Translating Restaurants' Menus From English Into Arabic: Problems And Strategies

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Kefaya Adeeb Hafeth Saleh

This study tends to identify the primary problems that face menus' translators depending on the assumption that translating menus and food terms from English into Arabic is a problematic issue. Moreover; it aims to evaluate the main strategies used in translating menus in order to judge their accuracy, faithfulness and appropriateness to the menu as a genre. The study is based on textual analysis of the corpus that includes 19 of restaurant menus in four different Arab cities: Nablus and Ramallah in Palestine, Amman in Jordan and Sharm - El- Sheikh in Egypt. The English food terms are compared with their Arabic translations and alternative translations are being suggested where is necessary and suitable. The findings reveal that the main problems of translating menus are related to brand names, proper names, culture-specific concepts and ambiguous and semantically related terms. It also shows that seven strategies are used in translating menus. However, the source –oriented strategies such as transliteration and borrowing are the most frequent. The examination of the strategies proves that each strategy has positive or negative interpretations depending on the context of use. Finally, the study concludes that the attentive reading of the source text and the good knowledge of linguistic and cultural aspects of menus on the part of translators will help to solve the problems of translating food terms and to produce satisfactory target texts which are free from errors and/or misleading and weak renderings. The recommendations built on these conclusions, the researcher hopes, will improve the process of translating menus by opening the doors for advanced research in this field from different dimensions.

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