Volume 56, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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This paper deals with the translation from Arabic to English of lists, i.e. phrases consisting of at least two, and typically three or more, noun phrases, adjective phrases, etc. which belong to a relatively coherent semantic field. Section 1 considers four standard techniques for translating Arabic semantic repetition into English: maintenance of repetition, merging, grammatical transposition, and semantic distancing. Section 2 defines listing as an extension of semantic repetition, and identifies basic listing structures in English and Arabic. Sections 3–3.5 look at techniques for translating Arabic lists into English on the basis of the first three translation techniques for semantic repetition discussed in Section 2. Section 3.1 looks at list retention (cf. maintenance of repetition), considering where this is and is not acceptable. Section 3.2 looks at list reduction/merging (cf. semantic merging). Sections 3.3–3.5 look at techniques which parallel grammatical transposition as a technique for translation semantic repetition: embedded coordination, as a form of subordination (Section 3.3), standard subordination (Section 3.4), and the combination of embedded coordination with standard subordination (Section 3.5). Section 3.6 considers summary definition, as a translation technique which goes beyond merging. Section 4 considers the significance of listing patterns in Arabic and English in the context of the more general preference in Arabic for coordination and in English for subordination. Section 5 raises the possibility that the preference for coordination in Arabic may correlate with a larger textual preference for ostensive presentation, while the preference for subordination in English may correlate with a larger textual preference for analytical summary. I suggest that, if true, this may give rise to translation issues which are effectively intractable.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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