Inaccuracy in the Translation of Dentistry Terms from English into Arabic

Ayman R. Nazzal, Mohammad F. Khmous


This study investigates the inaccuracies manifested in the translation of dental terms from English into Arabic by Palestinian dentists. It underscores the fact that the translation of dental terms is part and parcel of technical translation; and accounts for the major causes and provides an adequate solution for such inaccuracies.

The findings of the study point out the shortcomings of using different dental translation strategies simultaneously for the same term and point out that the experience and the institutional background of the dentists have a profound impact on the accuracy of translating dental terms. The findings have also underlined the difference between technical and conventional translation rules. While the study points out that dentists have used Arabicisation, transliteration, and descriptive translation strategies for the accomplishment of adequate equivalences in the translation of dental terms, it has shown also that Arabicisation is highly neglected and rarely used by dentists in comparison with the other two translation strategies. Transliteration is the most common especially among specialists and descriptive is mainly used by dentists with non-specialists.

The methodology used in this study relied heavily on the data taken from a pilot study, carried out through the distribution of a questionnaire to a hundred dentists at the American University in the city of Jenin and in the city of Nablus on the West Bank, followed with a number of personal interviews with a number of dentists.

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