AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 2. May 2023 Pp.122- 136

A Critical Analysis of Saudi Legal Terms and their English Translations

Department of English, College of Language Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Department of English, College of Language Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


The differences between the Arabic and English linguistic systems and legal cultures have long been a fundamental challenge in legal translation. Examining how the dissimilarities between the Saudi and English legal cultures affect the Arabic-English legal translation has received little attention from researchers. Therefore, this critical analysis aims to examine the Arabic-English translation of 12 Saudi legal articles to identify the linguistic and cultural factors involved in the translation process. Since research that addresses the difficulties and challenges of translating the legal discourse is of undeniable significance and studies that examined the Saudi legal discourse and its translation are scarce; therefore, this study attempts to contribute to the literature by analyzing several Saudi Legal Articles and their English translations to define the challenges of translating legal terms from Arabic into English. The study adopted Šarčević’s (2000) functional equivalence framework to study the Saudi Legal Articles and their official English translations. This framework was selected because it is well suited to examine the equivalent level of the legal terms and their translations, which is the main objective of this study. This study attempts to analyze different legal terms that characterize the selected Saudi legal articles and their official English translations. The investigated legal terms include religious, culture-specific, archaic, and doublets. This study revealed that translating Arabic religious and culture-specific terms and doublets is challenging, whereas translating Arabic archaic words is much easier.

Cite as:

Alharbi, B. F., & BinMasad, S. (2023). A Critical Analysis of Saudi Legal Terms and their English Translations Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (2):  122- 136.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no2.9


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Badr Flaij Alharbi is an assistant professor of English and Translation at the Department of English, College of Language Sciences, King Saud University. He obtained his PhD in Linguistics from Arizona State University, USA. His research interests lie in the field of critical discourse analysis, analysis of online discourse, and discourse and translation.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9942-0384

 Sarah BinMasad is a postgraduate student at the Department of English, College of Language Sciences, King Saud University. She obtained her BA in English Language and Translation from King Saud University. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Translation at King Saud University. She is interested in translation, legal translation, and corpus linguistics. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0009-0006-5882-1057