Mediating punctuation in English Arabic translation

Jamal Alqinai

Abstract


In this article we investigate some of the salient differences in punctuation between Arabic and English. Although both languages share many of the basic punctuation marks such as the period, the comma, and the question and exclamation marks, Arabic has its own method of punctuation which is not strictly governed by the same rules as in English. Even punctuation marks that were transferred from European languages through translation have been adapted to the writing conventions of Arabic. The comma, quotation marks and parentheses have been utilized with multiple and sometimes overlapping functions, but other marks like the apostrophe and the semicolon have rarely if ever been used in original Arabic texts. In some cases, English punctuational marks are either deleted or substituted by Arabic lexical insertions. Our study examines how meaning is realigned and structure reordered while translating between English and Arabic in order to retain the function of missing punctuation marks in the TT.

Keywords


punctuation, translation

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