The Contextual over the Referential in Military Translation

  •  Musallam Al-Ma’ani    


Dictionaries of all types, monolingual or bilingual, specialized or general, form the basic tools for both undergraduate translation students (UTSs) and professional translators (PTs). However, it is generally accepted that the difference between UTSs and PTs is that UTSs normally over-rely on dictionaries, which produces unsatisfactory results. For it is not only the lexical meaning provided by dictionaries that is important in translation, but also the contextual meaning. Hence, it is the USTs' ability to translate and use specialized terms/words appropriately within the context of situation and, by extension, within the larger world of the text, which is crucial. The aim of the article is to address issues related to Arabic military translation. In particular, it focuses on the long-standing relationship between specialized terms and translation and how terms may influence the UTSs' quality and accuracy, given that Arabic suffers from difficulties in handling and standardizing specialized technical terms. Data were drawn from translations by undergraduate students at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman. The analysis shows that students faced problems at understanding technical information as well as technical terms and collocations. It was also noted that two of the better bilingual dictionaries turned out to be of little help. The examples discussed provide pointers to the challenges that would face UTSs when handling technical translation in their early careers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.