Dubai translators Arabic to English can tell you the last word about translation.
As they are best positioned to know about translation, Dubai translators receive the most various translation volume any where in the world.
Let me continue for a moment.
If you want to understand what is going on in translation, you can imagine that translators move along a line with two opposites.
The first is called ‘literal’, the other ‘free’.
So there are two points.
A translator may choose to stand on the first one and see the world of texts from his standpoint.
Another would prefer to stand on the other one and see the world of texts from that standpoint.
Advocates of literal translation prefer to stick to the original text, the original culture behind it, and its original context.
So a literal translator prefers to stick to the ‘letter’ of the message; he gives high importance to what is said in the source text.
A free translator puts in high regard what is he going to say in the target culture to the target audience.
Each one of them is taking a stand, an attitude, and has a preference.
Advocates of literal translation insist on conveying the original moment of communication dressed in its original dress to the target language.
In the other camp, the advocates of free translation gives the message a new dress that suits it in the target culture.
Those who prefer to be literal call themselves faithful, and call their free peers traitors.
And their free peers are not short of criticism to their peer literals.
They call them slaves, as they enslave themselves to the original words and letters.
For Translators in Dubai Arabic to English: How much literal is literal enough?
Let’s take an example to see the difference between how free and literal translators deal with the matter.
Take the phrase ‘ما فات مات’.
A literal translator would translate this as ‘what passed died.’
As you see, you take the meaning of the source text and express it in the target language with the least modification, the least change, and the least shift.
Arabic to English translators of this camp give respect to the grammar.
What about free translation.
A possible free translation of this phrase would be ‘Let bygones be bygones’.
Grammar has completely changed.
Who is given the most respect here. The reader of the target text. The english reader.
Take the Arabic proverb ‘يوم لك ويوم عليك’.
Literal translation would be ‘a day for you and a day against you.’
This is one of the most literal translation versions of this saying.
How can this be translated Arabic to English from the point of view of free translators? “you win some, you lose some.”
Drastic change in words and grammar.
Note how ‘day’ disappears from the message and is replaced by ‘win’, and how the structure changes from ‘phrase’ to ‘sentence’.
You can see sorts of free translation in public notices and clichés.
A phrase like ‘ممنوع التدخين’ is not translated ‘smoking is prohibited/disallowed’.
It is better translated as ‘no smoking’.
Another one is ‘لا شكر على واجب’.
How do you translate this phrase Arabic to English literally without having to explain it afterwards?
Can you say “No thanks for duty”. In fact, this doesn’t mean anything for an English speaking world.
To go free is to render it in the well-known phrase ‘don’t mention it.’ Completely changed.
But it is what you mean in Arabic when you respond to thanks.
More examples of Arabic to English translation
There are many expressions that has, above all, a communicative purpose.
You see many phrases and hear these expressions everywhere.
Dare to translate ‘ممنوع الدخول’ as ‘forbidden is the entrance’. That would be so literal.
If you happen to see it written originally in english, it would read as ‘no entry.’
Did you see ‘مع السلامة’ translated Arabic to English as ‘with the well being.’ That is extremely literal. Try ‘goodbye.’ They will understand you.
Is it really literal or free? Are there any other options for translators in Dubai?
Arabic to English translations can be literal or free. That is true.
But between the two extremes there are different degrees of freedom along the line of translation.
Sometimes options are innumerable.
Along this line you may find many options. These are:
Each one of these can give you a different translation of the same expression.
As you see it is not ‘either… or …’.
Arabic to English translators have much freedom than previously thought.
Example of different Arabic to English translational options
Take the following sentence:
تحظى مثل هذه السلع بإقبال منقطع النظير الآن
Let’s translate it the many translations listed above.
LITERAL: The likes of these goods have much demand now.
FAITIIFUL: Goods like these are in great demand now.
BALANCED: These kinds of goods are in great demand at the moment.
IDIOMIZING: These types of goods are all the rage.
FREE: These goods are dead trendy.
The myth of perfect Arabic to English translation
There is no perfect. It is a myth.
You can call a translation anything, but please don’t call it perfect. That wouldn’t work. It is a lie. A brutal and disgracing one.
Every Arabic to English translation leaves something behind in the source text.
That something couldn’t be carried along to the target text.
This is what they call ‘translation loss’. In every translation, there is a loss, something that was there and is not here.
A word, a feeling, an association, etc…Unavoidable.
The more elegant a source text, the bigger the translation loss.
The more literary the source text, the harder the translation loss.
You have to accept this fact. It is a fact.
Even when English uses an Arabic word, you find a loss. Let’s take an example.
Now you hear a lot the phrase ‘الله أكبر’ (Allah is the greatest) in media.
Notice how they pronounce it. If you are an Arab, you can hardly recognize it.
If you can’t understand Arabic, you wouldn’t know what they are saying unless you have background knowledge of the expression.
The way it is pronounced in Arabic is lost.
The same applies to words like ‘جهاد’ and ‘مجاهدين’ and the newly terms introduced to the English vocabulary thanks to media.
Translation can be confusing. How would you translate ‘هل أعجبك موقعي؟’. The first translation that comes to mind is ‘do you like my website?’.
See how roles have changed.
Dubai translators Arabic to English wiegh literal translation and can tell you that it may sometimes sound odd, and in its best cases opaque.
Of course, that depends of course on the type of the text and other variants that are involved in the translation process as well as translators’ competency.
What kind of Arabic to English translation are you sending me? Send it now.