Remarks on Terminolgy, Coining and Translating Terms

Remarks on Terminology, Coining and Translating Terms At present the Arab world is engaged in the serious movement of transferring western sciences and technology into Arabic- Arabicisation. The movement involves training the new generations of young
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  Remarks on Terminolgy, Coining and Translating TermsProf. muftah Salem LataiwishDepartment of EnglishUniversity of GaryounisBenghazi, Introduction There are many views when it comes to English words that cannot be translated intoArabic by using an "accepted-by- standard Arabic" word, and yet we as translatorshave to come up with a solution and most definitely a word, whether it is in theArabic dictionary or not. Languages are constantly changing, and their lexicalcomponents do it in a special way. That is why dictionaries are never finished: theyare works in progress.The English language is always changing and new words are being coined all thetime. How does Arabic , or any other language, keep up with those changes? By doingthe same the English does—coining new words.What can translators do to come up with the right nuance, meaning and, finally, theright translation that keeps true to the source? We either create new words byconsensus among various translators and/or entities, or use words that other peoplehave already coined and are being widely used already, or not.How do we come up with such words? The way translators do it is by searchingevery dictionary , talking to other translators, and finally, when everything has beenexhausted and yet there is no word, by searching in Google.An example is the English word "recycle” which doesn't appear in the Arabiclanguage because it is related to American culture. The google translates the word as. Here, it is preferably and more idiomatically to sayThree main issues will be discussed in this paper regarding terminology, coining andtranslationg terms. These issues occupy an important place in translation and I feelthat they deserve to be discussed in reference to English/Arabic translation. Terminology in Translation.   The question of translating special terms has been touched up in severalarticles in reference to translation. However, terminology occupies an important placein English – Arabic translation. At present the Arab world is engaged in the seriousmovement of transferring Western Sciences and technology into Arabic-arabicisation. The movement involves training the new generations of young Arabscholars in Western science through the medium of Arabic, where translation plays anessential part. The most serious problem facing this type of translation, and  arabicisation in general, is that of creating an adequate technical terminology inArabic, which would help the young Arab scholar to express in his own language thehosts of important western ideas and objects.To begin with, it is important to draw a distinction between the process of coining a technical term and another different but related process, that of translating aterm. Much confusion at present governs the efforts of those concerned with Arabicterminology because they fail to distinguish between these two processes. Here wewill be concerned with them as far as they are related to translation. A translator  practises both these processes often without being aware of the distinction which is being drawn in this paper.The process of coining a new term means using the resources of the targetlanguage (phonological, morphological and syntactic resources to form a new word or expression in the target language to function as an equivalent to the term in the sourcelanguage. New ideas and objects imported from abroad normally require newcoinages. For example, as soon as the term AIDS finds its way into the Arabic societythe translator (whatever he is by profession, a scientist, etc, he is actually a translator in this capacity) is called upon to find an Arabic term to express this pathological phenomenon. The process involved here is coning a new term. Most of the new terms belonging to science and technology are coined in this way. The same method should be used in Arabicistion. By means of this process, coining, a new term comes intoexistence.The second process belongs to translation proper. It consists in looking in thevocabulary of the target language for a term equivalent to the one in the sourcelanguage. For example, if the translator wants to render the logical term “proposition”into Arabic he should be aware that an equivalent term does exist in Arabic: it hasexisted since the Abbasid period, when translations of logic, philosophy, astronomy,medicine and other fields of learning flourished and were mostly done from Greek,Persian and Indian Languages, through Syrian into Arabic. If the translator lookscarefully into Arabic logical vocabulary he will find the term , used by the Arablogicians. This term does exist in Arabic. The translator is using here the process of translation. This method is normally used for the branches of learning which have along history.As stated above, it is important to keep the two processes apart. Termsreferring to new ideas and objects are normally coined. It is fruitless to search in thetarget for an equivalent, where none exists. New ideas and inventions require newnames, and names are coined. When physicist discovered “ atom”, the term wascoined for it in Arabic. Of course, all subsequent processes of equating “atom” withare translation. On the other hand, the modern translator renders grammaticalterms “sentence” and “verb” into Arabic as and . this is translation proper.   Coining Terms:  Coining new terms means creating new names for newly-born ideas andinventions. This process may take any one of the three forms:  (a) Borrowing: The term of the source language may be borrowed directly into thetarget language, with certain phonological changes to help the “foreign” term tomerge into the system of the target language. This method is widely usedespecially in spoken language, e.g. “radio”: , “television” . thismethod has often come under severe criticism because of the misconception that borrowing would “corrupt” the Arabic language and spoil its purity. In the past,the Arab translators (who were also scientists, doctors, historians andmathematicians) did not hesitate to borrow from other languages: they borrowed , , , and many other terms. Some of these havesurvived and the others were replaced by new terms (e.g. has beenreplaced by and by ). Usage is the decisive factor in the survival of a term. (b)  Neologisms: An old term may be given a new sense, e.g. is used in modernArabic as equivalent of “car” in English. Before the invention of cars,meant “a caravan of camels”. This is also true of (tank), which in older Arabic denoted a creature which crawled. (c) Translations: A term may be coined in the target language by translating the senseand structure of the term in the source language. This method has a long historyin Arabic. It was used by the old Arab translators in coining such terms as(pia mater), (Ursa Major) and (Ursa Minor). Inmodern times it is used in coining many terms, e.g. “ wireless”,(The United Nations), (North AtlanticTreaty Organization).The new coinage must have the main characteristics of a technical term, whichare the following: (i) The new coinage should not be a too familiar form because such formstend to be vague (having an indeterminate sense) or ambiguous (havingmore than one interpretation). Thus all technical terms look to a certaindegree unfamiliar to a layman.