Difficulties Faced by Translators in Addressing Structurally Ambiguous Sentences in Literary Texts


Structural ambiguity (also called syntactic ambiguity or grammatical ambiguity) is two or more possible meanings within a single sentence or a sequence of words as opposed to lexical ambiguity, which is two or more possible meanings within a single word .The intended meaning of a structurally ambiguous phrase can be identified by the context of its use. Structural ambiguity results from a poor word choice .If the sentences in which they are used are not properly constructed, the structure of the sentence will be confusing for readers or listeners .For example, "the professor said on Monday he would give an exam ", this sentence means either it was on Monday the professor told the class about the exam or that the exam would be given on Monday. This paper attempts to investigate the difficulties of the structural ambiguity in literary texts. Ambiguity is valuable specifically in literature because it gives us more to discuss or think about. If everything is completely clear, there’s no need to talk or think about afterward.Ambiguity is an interesting topic and the study about ambiguity has a long history. It could be traced back to ancient Greek period .Plato is regarded as the first philosopher who studied ambiguity.This paper is an attempt to show some difficulties of structural ambiguity face the translators when handling a literary text to translate in English and Arabic. So the application is made to sentences contain ambiguity in the structure of literary texts from the novel "Death on the Nile" by Agatha Christie.