Influence of Sociocultural Differences in Translating Euphemistic Expressions from English into Arabic in “A Grain of Wheat"

Sameerah Jabbar Anber, Muna Abdual Hussein Swear


The study investigated the sociocultural differences in translating Euphemistic expressions from English into Arabic. Particularly, the study took the novel “A Grain of Wheat” to show the differences of these expressions usage by two translators from different cultures. The study adapts a qualitative approach applied in Leppihalme’s (1997) and Unseth’s (2006) translation strategies to focus on the sociocultural differences in translating expressions as; Death, Sex, Human body, Bodily function, since they are the most popular Euphemistic expressions in each culture. The results show that both translators employed omission and literal strategy frequently which may not express euphemistic words functionally. Additionally, both translators attempted to translate the euphemistic expressions semantically at the expense of rendering them adequately into the target culture. However, inspite of the similarities and differences in the employment of translation strategies in translating the euphemistic expressions by both translators, Syrian translation is apparently better delivered than the Iraqi translation. Hence, the findings suggested that knowledge and competence of the translators in handling sociocultural differences as well as the employment of effective strategies such as those proposed by Leppihalme and Unseth are indispensable tools for solving the problems of translating euphemistic expressions.

Keywords: Sociocultural differences, translation studies, euphemistic expressions

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