Translating Canned & Packed FoodProducts’ Labels from Arabic into English: Problems and Strategies

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Hadeel Sleeman Abdulrahman

This study investigates the issue of translated labels of canned and packed food products, with reference to translation strategies and translation problems, which are examined by analyzing a corpus of 70 English-Arabic labels/brochures of food products. The study illustrated the translation strategies adopted in translating food products labels/brochures; it also shed light on common and frequent translation problems in order to help translators achieve more appropriate and adequate translations. Through analyzing the corpus of this study, the descriptive approach was adopted to explain translation problems that translators face during translating labels/brochures of food products. Thus, after analyzing the labels, the researcher collected the samples and classified them. The researcher, in some cases, suggested translations that were adequate suggested. Furthermore, to be clear about how labels/brochures help consumers, (15) personal interviews with consumers, translators and marketers were conducted to get a closer image. The analysis of the study corpus reveals out that translation problems are definitely due to faulty application of translation strategies as well as inappropriate equivalent vocabulary, which either occur because of translators’ lack of knowledge, or on deliberate manipulation to tempt consumers to buy a certain product. Finally the analysis reveals that one major translation problem of food labels refers to foreign and culture specific concepts alongside borrowing. So that, cultural and linguistic knowledge is required to solve problems of translating and to produce target texts free of misleading concepts as well. Recommendations to future researchers and translators were put forth.