The translation of proper nouns into Arabic
English fiction as an example
This paper aims to explore the strategies that translators adopt when rendering English proper nouns into Arabic and, consequently, offer both qualitative and quantitative insights into this process. It is a case study of proper nouns in professional Arabic translation based on one English novel (The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (2008); translated into Arabic by Taiba Sadeq (2011). Proper nouns are categorized and analyzed in terms of internal syntactic structure (Central, Converted and Extended proper nouns), as well as thematically (e.g. personal names, names of institutions, bodies of water, etc.), with an eye to establishing correlations between the type of proper noun and the translation strategy opted for. The results indicate that the translator’s choice between different strategies is governed by two main factors. Firstly, the translator needs to check whether the proper noun individualizes entities by means of ordinary language predicates (e.g. common nouns), proper nouns proper, or a combination of both, as each type usually requires a different strategy. Secondly, the translator needs to pay attention to the degree of comprehensibility and naturalness of his/her rendering, which may necessitate consolidating the single strategies of transliteration and translation with addition in the form of a generic word or even substitution in the case of idiomatic proper nouns. The paper concludes that proper nouns cannot be treated uniformly in translation between English and Arabic because they belong to different categories and, consequently, they may require different translation strategies including transliteration, complete translation, partial translation, transliteration plus addition, and translation plus addition.
Keywords: proper nouns, Arabic, translation, fiction, translation strategies
Published online: 10 March 2016
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