Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Translation No.5 May, 2016                                 Pp. 181- 194

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 Translating Proper Nouns from Arabic into English: Barriers and Procedures 

 Bader S. Dweik
Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Middle East University, Amman, Jordan

Sa’ida W. Al-Sayyed
Department of English, Faculty of Graduate Studies
University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan


This study aims to explore the barriers that students encounter while translating proper nouns and to identify the procedures used by the students in the translation process. The researchers have developed a translation test in which twenty students were asked to translate twenty-nine underlined proper nouns which were subdivided into three categories: personal names, geographical places, and institutions and organizations. Findings show that students encounter many barriers such as (1) lacking specialized knowledge in religious, historical and political proper nouns; (2) having to choose from more than one equivalent for the same noun, and (3) not having enough dictionary equivalents for proper nouns. Findings also suggest that there is no single formula for translating proper nouns. Different procedures are applied in translating them such as using recognized translations and couplets especially for translating geographical places. Recognized methods of translation also meet with several challenges when translating names of organizations and institutions.
Keywords:  Arabic, barriersprocedures, proper nouns, translation


Professor Bader S. Dweik (corresponding author): Former Dean of Scientific Research at
Middle East University, Amman, Jordan. He obtained his Master’s and Ph D degrees from the
State University of New York in English linguistics and has taught in many Arab and American
universities .He supervised scores of MA and doctoral dissertations in Translation, Applied and
Sociolinguistics and EFL.