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The Affect of Verb ‘To Be’ on Translation Into the Arabic Language Report

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Updated: Dec 23rd, 2021

Introduction

As the Arabic people have many opportunities to read newspapers in English through the web, there is a growing pressure to translate the newspapers in English to Arabic. Additionally, all nations worldwide need the English language in order to be updated on the current news worldwide. Therefore, there is a need to translate any news material into a nation’s language. In this case, the English language will be translated to the Arabic language.

In most cases, the most important information in newspapers is often expressed in the headlines of the paper. These headlines normally have different characteristics styles from the ordinary sentences to express a lot of information in a clear and concise manner (Petersen, 2007). These styles normally prevent a syntactic parse from producing the suitable parse trees for these headlines, therefore decreasing the quality of the headlines. The solutions to these problems would be to somewhat extend the syntactic regulations in order to allow the parser to scrutinize any characteristic expression (Ahulu, 2008).

The aim of this research is to look into the importance of the verb ‘to be’ in relation to new headlines and if it affects the process of translation into another language. The headlines of newspapers are important and they should be capable to grasp what is in the article before a person reads the article. Additionally, the headline of an article serves as a sort of summary of what the reader expects in the newspaper itself. This paper will try to find out if the omission of certain words like ‘to be’ can actually have an effect in the process of translation from the English language to the Arabic language, and thus have a consequent effect on the authenticity and impact of the article itself.

Research Questions

Will the omission of the verb ‘to be’ be difficult or easier when translating English headlines into Arabic?

Method

The methods of data collection that will be used will be the use of questionnaires. Thirty international students will be required to fill the questionnaire and the sole aim of it will to be test how difficult they can translate the news headline with the verb ‘to be’ or without it. Additionally, these international students will need to evaluate if the test was difficult or not. These students will be chosen on the grounds that they are competent in the English language and that they have the ability to translate English into their native languages.

The investigation will be carried out using a quantitative research model and a survey that I will personally take. The data gathered will be quantified using a difficulty index to determine the degree of difficulty that was prevalent to my respondents (Davies, 2007).

Results

After the thirty students filled out the questionnaires and handed them over, it was quite evident that some of them had a rough time translating some newspapers heading into their native languages. Five out of the thirty international students were Arabs and they testified to the fact that because many publications had omitted the verb ‘to be’ when they translated the heading, some of the parts did not make any sense. The other twenty-five international students did not have much trouble translating the headlines into their native languages. Therefore, it is true that when newspapers omit the verb ‘to be’, it will be quite difficult to comprehend the heading after translating to other languages like Arabic.

Discussion

A rule in translation consists of the action part, the control instructions and the condition part. According to Clark (2009), the control instructions are the conviction factors and a set of the number of regulations or rules are preferred to the regulation. If a part of any input in the English language meets a condition, it is judged by the procedures that examine the syntactic and pholexical features of the part of the article (Clark, 2009). Translating actions are classified into the deletion, substitution, and addition of the English expressions.

After investigating twenty -four headlines of online news articles, I concluded that the verb ‘to be’ was omitted in the fifteen out of the twenty -four news articles I read. The expression that unites with the ‘to be’ functions is known as the key. The keys, which appeared in the fifteen headlines, can be categorized into several types: present participles, predicative adjectives, past participles of transitive verbs, to-infinitives, particles, and prepositional phrases (Elbadri, 2010).

The matching conditions of the translation rules are based on some characteristics of the newspaper headlines, which omitted the verb ‘to be’, that I found in this investigation. In the newspaper headlines where the verb ‘to be’ was omitted, there was a noun phrase before the key in question (Lange, Vasic & Avrutin, 2009). In some cases, there was an adverb between the noun phrase and the key in the headline.

When translating the omission of the verb ‘to be’ to a visible form restored the finite predicament and made it possible for the syntactic parser to identify it as a clause during translating to Arabic. The subject of the clause is because of a noun phrase, which met the condition. Therefore, putting in place the verb ‘is’ before ‘preparing’ allowed the parse during translation to recognize and identify ‘is preparing’ as the restored limited predicament and ‘government’ as the subject (Clark, 2009).

Example-US Government preparing for a new budget

The choice on the insertion of the verb ‘to be’ can be made if there would be a clause, which clashes with another latent clause. While the clause does not clash with the latent clause in the following headline: ‘Bush hopes to lift Iran’s sanctions soon’. In this clause the subject in the clause is ‘Bush hopes’ and whose predicament is ‘to lift’, relatively clashes with the clause consisting of ‘Bush’ as the subject and ‘hopes’ as its predicament. In such cases, the interpretation during translation becomes the visible clause. If no syntactic clash occurs, a clause in the headline does not clash with another clause because there is a separation by conjunction for example ‘as’ that automatically indicates a boundary in the clauses (Marshal, 2008).

