AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 4. October 2023 Pp.121-131

Translation of Substitution and Ellipsis by Professional Translators and Translators in Training: A Contrastive Study

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


Creating a coherent and logically connected text requires the effective use of cohesive devices. Accurate translation of cohesive devices is essential to preserve the intended meaning of the original text. The present study investigates errors made by professional translators and novice translators when translating substitution and ellipsis from English into Arabic. Specifically, the study aims to answer the research question: What are the errors made by professional translators and translators in training when translating substitution and ellipsis? To gather data, the researcher conducted a survey and included a sample of both professional translators and translators in training. The results show that both groups had difficulty accurately translating substitution and ellipsis. The most prevalent errors included preserving the English sentence structure, omitting the cohesive device entirely, and modifying the meaning of the original text. Notably, both groups found identifying and translating ellipses particularly challenging, which led to errors in the final translation. Experienced translators produced higher quality translations than novice translators, indicating the significant impact of experience on the translation process. Based on the findings, the study recommends providing targeted training on cohesive devices through practical exercises to improve accuracy and offer more opportunities for practice in a supportive environment. Addressing these challenges can enhance the quality of translations and preserve the meaning of the original text.

Cite as:

Aldosari, L. A. (2023). Translation of Substitution and Ellipsis by Professional Translators and Translators in Training: A Contrastive Study. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (4): 121-131. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no4.9


Abbas, J., Yasin, M., & Ismail, K. (2016). Arabic Language Influence on the Iraqi EFL Tertiary Learners’ Use Of Grammatical Cohesive Devices in Their Argumentative Essays. International Editorial and Advisory Board, 4(1), 28-35. https://doi.org/10.26417/ejser.v6i1.p56-64

Ahmed, A. (2010). Students’ Problems with Cohesion and Coherence in EFL Essay Writing in Egypt: Different Perspectives. Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal, 1(4), 211-221.

Al-Zankawi, M. (2018). An Investigation of EFL Writing Strategies and Cohesion of Kuwaiti Undergraduate Students, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation).Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Al‐Jarf, R. (2001). Processing of cohesive ties by EFL Arab college students. Foreign language annals, 34(2), 141-151. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2001.tb02819.x

Algryani, A. (2020). Remarks on the Translation of Noun Phrase Ellipsisfrom English into Arabic. Arab World English Journal for Translation and Literary Studies, 4(1), 124-136. http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol4no1.3

Ali, W. (2021). The Concept of Cohesion and Coherence in Modern Linguistics with Reference to English and Kurdish. International Journal of Social Sciences and Educational Studies, 8(4), 276-286. https://doi.org/10.23918/ijsses.v8i4p276

Almutairi, N. (2017). Discourse Analysis of Cohesive Devices in Saudi Student’s Writing. World Journal of Educational Research, 4(4), 516-523. https://doi.org/10.22158/wjer.v4n4p516

Alqasham, F., Al-Ahdal, A., &Babekir, A. (2021). Coherence and Cohesion in Saudi EFL Learners’ Essay Writing: A Study at a Tertiary-level Institution. Asian EFL Journal, 28(11), 8-25.

Alshayban, A. (2022). Arabic-Speaking EFL Learners Recognition, and Use of English PhrasalVerbs in Listening and Writing. World Journal of English Language12(7), 1-55.

Bacha, N., Cortazzi, M., &Nakhle, F. (2002). Academic Lexical Literacy: Investigating the Cohesion of Arabic Speakers’ Essays in English. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 3(1), 119-152.

Bahaziq, A. (2016). Cohesive Devices in Written Discourse: A Discourse Analysis of a Student’s Essay Writing. English Language Teaching, 9(7), 112-119. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v9n7p112

Baker, M. (2018). In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation (3rd ed.). Routledge.

Coulthard, M. (1977). An Introduction to Discourse Analysis. London: Longman.

Dahaam, Z., Shihab, O., &Muhaamed, H. (2019). Problems and Strategies of Translating Mutual Ellipsis in the Glorious Qur’an into English. Journal of Al-Frahedis Arts, 1(34), 413-390.

De Beaugrande, R.,& Dressler, W. (1981). Introduction to text linguistics. London: Longman Group Limited.

Ebadallah, E. (2021). Investigating DifficultiesFacing EFL Students in Using CohesionCategories in WrittenDiscourse, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Sudan University of Science &Technology, Sudan.

Fayed, B., &Elkut, M. (2019). Lack of coherence in a translated text. Journal of Human Sciences, 18(2), 757-776.

Grabe, W., & Kaplan, R. (2017). Theory and practice of writing: an applied linguistic perspective. Routledge.

Halliday, M., & Hasan, R. (1976). Cohesion in English. Routledge.

Hatch, E. (1992). Discourse and language education. Cambridge University Press.

Hatim, B., & Mason, I. (1990). Discourse and the Translator. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315846583

Hatim, B., & Mason, I. (1997). The translator as communicator. Routledge.

