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The Problems of Translating Medical Terms from
English into Arabic

ARGEG, GARSA,MOUSBAH (2015) The Problems of Translating Medical Terms from
English into Arabic.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This study tackles the problems of translating medical terms from English into Arabic a. It uses an evaluative approach to investigate and discuss the problems and intricacies of translating medical terms from English into Arabic. The purpose of the study is to display the difficulties of translating medical terms and how they were tackled by postgraduate students who are competent in medical translation and professional Arabic translators who work in the medical field. The study adopts a qualitative-quantitative approach. It focuses on different types of medical terms, excluding pharmacy-related terms. In order to find out and identify the real difficulties behind translating medical terms and how they could be approached by experienced translators, the researcher utilized a questionnaire test that included a set of English medical terms to be translated into Arabic by students who were doing a PhD in translation. The same questionnaire was also given to a group of professional Arabic translators. As medical terms are the key components of medical texts, the questionnaire included forty-five diversified English medical terms taken from different medical reports, namely National Health Service (NHS) leaflets and flyers and World Health Organization (WHO) reports for 2007 and 2008. The official Arabic translations of these documents were used to assess the translations given by the subjects in comparison to and contrast with some medical dictionaries and reliable medical websites. The population of the study included 54 postgraduate students (doing PhDs in Arabic translation) in Libyan (the researcher’s origin country) and UK universities and 12 Arabic translators working in UK hospitals and clinics.
The results from the data analysis showed that the translation of the medical terms posed real difficulties and challenges for the students and inexperienced professional translators although the experienced professional translators found them comparatively straightforward. Hence, the result highlights the problems of translating medical terms from English into
Arabic and the importance of training to work in the medical field as a translator. Also, the study concluded that literal translation, the heavy use of transliteration, inconsistency, the students’ lack of sufficient experience and practice in medical translation, and lack of up-to date English-Arabic medical dictionaries are factors that have given rise to problems in medical translation. Also, the study showed that almost no professional translators use CAT tools or MT to help them translate the medical terms.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:medical translation Arabic-English
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Jun 2015 09:44

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