(ii)The new term should adhere to the phonological, morphological andsyntactical structure of the target language vocabulary.(iii)The new term should have a unique denotation within the field which it isused. For example, the term “morphology” should have only one sense inlinguistics. It can have a different sense in zoology, for example.   Translating Terms: The process of translating technical terms in its narrow sense involves findingfor a source language term an equivalent term in the target language. It is assumed  here that there exists an equivalent in the target language. Two types of technicalterms my be distinguished in the process of translation. The first type consists of terms which have a cross-cultural recognition. They belong to a universalterminology. They are not cultural-specific. Scientific, medical, technological termsand terms referring to international organizations (e.g. the United Nations) belong tono particular culture. They are universal. The second type of terms is culture specific.These include terms belonging to the grammars of different languages, for example.Thus English grammatical terms are the property of English, so are Arabicgrammatical terms. Historical terms normally belong to the second type, e.g.“landlord” belongs to English history, it may or not have an equivalent in Arabichistory, for instance. Translating universal terms raises no serious problem. The termin the source language and that in the target language are regarded as equivalent. Thusand “The United Nations” are translation equivalents; so areand “The Security Council”, AIDS, and“reaction”, and earthquake and and “spaceship ”. The second type of terms, which is culture-specific may raise serious problemsfor a translator. The main reason for this difficulty is that the source language termand the target language term are rarely translation equivalents since each term belongsto the language and culture in which it occurs. Thus properly speaking, and“morphology” are not equivalent: nor are and “pronouns”. This is also true of “plural” and “ masculine and feminine” and for example,“plural” in English means “more than one” ; in Arabic it means “more than two’. Theterm “masculine” in English has normally the feature plus human. The Arabic termlacks such a feature and is based on the form of the word. It may be said that ithas the feature plus-minus human; which means it can be used for words with humanor non-human referents. This is also true of literature and politics. The terms“parliament” and may be only formally equivalent but they are different incontent. Any translation of these terms would be misleading unless they are differentin content. Any translation of these terms would    be misleading unless they arecarefully defined. A translator who renders “grammar” into Arabic as ” " shouldexplain in what sense the source language and the target language terms are beingused.Research conducted on English /Arabic translation lends support to the view that theneed for translation is on the rise. Al-Salman (2002,p99) says, While acknowledging that the global market has givenrise to the use of English as an international language, itis imperative that the need for translation from Englishinto other languages and vice versa has become a pressing necessity. This is actualized with the transfer of technology especially when the language of thesending countries is not that of the receiving ones, and when most of all the world’stechnical documentation is produced in English. Regarding the effect of globalizationon today’s translation, Wiersema(2003, 1) reports that, Because of the current trend of globalization, the translator   no longer has the absoulute need to always find a translationof a term in the target language if this could make the target-language text lose credibility. These translatios contribute toa better an more correct understaning of the source cuture He concludes that “ in our globzlized world, transation is the key to understanding and learning foreign cultures… and that globalization decreases the element of  foreignness in translation ”(p6).In conclusion, English has explicitly esablished itself as a global language for manyreasons, As the Arab culture is being profoundly modified and modern technology is being increasingly introduced, new technical terms are being adopted as well.With this back ground in mind, it is of paramount importance to assess the role of trranslation from and into English within the context of globalization. The idea is to provide valid arguments as to whether or not transalation will continue to play a vitalrole in facilitating communication among peoples of the world who fail tocminnunicate and first-hand through the global meduin of Engish.    As the Arab culture is being profoundly modified and modern technology isbeing increasingly introduced, new technical terms are being adopted as well.But these terms are predominantly a mixture of transliterations and borrowinge.g. “ ” “petrol satation” is compounded from the English word“benzine” and the Arabic word “” “station”. However, these terms,regardless of their readiness to catch up with Arabic paradigmatic moulds,can by no means encompass the whole body of English technical andscientific literature.References: •  Al-Salman,S. (2002) Scientific and technical translation between theoryand practice. In J.Chabas,R &J Ray (Eds.) Proceedings of the SecondInternational Conference on Specialized Translation(99-109)Barcelona:Universitat Pompeu Favra. •  Aziz,Y. and M. Lataiwish. (2006) Principles of translation. University of Garyounis Publication. • Pearson, Jennifer (1998). Terms in context. Amsterdam / Philadelphia:John Benjamins. • Wiersema, N. (2003). Globalization and translation: A discussion of theeffect of globalization on today’s translaotors. De Linguaan, 1-7.Wikipedia CD Collection 2006.


Mar 9, 2018
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