Arabic lexical doublets: Translation strategies

Hlsham A. Jawad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to explore the norms, strategies and procedures of translating lexical doublets in Arabic literary discourse. Lexical doublets are sets of two (near-) synonyms connected with θ'and', ¡ 'or', or the zero article. The empirical basis material for this study consists of a three-part autobiography (al-Ayyām, 'The Days') and a narrative (Hadīth 'Īsā ibn Hishām, ''Īsā ibn Hishām's Tale'). Findings show that patterns of repetition are shifted in the English translations, and various translation strategies are applied, the most common being grammatical transposition and reduction. A quantitative analysis of the translation of lexical doublets in three samples is also conducted. The samples are about 2500 words each, randomly selected from the three parts of the autobiography. The figures indicate that one translator (that of Part One) adopts a source text-oriented strategy while the other two translators prefer a shifting strategy. This may be seen as a useful indicator of the translations' orientation towards either adequacy or acceptability (Toury 1995).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-54
Number of pages22
JournalAcross Languages and Cultures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Arabic discourse
  • Lexical doublets
  • Translation strategies
  • Translational norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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