AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number4. October  2021                                     Pp.27-45

Investigating the Translation Strategies Used in Rendering Cultural Bound Expressions in Barghouthy’s Memoire I Was Born There, I Was Born Here

Mohammed S. El Haj Ahmed

Department of English
Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza, PNA

Rola A. Mansour

Department of English
Gaza University of Gaza, Gaza, PNA


This study investigates the translation strategies used in translating 25 cultural references and expressions in Mourid Barghouty’s autobiography ‘I Was Born There, I Was Born Here’ (2009) from Arabic into English. The results of this research may assist the trainee translators to improve their understanding of the effect of culture on the quality of the translation. The researchers adopt two theoretical models: Venuti’s domestication and foreignization (1998) and Ivir’s (1987) procedures for the translation of cultural references. This study tries to find out to what extent the translation has accounted to render the original cultural bound expressions maintaining their meaning in the target language. The researchers adopt a qualitative research since the data analysis is based on analytical and descriptive approaches. After analyzing the selected data, the researchers find out that the domestication strategy has been the most frequently-used strategy at (52%), and foreignization comes second at (48%). The procedure of substitution has been used the most (seven times), followed by literal translation and borrowing with the same number of times (six times), then defining the elements of culture (four times), then omission (twice). Lexical creation and addition have not been used at all. The findings also show that the translator has managed to capture the intended meaning sought by the original author in most extracts. The researchers recommend that translators of culture-bound expressions should be aware of the two involved cultures. This helps them to determine the cultural context in which a text takes place, so they can achieve the closest equivalents in the target text.

Cite as:

Ahmed, M. S. E., & Mansour, R. A. (2021).  Investigating the Translation Strategies Used in Rendering Cultural Bound Expressions in Barghouthy’s Memoire I Was Born There, I Was Born Here. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (4) 27-45.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no4.3


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Appendix A: Translation strategies used to translate the selected sample


Dr. Mohammed S. El Haj Ahmed is an associate professor of translation at the Islamic University of Gaza. He obtained his BA in English language and literature at the IUG in 1988, his MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Khartoum in 1995, and his Ph.D. in Translation Studies at the University of Salford, UK, in 2009. Since 1997 Dr. El Haj Ahmed has been involved in teaching, supervising and publishing several papers on Translation and Interpreting. He also served as the head of the English Department.

Rola A. Mansour is a part time instructor at Gaza University. She obtained her BA in English language and Translation at Gaza University in 2013 and her MA in Translation Studies at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in 2020. Mrs. Mansour worked as an interpreter for two years between 2013- 2015. She also worked as a freelance translator between 2015- 2018.