Assessing Difficulties of Translating Opaque Idioms from English into Arabic: A Case Study

Published: 17 June 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/hsd7yjpp87.1
Global Journal of Research Publication


The translation of idiomatic expressions from English into Arabic is considered a difficult task for translators. This difficulty may reveal that this translation has a serious misunderstanding and mistranslation of the source text. This study aims to determine the major challenges that master students in the translation department encounter when translating idioms and identify the methods and strategies for translating such expressions. The study hypothesizes that the commonest challenge that translators encounter when rendering idiomatic expressions into Arabic is cultural differences. The commonest strategies are used by students when rendering idiomatic expressions into Arabic, which include omission, paraphrasing, different form but similar meaning and similar and meaning. The translation of opaque idioms is harder than the transparent ones. Theoretically, the study presents a literature review on translation methods of translation and the relation among translation, language and culture, idioms and difficulties in translating idiomatic expressions, and it tackles translation, models and strategies used in translation idiomatic expressions. Finally, it sets forth a brief account previous study. Practically, the data used for analysis comprise twenty-five idiomatic expressions selected from the videos on the you- tube channels (Interactive English). These idioms are given to 10 M.A. students from the department of translation, college of arts university of Tikrit who voluntarily agreed to take part in the test to translate the selected idioms. In this study Moon’s (1998) idioms typology is used as a linguistic model to identify the four types of idioms (The transparent, the semitransparent, the opaque and the semi-opaque idioms) used by the translators. Newmark’s (1981) model of translation is also used to distinguish two methods of translations, semantic and communicative methods. The other is provided by baker (1992). The findings of the study showed that master students face many challenges when translating idiomatic expressions including the lack of awareness of the cultural difference between English and Arabic. This study suggests that it is important to find a target language idiom rather than translating such an idiom by paraphrasing. As well as being familiar with the adopted strategies may help student’s abilities translate more properly. Finally, the study displays that the type of idiom has a minor impact on understanding its meaning and aiding an appropriate translation.



Tikrit University College of Education for Pure Sciences


Research Article