Dubai Arabic Translation and Cultural Implications

Why Dubai and why Arabic translation?

Because of the following reasons: 

Arabic Translation in Dubai gives an astounding example of the sucess of English Arabic translation businesses. 

Whether you are interested in Arabic translation as a principle, or you have a translation project you want a translator to do it as soon as possible,

you are here where translation sings.

Of course, it doesn’t do you any harm to know a little bit about translation:

what does Arabic translation in Dubai  is;

what the translation purpose is,

how translators translate, and other questions that you are finding on this page some answers for.

You may have heard about literal translation and free translation.

Both are the well known translation approaches to translation.

In fact, translation can be literal most of the times.

Of course, taking into consideration some factors like the genre (text-type), the audience, communication medium, and others.

To some scholars, 99% of translations are literal.

So this term is not a derogatory one, though it is used to downgrade translation most of the times.

But when translation is required to be communicative, literal translation wouldn’t work efficiently usually.

Phrases like ‘ممنوع الدخول’ and ‘ممنوع التدخين’ shouldn’t be translated word for word.

Word for word translation gives you ‘entrance is not allowed’ and ‘smoking is prohibited’.

These phrases have no place in English stock phrases. They are unnatural. Strange.

Simply, both phrases have equivalents in English as ‘No entry’ and ‘No smoking’.

You see no problem with this. Right?

Arabic translation Dubai and Problems of Arabic translation

The problem comes into the scene of Arabic translation when you try to translate a phrase that has no equivalent, no match in the other language.

Translators have to invent a way out of this trouble.

But who do they do that?

What can a translator do before expressions like ‘إن شاء الله’, ‘الحمد لله’, ‘عليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته’.

English has something to say in these contexts.

But these sayings don’t match the Arabic to the least extent.

‘God willing’, ‘Praise be to God’, and ‘Peace and blessings of God’ are literal translations.

They are literal in the sense that they are not used in corresponding contexts in English everyday life. No body speaks this way.

In English for ‘إن شاء الله’, they tend to say ‘I hope’, ‘hopefully’ and the like.

For ‘السلام عليكم’, they say ‘hi’, ‘hello’. Where is ‘peace’ and where is ‘you’? Lost in translation.

You may have heard Qaddafi translating ‘زاد الطين بلة’ in the United Nations.

There are many translations for this:

1: 'it increased the clay moistness'

2: ‘'it made matters worse'

3: ‘It adds insult to injury’

Which of these translations would you prefer to see in your translation project?

Each one of these translations has a right to exist. Though the first one is meaningless indeed.

They don’t have it in English.

Depending on the context, each one of these can be a translation.

One may favor to go for ‘add insult to injury’ but on the expense of the loss of image evoked in the mind of the hearer or the reader of ‘clay’ and ‘moistness’.

Is it worth it? It depends.

Difficulties in Arabic Translation in Dubai and elsewhere, of course.

Difficulties in Arabic translation can be found in the simplest language structures, on the level of the word itself.

Not to mention phrases, sentences and paragraphs.

This is no surprise at all due to differences between English and Arabic.

The pronoun 'you' in English doesn’t denote the sex of the person.

Arabic has five second person pronouns, giving distinctions between singular, dual and plural, and masculine and feminine.

For ‘you’, Arabic has أنتَ، أنتِ، أنتما، أنتم، أنتن.

Even in simpler forms. Language transfer can be perplexing, and travel from Arabic to English or the other way around can be tiresome.

You can see this problem between 'uncle' in English and خال and عم in Arabic.

The English term 'uncle' might be a typical translation equivalent of the Arabic خال or عم, but 'uncle' in English doesn’t denote maternal or paternal association unlike ‘خال’ and ‘عم’ in Arabic. They do. ‘خال’ is related to your mother, while ‘عم’ to your father. ‘uncle’ can be both.

Such differences can be tricky in translation. Avoid these tricks and send me your translation job.

Higher levels of Arabic translation in Dubai: Cultural Associations

When it comes to culture, translation becomes a real danger. Translators have to be careful and aware of what they replace by what.

For example, take the word 'Crusade' in English and its positive connotations if used in the western countries. Pride. Noble missions and the like.

This is translated in Arabic as ‘حملة صليبية’. This translation can evoke all sorts of negative associations in the minds of Muslims and Arabs.

So when an American president says ‘crusade’, he means to evoke these positive meanings in the mind of his audience.

But when it is translated into ‘حملة صليبية’ to the Arabic Muslim audience, you can guess they receive it. Terrible.

Whether the American president wants to evoke such terrible connotations in the minds of the Arabs and Muslims is an open question.

Let’s take another example.

The word ‘جهاد’ has strong negative associations in western media.

On the contrary, used in Arabic, it has highly positive connotations.

Thanks to relentless efforts of western media throughout years and years, the cultural borrowing 'jihad' is linked to organizations of extermists and terrorists.

In Arabic, it has become a sensitive word.

These are just few illustrations of how translation can be difficult and elusive;

how translation can change the intended message into even the opposite.

And effect intended and received as positive by the English audience can be received as a strongly negative by the Arabic audience.

Arabic translation can be explosive.

A competent translator has to be aware of the cultural aspects and items in Arabic translation.

These include customs, social settings, rules and norms, ways and forms of speaking and dealing with language.  

For practitioners of Arabic transltion in Dubai and of course anywhere else, Quality of translation depends heavily on this awareness and familiarity.

Strategies for Cultural Arabic translation

To deal with cultural representations in the translation, translators use techniques and strategies to solve the problems and difficulties related to culture.

They borrow, make calque, transpose, modulate, find equivalence, adapt, substitute, omit, delete, loan words, illustrate, explicate, naturalize, describe, compensate, reduce and expand, and paraphrase.

Have your translation done by a translator who is aware of these cultural nuances and intricacies. Send your Arabic translation project now.