The Function of Modality in Translation

Mohamed Abdou Moindjie


Modality deals with the assessment of the intrinsic and extrinsic meanings of a statement in terms of control over a situation and judgement of truth value. This paper focuses on the functionality and translatability of expressing modality from Arabic into English and French to determine its effects in translation. The analyses are carried out on literary translations from Arabic into English and French. The data reflective to the occurrence of expressing modality are identified, collected, categorized and analyzed. The analysis reveals that there are more modality use in the English translations than in the Arabic source texts and French target texts, which reflects some aspects of Arabic language and French language peculiarities on the one hand and some aspects of English language peculiarities on the other hand. Moreover, the frequent use of modality in English is found to be more functional in that it enhances more the meaning.

Keywords: Modality translatability, language peculiarity, probability, obligatoriness, willingness, usuality, Arabic English translation, Arabic French translation

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