Condition on the past participle

When the headline of a newspaper has a definite ambiguity between the finite form and the past participle, a conflict normally occurs between the latent clause and other clauses Clark, 2009). When such cases happen, the condition prevents the proper insertion of the verb ‘to be’ into the headlines. To determine this ambiguity, it will be good to examine if a noun phrase exists between the patterns of the verb and the candidate (Forbes, 2008). If the noun phrase exists behind the candidate in a sentence, the noun phrase becomes the object, and the verb ‘be’ is inserted.

A previous study on headlines

Among the first studies of headlines was by Straumann in the year 1935 (Davies, 2007). Straumann did a descriptive study on the grammar that was used in English newspapers. According to him, he described a discrepancy between the translations from English to Arabic in the newspapers. He noticed that several verbs were omitted in the headlines of English newspapers and when they were been translated into English, some headlines did not make any sense. Most headlines normally have interesting features. Additionally, many writers normally try to influence the way readers will process the headline (Khodabandeh & Robertson, 2007).

To write a headline properly, the editor should decide whether to put the verb ‘to be’ directly after the subject. However, in most cases, the inflectional form of this is decided based on any grammatical data or information such as aspect, tense, number of the subject, and the person been discussed. On the other hand, the present tense is only allowed when making a distinction between among ‘are’, ‘is’ and ‘am’ (Lange, Vasic & Avrutin, 2009). This is not abnormal due to the fact that some newspaper headlines usually express any events that happened in the past by using the present tenses (Clark, 2009).

Although the omission of the verb ‘to be’ can generally exist more that twice in a newspaper headline, I did not find this case in my investigation. Probably this is because there is a rule that is formulated whereby the verb ‘to be’ is generally inserted only once in a newspaper headline. Additionally, the matching conditions of any rewriting rule are based on some characteristics such as existence of the noun phrase before any key, the non-existence of clauses conflicting with any other clauses (Petersen, 2007). Furthermore, another basic characteristic will be the condition of using any verbs on the past participle tense (Lange, Vasic & Avrutin, 2009).

Conclusion

As the Arabic people have many opportunities to read newspapers in English through the web, there is a growing pressure to translate the newspapers in English to Arabic. Additionally, all nations worldwide need the English language on order to be updated on the current news worldwide. Therefore, there is a need to translate any news material into a nation’s language. In this case, the English language will be translated to the Arabic language. The aim of this research is to look into the importance of the verb ‘to be’ in relation to new headlines and if it affects the process of translation into another language. The method that was used in this research was the use of questionnaires.

The subjects who filled these questionnaires were thirty international students and the questionnaires necessitated them to translate some newspaper headlines to their native languages. Five out of the thirty international students were Arabs and they testified to the fact that because many publications had omitted the verb ‘to be’ when they translated the heading, some of the parts did not make any sense.

The other twenty-five international students did not have much trouble translating the headlines into their native languages. After investigating twenty -four headlines of online news articles, I concluded that the verb ‘to be’ was omitted in the fifteen out of the twenty -four news articles I read. The expression that unites with the ‘to be’ to functions is known as the key. All in all, it can prove to be difficult when the verb ‘to be’ is omitted in newspapers headlines because when translated the headlines will have a different meaning all together.

References

Ahulu, S. (2008). Styles of Standard English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bielsa, E. & Bassnet, S. (2009). Translation in global news. London: Routledge.

Clark, A. (2009). The crisis of translation in the western media: a critical discourse analysis of alQacida Communiques. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Davies, E. (2007). Leaving it out: on some justifications for the use of omission in translation. Babel.

Elbadri, M. (2010). News on the web in Arabic and English. Journal of Lingua. (N.P).

Forbes, D. (2008). Singlish. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Khodabandeh, F. & Robertson, P. (2007). A contraceptive analysis of English and Persian newspaper headlines. Journal of lingua.

Lange, J., Vasic, N & Avrutin, S. (2009). Reading between the headlines: a processing account of article omissions in newspaper headlines. Journal of lingua.

Marshall, C. (2008). Business English: a course in practical grammar and business correspondence for commercial schools. London: Routledge.

Petersen, D. (2007). Reading English news on the internet: a guide to connectors, verbs, expression and vocabulary for the ESL student. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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