Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number 4 December 2022                                    Pp. 140-161

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Evaluating the Cognitive Dimension of Translation in Light of the Six Phases Proposed by
Wilss (1996) in the Decision-Making Process: A Case Study

Rafat Y. Alwazna
Department of European Languages and Literature
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Received:07/03/2022         Accepted:10/02/2022                 Published: 12/15/2022


The present paper addresses the evaluation of the cognitive dimension of translation considering the six phases proposed by Wilss (1996) in the decision-making process. Its importance springs from the fact that it is pivotal to view translation as a cognitive activity rather than a mere linguistic process and evaluate it by carrying out cognitive analysis based on the six phases propounded by Wilss (1996) in the decision-making process. This is particularly useful in understanding the mental processes operating in the cognitive system of the translator through the pitfalls he/she has in his/her translation, which epitomize the translation problems that he/she has encountered during the translation process. The paper seeks to answer the following main research question: how can the cognitive dimension of translation in light of the six phases proposed by Wilss (1996) in the decision-making process be evaluated? The paper draws on Wilss’s model to provide a cognitive analysis of English-Arabic translation. The paper argues that any pitfall the translator has had in her translation typifies failure of identifying the translation problem cognitively, which is the first phase proposed by Wilss in the decision-making process. Hence failure of passing the first phase brings about failure of completing all the phases for cognitive analysis. The pitfalls that represent the translation problems can be categorized into five categories, namely: the use of inappropriate equivalence, culture-specific elements, translation by omission, translation by addition and the use of borrowing in a dialect of Arabic. Each category features the translation issue, the cognitive analysis conducted thereon and the recommended translation(s).
Keywords: Cognitive dimension of translation, decision-making process, evaluation, identification of problems,
six phases, Wilss (1996) model

Cite as: Alwazna, R. Y. (2022). Evaluating the Cognitive Dimension of Translation in Light of the Six Phases Proposed by Wilss (1996) in the Decision-Making Process: A Case Study  Arab World English Journal, 13 (4) 140-161.


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Received: 07/03/2022
Accepted: 10/02/2022 
Published: 12/15/2022

Dr. Rafat Y. Alwazna works as a professor of translation studies, TESOL and legal translation at King Abdulaziz University, KSA. He has published several research papers and book chapters, the last of which is entitled: ‘The Syntactic Features of Islamic Legal Texts and Their Syntactic Implications for Translation’, which was published in the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law in 2022. He currently serves as an international advisor for the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (Springer). He is guest editor of a special issue for the journal mentioned above, which was published in 2016. ORCID: