Translation of English fiction titles into Arabic


  • Mohammed Farghal Kuwait University
  • Hiba Bazzi Kuwait University


translation, titles, English, Arabic, procedure


The purpose of this paper is to explore the translation procedures that are followed when rendering English fiction titles into Arabic. One hundred English fiction titles were collected and set against their Arabic counterparts. The quantitative analysis shows that the translation procedure employed in 60% of the sample is literal translation. The other translation procedures feature adaptation (20%), use of related words (12%), paraphrase/explication (5%), and transliteration alone (3%). Qualitatively, the analysis reveals that literal translation works very well when the title is lexically and culturally transparent. By contrast, adaptation is called for when the title includes culture-bound references or allusions. With regards to related words, they are employed when the title is lexically intricate or when a related word would render the title more attractive. The analysis also indicates that while explication may render a title more natural and attractive, paraphrase may produce flat and unnatural titles. Transliteration, for its part, is shown to work well with proper nouns, although it may need to be supplemented by other procedures in some cases. Other things being equal, commercial and marketing factors need to be taken into consideration when formulating as well as when translating a title.