Most of the time, translation can be a good thing since it exposes a whole new audience to material that they otherwise would nothave access to.Sometimes translation can be a sure way of losing the true meaning of a certain text.Bad translation can result from:
- Literal Translation This is where the translator attempts to find an Arabic word for every English technical term exactly, regardless of the meaning and context. In many cases this causes funny results. Examples in the computer technology world are "Mouse" becoming (فأرة), and "Hard Disk Drive" (دوارة أقراص صلبة), and "Monitor" (مرصد، مرقاب)
- Transliteration of Technical Standards This is where the translator uses Arabic characters to spell out the English term for every technical word.
Below, I am giving some examples of how Translation, specially in scientificand technical fields full of their own jargon and terminology, can be abane rather than a boon.
- Majallat Al 'Oloom Majallat Al 'Oloom is the Arabic translation of Scientific American published in Kuwait. It is very hard to follow the original meaning of much of the content.
- Computer Magazines All of us Computer Professionals and enthusiasts are familiar with the Arabic computer magazines that translate every term (Mouse, Drive, ...etc.)
- User Manuals Another area that often causes a lot of grief to Arabic speakers, is the area of so called "Arabized" Computer Manuals. To appreciate the magnitude of the problem, I plan to scan and include one painful example, time permitting: the User Manual for a Computer Color Monitor that I purchased a while back.
- Funny Joke One funny example, which I am sure you will enjoy, is the Joke portraying an Arabic speaker writing via e-mail to his friend and literally translating his thoughts in English. This joke is copied from the hilarious Nokat.Nos.Com Egyptian and Arabic Jokes site. You can enjoy more jokes there.