangement.
1.2.1 morphological patterns affecting individual
words- affixation, inflection, derivation and
1.2.1 syntactic patterns: words are linked to form
more or less complex phrases and sentences
For example, the accusative suffix is a
recognized means of forming adverbs in
Arabic, while English adds 'ly' to form
Arabic adverbs
English translations
Much, often ‫كثيرا‬
recently ‫في األونة األخيرة‬
‫علي نحو ملح‬
‫بكي بكاء مرا‬
He wept bitterly
‫ و كانت عيناها تبتسمان‬Her eyes twinkled happily.
‫ منظمة مدعومة‬American-backed organization
Compounding differs from one language to another.
In English is capable of relatively long
compounds, while in Arabic compounds are
formed in two ways:
1. by the use of genitive structure:
bedroom' ‫غرفة نوم‬
2. by noun adjective pairs
‫' الشرق األوسط‬The Middle East'
However, both of these structures can yield
complications when combined with other
‫ستائر غرفة النوم الجديدة‬
In the absence of case-ending markers in the
text it is unclear whether the phrase means
'the new curtains of the bedroom' or 'the
curtains of the new bedroom'
Verb tenses:
The system of tenses in Arabic is quite different
from English;
. In some contexts, it might mean 'will buy' can
‫يشتري‬mean 'buys' and 'is buying'
In some contexts it can be translated as 'bought' or
'was buying (e.g. in certain subordinate clauses,
or in a story where a general past tense setting
has already been established for a particular part
of the text).
In English tenses relate fairly consistently to natural
time. Arabic operates with a system that
combines tense and aspect. For example, the
perfect can indicate completion of the action as
well as occurrence in the past ( as in he bought).
The imperfect may indicate non-completion of
the action regardless of whether it occurs in the
past or present (For example, in contexts where
translates as is /was buying.
The actual time significance of the imperfect in
particular is very often context- dependent.
To sum up, translators should give priority to the
exact meaning of word in a particular context
and to constructing idiomatic TL sentences,
even where this entails translation loss.
Morphological repetition:
The most important forms of morphological
repetition which are of most importance for
translation are: Pattern repetition, root
repetition and suffix repetition.
1. Pattern repetition
It involves the repetition of the same pattern
in two or more ‫فعل‬,‫فاعل‬,‫مفعول‬,,‫فعل‬,‫((مفعلة‬
words in close proximity,
2. Root repetition
It involves repetition of the same root in two or
more words in close proximity.
They provide textual cohesion as well as stylistic
and other purposes e.g
'The big old house'‫البيت القديم الكبير‬
pattern does not have any ‫ فعيل‬Here the
particular significance.
However, when Pattern repetition is combined
with some kind of semantic relationship, they
give additional emphasis
There are three relevant types of semantic
a. semantically related words
b. synonyms or near- synonyms
c. antonyms
Semantically related words are words whose
meanings fall within the same general
semantic field, which are clearly distinct in
"thoughts and dreams' e.g.
‫ أحالم‬and ‫أفكار‬
‫ دهشة‬and ‫'صدمة‬amazement and shock. These can be
translated fairly literally without any problems.
The translation of synonyms or near- synonyms
with pattern repetition involves the same
techniques as used with repetition of synonyms
generally, i.e. merging, grammatical
transposition, semantic distancing and
a. Merging: ‫' كان ال بد له من التأدب و التعلم‬so he had
no alternative left to him but education‘
b. grammatical transposition: ‫' التنظير والتحليل‬
systematic analysis'
c. semantic distancing:‫و الهلع خوفا عليها من الفزع‬
'for fear of alarming and upsetting her'
d. maintenance:
'The transformational role of the military:
‫ تقويم‬: ‫دور العسكر التغيري‬evaluation and analysis'
The ST structure has been
‫و تحليل‬
maintained through the use of the fairly
‫تقويم‬standard English translations of
‫'تحليل‬evaluation' 'analysis'
Pattern repetition with antonyms is also fairly
common. Consider the following:
ً ‫( صعودا وهبوطا‬See examples in the book page 102
) ' the changing fortunes'.
Pattern repetition may also occur with a
combination of synonyms and antonyms.
(See examples in the book page 102 ) ' ‫العسر و‬