The Ambiguity of Gender in English - Arabic Translation

Abstract

Most linguists consider Gender as a grouping of nouns into classes of masculine, feminine, and sometimes neutral such that the choice of a noun of a given class syntactically has an effect on the form of some other words or elements of the sentence or discourse (such as articles, adjectives, and pronouns). The objective of this work is to draw the attention of translators and students of translation to the significance of the context in disambiguating the gender of the first person singular pronoun when translating from English into Arabic. This will lead to improvement in the quality of texts translated from English into Arabic. We shall first discuss the translation problems due to types of gender especially grammatical, pronominal and social gender. We will move on to the overview containing various views of this linguistic area in both Arabic and English, then a description of the approach and the data follows . We conclude this paper with some remarks on the role of the context in determining gender. Finally, we are going to analyze three sentences translated by a group of students in the Dept. of translation, College of Arts, Universty of Mosul trying to disambiguate the gender of each sentence searching the clue to help the translator choose the appropriate Arabic translation of each English sentence.