Problems in Translating English Journalistic Texts into Arabic: Examples from the Arabic Version of Newsweek


This paper investigates the problems encountered in the translation of English journalistic texts into Standard Arabic (henceforth SA). The analysis presented in this study clearly shows that the most common problems in journalistic translation are attributed to: (a) the inappropriate selection of the equivalent TL word or expression, (b) the inability to observe the syntactic and stylistic differences between the SL and the TL and (c) the translated text may contain violations of some TL rules. By drawing the attention of translators to the translational problems that await them, we can immensely enhance the quality of the output text. There is another reason for our interest in the translation of journalistic texts: translation is regarded by purists " as a bigger menace to the purity of Arabic language than that of the Colloquial dialects." (Abdelfattah 1996:134); for instance, journalistic translation may pave the way for foreign-language influence on SA in "the domain of syntax, style, and lexicon" (Abdelfattah 1996:134). Thus most of the changes that occur in the style and structure of Arabic occur through the Arab journalists who are familiar with European languages, especially English and through the Arab translators who render English journalistic texts into Arabic. As Holes (1995:255) puts it, Today, more than ever, it is in the language of the press, Television and radio that external influences on Arabic are most obvious, and constant exposure to this 'media MSA' seems to be having reaching effects on the vocabulary, grammar and phraseology of the Arabic used by educated Arabs in many other contexts written or spoken .


Ahmed-Sokarno Abdel-Hafiz