Translating technical terms into Arabic: Microsoft Terminology Collection (English-Arabic) as an example


  • Sameh Saad Hassan Suez Canal University, Egypt


technical translation, Arabicisation, Arabic-expanding techniques, Microsoft Terminology Collection (MTC)


The main aim of this paper is to explore the techniques used in translating English technical terms into Arabic in the Microsoft Terminology Collection (MTC) (English-Arabic) as an example of comprehensive multilingual resources of technical terminology on the Web. MTC is a well-known online IT-glossary available on the Microsoft Language Portal in over ninety languages. It provides users with the opportunity to perform quick searches between different languages and to download files that integrate with Microsoft products and computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. Some examples of MTC terms in Arabic are examined by the researcher to identify the kinds of translation strategies that MTC follows in order to translate technical terms into Arabic as well as the appropriateness of these strategies to their translation situations through comparison of different translations for the same SL term. The analysis of selected examples from MTC shows that in the Arabic translations of technical terms, MTC uses translation, Arabicisation, and Arabic-expanding techniques inconsistently, either in providing more than one translation for a standard technical term within the same translation situation or in using different translation strategies for similar technical terms in similar translation situations. Results show that it is more appropriate to use translation and/or Arabic-expanding techniques (mainly derivation and compounding) with technical terms derived from common linguistic roots in the source language (SL) to preserve the integrity and authenticity of Arabic as a target language (TL) at a time of a marked increase in the number of SL technical terms, while methods of Arabicisation should only be used with SL proper nouns or any word derived from them to solve problems of non-equivalence at word level between Arabic and English.