Effective Factors for Develeoping Communicative Competence

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Stylistic Problems Confronting Arab Students in Arabic-English Translation

By Kadhim H. Bakir (Ph.D.)
and
Hashim G. Lazim (M.A.)

Faculty of Foreign Languages & Translation
Ajman University of Science & Technology
UAE

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1. Introduction
Translation, which procures increasing significance at present, has, from time immemorial, attracted the attention of scholars and men of letters. It has, no doubt, contributed a great deal in connecting various cultures of the world. This interplay has naturally led to the enrichment of human knowledge at large (Cf. Savory, 1968: 37-48; Pinchuck, 1977: 16). Multifarious definitions of translation, though superficially different, seem to agree upon the point that this activity means conveyance of some sort of information from one language into another (1). This process that might appear simple at face value, is, in fact, painstaking if not arduous in some of its aspects, for it comprises transferring not only meanings of individual words or structures into the receptor language, but also stylistic features and implicational meanings. Translation, therefore, is a reproduction in the translated version of the thoughts and meanings implied in the original text (Khulusi, 1958:16). Not only this, but "to produce the message one must make a good many grammatical and lexical adjustments... Many translations attempt to reproduce the significance of the source language expressions," Nida & Taber, 1974: 12) 2.      The Test

2.1     Description of the Test
This paper seeks to investigate stylistic error made by Arab students at the university level in translating a text from Arabic into English. We have chosen, as our tested, (30) advanced-level students of the Department of English Language & Translation, Faculty of Foreign Languages & Translation, Ajman University of Science & Technology (2). The tested were allowed to consult dictionaries. Our choice was primarily based on the fact that students at this level have a fairly good command of English after 2-4 years of intensive study. Added to this, they have studied and practiced translation in a number of courses ranging from 2-10 courses. They come from nine different Arab countries. Our concern would, however, be focused on expressive connected writing, i.e. students’ versions should reflect the context (including particularly its literary flavour), and not merely on isolated items or structures. The passage chosen for the test is on Basrah, Iraq. The economic and cultural aspects of the city are especially pinpointed (3). The passage has deliberately been chosen for the following reasons: (a) The students have already been familiarized with the topic by one of the authors of the present who has been teaching them for the last four years. Thus, the details most likely fall within their understanding. (b) It is of a fair length (170 words) to suit the allocated time. (c) Stylistically, the passage is rather interesting for the tested students as they have to deal with its translation requirements, especially in matters like translatability, cultural differences, connective meanings, parenthetical sentences, etc. Students’ renderings are analyzed, errors diagnosed, and examples are given for elucidation. The paper is rounded off with a conclusion. 2.2 Categorization and Analysis of Errors

The present study is not going to deal with every problematic area facing students in Arabic into English translation, as this would necessarily require more extensive work. It has therefore been found convenient to restrict this study to one of the main scopes where students’ pitfalls were observed to revolve around in abundance, namely style. 3. Style Operationally Defined

The term "style" has been looked at in different ways. It would be out of the...
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