Translate English to Arabic

You have a document to translate English to Arabic. No worries. You have come to the right place where you will have your translation job done in the best manner. Let me explain to you what it takes to translate English to Arabic so that the translation product will not disappoint you. It takes a good decision making process by you.

Translate English to Arabic and what it requires 

It requires that you choose a qualified experience translator.

This translator should have some academic training in translation, like a diploma or equivalent training qualification. He will be more qualified to translate English to Arabic if he has a bachelor’s degree in translation, and even better a master’s degree in English to Arabic translation. English and Arabic are from two different families of language.

When you translate English to Arabic, you don’t usually replace one word for word, but a construct for a construct. For a translator to be successful in his translation task he has to transfer English blocks into Arabic blocks.

These blocks encompass a subject, a verb and the remaining of the sentence. As English starts with a subject and moves to the verb, Arabic usually starts with a verb and moves to the subject and the remainders.

So to begin translating English to Arabic is to start fishing out the verb first, then looking for a subject. Difficulties may arise from many linguistic factors.

One of these is that English has auxiliary verbs and Arabic doesn’t.

So in order to translate English to Arabic, you have to create an empty verb to compensate for the lack of auxiliary verb lost in the transfer. Hence, translators have to be aware of the linguistic characteristics of both languages in order to achieve the best result when they translate English to Arabic. Spare yourself any hassles and let’s translate English to Arabic.

What determines a good translation?

To have a good translation, you have to provide the translator with instructions about the translation job at hand. Your instructions can be summed up in a document named translation brief.

What is that you need to state in the translation brief?

You mainly answer the following questions:

  • Who is the audience of this translation?
  • What is the purpose of this translation?
  • What is the most important aspect of this translation?

It goes without saying that you need a good translation. So help your translator to come up with the best translation product possible by lending him or her a hand in his endeavor.

Translation difficulties

The translator is torn between two worlds. These two worlds have different languages and cultures. The two worlds are identified as source and target. So you have a source text (the text you give the translator to translate English to Arabic) and a target text (the text you receive translated).  Similarly, there are source language and source language, source culture and target culture.

Translation as a Threesome Relation

Let’s say you are married to two, and the three of you and your spouses are sitting next to each other. You can’t please one without annoying the other. When you move closer to one of them you move away from the other.

When the translator moves closer to the source text (use the source text structures for example), he/she at the same time moves away from the target text. And vice versa (replacing cultural nuances of the source with the target).

When you translate English to Arabic, how does this apply?

Let’s take an example:

How would ‘it is raining cats and dogs’ translate English to Arabic?

The first translation option is to go for literal translation, that is:

إنها تمطر كلاباً وقططاً

The concept of ‘raining dogs and cats’ in the sense it is heavy rain does not exist in Arabic.

By this translation, you are sleeping with the source, but you are neglecting the target and breaking her heart. Who would forgive this crime?

As an advanced option for translation, you could explain the idiom by this translation:

إنها تمطر بغزارة

This is a place where you play safe. But speaking about loss in translation, you have lost the image, the metaphor and the effect of the proverb. Its mere essence.

As a more advanced option to translate English to Arabic this saying, you can replace it altogether with the Arabic saying:

مطر كأفواه القرب

As you can see, you have moved away from ‘dogs and cats’ to ‘mouths of containers of water’, and from verbal construct ‘it is raining’ to nominal structure ‘مطر’. Now you are sleeping with the target neglecting your other spouse, the source.

Here is your option to translate English to Arabic with optimal balance. 

Translation Elusive Balance

As a client you want the highest-quality translation, with the lowest cost within the shortest time. HIGHEST quality, LOWEST cost, and SHORTEST time.

This is practically impossible, because the higher the quality, the higher the cost, and the slowest the time. As you see in the figure, what you are looking for is UTOPIA, something that doesn’t exist.

There is an inevitable tradeoff among quality, cost and time.

As you can see above, you can get 2 out of three. 

So if it is: 

  • Good and cheap translation, it would late
  • Cheap and fast translation, it would be bad quality
  • Fast and good transltion, it would be expensive 

Unless of course you've acheived the right balance where you aimed at the common area between the three circles. Cheap, Fast and Good. 

This is the Right balance in translation. 

With extranslation, you will translate English to Arabic with the right balance.