Problems in Translating Collocations in Religious Texts from Arabic into English

| February 7, 2011

June 2011
Volume 5 Issue 1

| June 2011 Index | PDF Version |

Problems in Translating Collocations in Religious Texts from Arabic into English

Bader S. Dweik & Mariam M. Abu Shakra
Middle East University for Graduate Studies, Department of English Amman, Jordan

Bader S. Dweik holds a Ph.D. in General Linguistics (Sociolinguistics) and is former Dean of Academic Research at the Middle East University. His research interests and publications are in Sociolinguistics, Translation and EFL.

Mariam M. Abu Shakra received her M.A in English Language and Literature from Middle East University. She was involved in teaching general English and ESP courses for Arab learners for more than 10 years. Her research interests focus on Translation .


This study aims at investigating the most serious problems that translators face when rendering cultural collocations in three religious texts namely, the Holy Quran, the Hadith and the Bible. It is postulated that collocations present a major hurdle for MA students majoring in translation particularly when translating collocations in religious texts. To achieve the goals of the study, the researchers selected a purposive sample that comprised 35 students enrolled in the M.A translation programs at the universities of Petra, Yarmouk and the University of Jordan. The researchers also constructed a translation test that consisted of 45 contextual short sentences randomly selected from the above-mentioned three religious texts and assigned 15 sentences for each religious text. The tests were ensured for validity and reliability by a panel of three university professors. In conclusion, the results of the study revealed that (i) translators encountered difficulties in lexical and semantic collocations (ii) translators of religious texts should be deeply aware of the nature of lexical and metaphoric collocations, should realize the disparities between Arabic concepts and beliefs and Western ones, and should always avoid literal translation by taking the context into consideration.

Keywords: problems, translating, culture, religious collocations, Arabic, English.

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Category: Volume 5 Issue 1 2011