Investigating Saudi Student Translators’ Difficulties and Strategies in Translating English Culture-bound and Idiomatic Expressions: A Quantitative Study

  •  Dalal R. AlEnezi    
  •  Tarek A. Alkhaleefah    


Given the scarcity of studies looking into EFL student translators’ difficulties and strategies revealed in tasks involving translation of English idioms, this study inspected both the translation problems and strategies reported by Saudi university students majoring in English translation when translating English culture-bound expressions and idioms into Arabic. To achieve this aim, the researchers recruited a random sample of 90 Saudi female students to complete a 30-item translation test that required written translation, followed by a short self-devised questionnaire. Validity and reliability for both study instruments were established by test-piloting and translation verification checks. The various translation strategies used by the participants were categorized according to existing strategic processing frameworks developed by Baker (1992) and Newmark (1998). This study revealed how the process of translating English idioms posed some difficulties for most of participating student translators. In particular, two main translation problems were observed: unsuccessful attempts to achieve item equivalence into Arabic, and inadequate knowledge of strategic translation. Moreover, the study reported a variety of five main translation strategies (paraphrasing, partial equivalence, omissions, use of precise English expressions, and total equivalence) being used in the test. Drawing on the study findings, some pedagogical implications and recommendations were presented and discussed.

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