Henry, A. (2018). The re-mark-able rise of ‘…’: reading ellipsis marks in literary texts. In J. Bray, M. Handley, & A. Henry (Eds.), Ma(r)king the Text (pp. 120-142). Routledge.

Hoey, M. (2001). Textual interaction: An introduction to written discourse analysis. Psychology Press.

Islami, K., Saleh, M., &Linggar Bharati, D. (2022). The Use of Cohesive Devices in Descriptive Text by English Training Participants at PST”. English Education Journal, 12(1), 96-103. https://doi.org/10.15294/eej.v12i1.49052

Iversen, S. (2021). Problems for ellipsis, (Unpublished Bachelor’s thesis).NorwegianUniversity of Science and Technology, Norway.

Jabeen, I., Mehmood, A., & Iqbal, M. (2013). Ellipsis, reference & substitution as cohesive devices the bear by Anton Chekhov. Academic Research International, 4(6), 123-131.

Khalil, A. (1989). A study of cohesion and coherence in Arab EFL college students’ writing. System, 17(3), 359-371. https://doi.org/10.1016/0346-251X(89)90008-0

Khawalda, M. I., & Al-Saidat, E. M. (2012). Structural ambiguity interpretation: a case study of Arab learners of English. Global Journal of Human Social Science, 12(6), 0-6.

Khuwaileh, A., &Shoumali, A. (2000). Writing errors: A study of the writing ability of Arab learners of academic English and Arabic at university. Language Culture and Curriculum, 13(2), 174-183. https://doi.org/10.1080/07908310008666597

Kruger, H., &Crots, E. (2014). Professional and personal ethics in translation: a survey of South African translators’ strategies and motivations. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus, 43(1), 147-181.

Kunz, K., & Steiner, E. (2013). Cohesive substitution in English and German: a contrastive and corpus-based perspective. Advances in corpus-based contrastive linguistics. Studies in honor of Stig Johansson. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 201-232.

Larson, M. (1984). Meaning based translation. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McNamara, D., &Kintsch, W. (1996). Learning from texts: Effects of prior knowledge and text coherence. Discourseprocesses, 22(3), 247-288. https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539609544975

McNamara, D., Grasser, A., McCarthy, P., & Cai, Z. (2014). Automated evaluation of text and discourse with Coh-Metrix. Cambridge University Press.

Menzel, K. (2016). Understanding English-German contrasts a corpus-based comparative analysis of ellipses as cohesive devices, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation).SaarlandUniversity, Germany.

Munday, J. (2016). Introducing translation studies: Theories and applications. Routledge.

Mustafa, A., Arbab, A., & El Sayed, A. (2022). Difficulties in Academic Writing in English as a Second/Foreign Language from the Perspective of Undergraduate Students in Higher Education Institutions in Oman. Arab World English Journal, 13(3) 41-53. https://doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol13no3.3

Neubert, A., & Shreve, G. (1992). Translation as text (No. 1). Kent State University Press. Chicago.

Newmark, P. (1981). Approaches to translation (Language Teaching methodology sense). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Nida, E. (1974). Words and thoughts. The Bible Translator, 25(3), 339-343.

Nijat, N., Karimi, A., &Monib, W. (2022). Cohesion in News Articles: A Discourse Analysis of Two News Articles From BBC And TOLO News About Overturning The Courts’ Decision For Ahmad Omar Sheikh. Aksara: JurnalIlmuPendidikan Nonformal, 8(1), 7-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.37905/aksara.8.1.7-18.2022

Paramartha, I. (2017). Substitution as a cohesive device in the dialogue of the drama Pygmalion. Humanis, 11(1), 43-49.

Plakans, L., &Gebril, A. (2018). Exploring the relationship of organization and connection with scores in integrated writing assessment. Assessing Writing, 31, 98–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2016.08.005

Ronald, D. (2003). Tacit Misunderstandings: Problems of Ellipsis for Beginning and Intermediate ESL Learners. 広島女学院大学論集, 3(53), 27-43.

Shakir, A., &Obeidat, H. (1992). Aspects of cohesion and coherence in AFL student-written texts. al-‘Arabiyya, 1-28.

Tanskanen, S. (2006). Collaborating towards coherence: Lexical cohesion in English discourse (Vol. 146). John Benjamins Publishing.

Van Dijk, T. (1972). Some Aspects of Text Grammars. The Hague: Mouton.

Zumrah, Z., &Manurung, K. (2021). A Study On The Use Of Substitution Drill Technique In Teaching Grammar. English Language Teaching Society,9(3), 105-113. https://doi.org/10.22487/elts.v9i3.1885


Lama Abdullah Aldosari is a postgraduate student currently pursuing her studies in the English Language and Translation Department, College of Language Sciences at King Saud University. Her research interests primarily focus on translation quality assessment, a crucial area of study that involves evaluating translations to determine their accuracy, fluency, and overall effectiveness. Additionally, she is also deeply interested in translation pedagogy, which explores the most effective methods for teaching and learning the science of translation. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0009-0004-5422-2159