Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Translation No.5 May, 2016                                  Pp.  216-231

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The Hurdle of Translating Compounds and Iḍāfa: A Contrastive Analysis 

Mohammad Bin Naser
Department of English Language and Literature
Kuwait University, Kuwait



The present study investigates the hurdles of deciphering the figurative meaning of English compounds and Arabic construct phrases, known as iḍāfa when they are under the detailed scrutiny of translation. For this purpose, a contrastive linguistic analysis of both multi-word items was conducted in order to show any syntactic and semantic similarity in their behaviour. This analysis was also supported by the conceptual examination of their translation. The findings have shown that compounds and iḍāfa, in terms of figurative sense, are semantically similar, but are syntactically different. In terms of translation, results show that they pose a metaphorical and cultural threat to the Arab translator, who might be tempted to translate them literally in case s/he fails to understand the hidden meaning. Producing accurate translation equivalents for these items cannot be achieved without knowing their metaphorical senses and the ability to provide natural and acceptable equivalents in the target language.
Keywords: Exocentric Compounds, iḍāfa, Metaphor, Metonomy, Translation


Dr. Mohammad Bin Naser is a Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature,
Kuwait University. He obtained his MA in Translation Studies from the University of
Birmingham, England in 2005 and his Ph.D. in Translation Studies (Arabic/English) from
Durham University, England in 2010. His teaching and research interests are in the area of
translation studies, phraseology, and lexicography.