AWEJ Special Issue on Translation No. (2) 2013 pp.189-199
The Intricacies of Linguistic Interference in Arabic-English Translation
Mohammad Ahmad Thawabteh
English Department, Al-Quds University
Jerusalem, Occupied Palestinian Territories
The present paper is designed to shed light on the intricacies of Arabic-English translation caused by linguistic interference (LI) when the translators recourse to their mother tongue in the translation from Arabic into English. The data comprises three works, namely Qiṭṭah bi-Sabʻiti ar-Rwāḥ (1982) ʻA Cat with Seven Livesʼ, Arkhaṣ Layla (1954) ʻThe Cheapest Nightʼ and Muthakrāt Saim (1986) ʻRamadan Dairyʼ. The paper reveals that the translations have traces of interference that are due ignorance by the translators and little linguistic affinity between Arabic and English, which may jeopardise communication, thought to be the ultimate goal of translation. The study shows that LI is minimised when the functional equivalence is opted for whereas it is maximised when formal equivalence is employed. The study yet argues that LI may be a good means for intercultural interaction in view of Venuti’s (1998) notions of domestication and foreignization.
Keywords: linguistic interference; equivalence; strategies; domestication; foreignization; negative transfer, positive transfer.