AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 4. October 2023 Pp.61-76

How the Saudi EFL Students at Undergraduate Level Translate English Proverbs into Arabic: Problems, Strategies and Solutions

Sultan Samah A Almjlad

Department of Languages and Translation
Northern Border University, Arar, Saudi Arabia


This study aims to explore some obstacles that Saudi translation department students encounter when translating proverbs from Arabic into English and the types of strategies they employ when translating. To achieve the goals of this study, the researcher selected a random sample of 20 students studying in the Department of Languages and Translation at Northern Border University. The researcher employed a translation test that consisted of ten famous English proverbs. The students were asked to translate these proverbs from English into Arabic. Finally, the researcher also conducted semi-structured interviews with five translation experts to obtain more information about the obstacles, causes, and strategies the students employed to translate proverbs from Arabic to English. The analysis included an analysis of the translation tests using SPSS in addition to the analysis of the interviews using thematic analysis. The findings showed that the students’ attempts to interpret the proverbs acceptably failed, especially those that depend on the cultural dimension, i.e., those that need an understanding of the cultures of both the target languages and the source language. However, they failed to translate the proverbs acceptably due to the nature of the wrong strategies they employed, such as literal translation and rewording strategies. Finally, based on the results, this study provided some practical recommendations to improve the level of the students in translating the idiomatic translation for the university students and develop their skills in this regard.

Cite as:

Almjlad,S.S.A.  (2023). How the Saudi EFL Students at Undergraduate Level Translate English Proverbs into Arabic: Problems, Strategies and Solutions.  Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (4): 61-76.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no4.5


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Sultan Samah A. Almjlad is currently working as an assistant professor of Modern Languages and Translation in the Department of Languages and Translation at Northern Border University in Saudi Arabia. He got PhD from the University of Limerick in Ireland in 2022. He is interested in the philosophy of Arabic-English translation and vice versa education, translation strategies, and translator training. Additionally, he is interested in implementing blogging as interactive software in academic writing and translation classes, and. He is also currently an associated member of the Applied Languages Centre at the University of Limerick in Ireland.