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Translation Arabic – English The case of idioms

ABSTRACT: Translation always involves a savoir-faire between form and meaning, context and register, culture and expression. This is especially the case when we are translating idioms, multiword structures that bear a meaning which can not be deduced from the components that constitute the unit to translate. In this regard knowing that we are before an idiom is the first step to a proper translation, but also considering the different possibilities we may encounter or the diverse options that the target language gives us for a particular case can be decisive to reach the goal of getting the most accurate translation. Providing an equivalent expression in some cases, paraphrasing in others situations or just offering the literal translation when its meaning is easily understood and cultural aspects are at stake are strategies to sort out this task.

Key words: English, Arabic, translation, phrasemes, idioms.

I. Introduction.

It is usually stated that a good translation is one which does not seem to be a translation, because of its high accuracy in expressing a meaning in a target language and also because the style, mental evocations and values connoted are the same or, at least, very near to the ones in the source language. This previous idea, which can be considered as true for any translation we need to carry out, is especially important when we are before idioms, which in this regard convey a problem that needs to be faced in a double perspective: meaning and style, form and content, literal sense and its figurative counterpart. The reason for this lays on the fact that idioms1 are expressing an idea in a more creative way, a way which was born in a precise cultural framework, something that can not be relegated when translating idiomatic expressions.

The aim of this brief article is to show examples of these two aspects, the expression and the meaning, and how they affect our translation process when we are to express this structures from a source text into a target text. For this purpose we offer expressions that belong to diverse styles and registers following the classification Newmark made (as quoted by Awwad 1989, p. 59) and focus on the translation of those non compositional phrasemes, idioms and sayings, when they are translated from Arabic into English.

II. Nature of idioms and its diversity.

Phrasemes are fixed structures which allow little or no variation and have a meaning that can not be deduced from the sum of the meanings of the single units that conform the whole. According to this definition, these units are multiword expressions, that is, they always consist of two or more lexemes that have different degree of fixation and hence those which are never supposed to change only do so when there is a precise intention from the speaker, be it humor or any other; those which do not change are said to be frozen2 . Their origin is deeply rooted in the creative force of language and can be tracked in legends, songs, slang, a historical event or any cultural context that serves as matrix of new expressions that arise after melting the individual components in an only expression in such a way that the new meaning is absolutely different from that of the elements that constitute it or keeps just the meaning of one of the components that integrate the complete expression. This is what we called opacity, non compositionality or idiomaticity, that is, the property of a new lexical sense that can not be deduced from the components that form the set, and this is an attribute which as fixation can appear in different degree. In certain cases, however, this new expression allows us to be able to infer both depending on the situation: the literal and the figurative sense, the idiomatic one.

In this regard, the context has a chief relevance when we meet an idiom in a given situation as if we fail in realizing an idiom as such it is impossible that we get the right translation: either we arrive to a wrong understanding of the text we are considering or we bring about a meaningless expression. The first step then is to be aware that we face one of these idiomatic expressions or saying and then pay attention to the context or situation in which it has been produced, with all the pragmatic elements and implications that are borne, which has been thought by certain authors to be the most important factor when studying these units and we aim to translate them into a given target language for a precise situation. The use of phrasemes as technicalities or part of slang, for example, is determinant to understand and reflect in a proper manner the sense of the expression, either with another idiom or in an indirect way that conveys the same meaning. The reader -or listener- of the target language should have the same understanding and feelings about the phraseme as the one of the source language3 , and that is why if possible phrasemes should always be translated as phrasemes avoiding paraphrasing the idea in most of the cases. Translating this kind of units into another phraseme in the target language is thus not the only aspect we deem necessary to make a proper translation, as pragmatic aspects are also to be taken into account.

Before going on, we would like to remind that the phrasemes with idiomaticity or lack of compositionality are mainly divided in two groups: on the one hand proper idioms and, on the other hand sayings, proverbs or aphorisms, which are studied by paremiology. The former group is characterized by a lack of syntactic independence and the latter by a full syntactic independence, that is, they can form whole sentences and do not need to be part of a higher clause. The common basis to both is that they differ in their literal and figurative meaning, and as we have seen not always in the same extent. Nevertheless, this division is usually neglected and the two types seen above fall under the name of idioms in most of the cases, as we do from now on.

III. Correspondence between source language and target language in idioms.

In this paragraph we tackle the main issue when translating idiomatic expressions, and to begin with we point out that once we have identified the idiom we think that if possible it should always be translated into another idiomatic expression in the target language. As we have already said, in this article we are dealing especially with idioms and proverbs, which are the phrasemes that present a high degree of opacity, be this partial or total opacity, and in this situations an idiom should always be translated as idiom and a proverb as a proverb in the target language, because the effects are different than those that arise from compositional structures.

According to Newmark (see Awwad 1989, p. 59), we can find four different possibilities when translating idiomatic expressions to another language: 1) expression and function coincide in target language and source language, 2) same function but different expression, 3) same function but slightly different expression, and 4) different function and expression in each language, that is, it is a language specific idiom. We are going to consider examples of each one of these expressions:

III.1. Expression and function coincide in both languages4.

We could say that the accomplishment of naturalness is one of the most important aims for a translator till the point that naturalness is in the core of the transfer of meaning we are to achieve. The translator should always search for the best possibility that the target languages is offering in order to reflect in the most faithful way the ideas of the source language. Those expressions which in TL and in SL are the same, that is, have the same components and bear the same meaning as a whole, are the clearest situation for the translator and so the option to be made seems to be the easiest, especially when cultural frameworks are near and the register or style we have to express allow us to do so in the TL. But some caution has also to be taken, as a problem similar to the one cognate words present can also emerge from this kind of idioms5 . For the case of Arabic into English we can observe these examples:

يعطي الضوء الاخضر

To give green light

اصطاد في الماء العكر

To fish in troubled waters

غيض من فيض

The tip of the iceberg

من زاوية مختلفة

From a different angle

الهدوء قبل العاصفة

Calm before the storm

Figure 1

These five examples show an equivalence in function and form, and therefore when translating the possibilities are very clear. But still we have consider factors as the frequency in use, the style of the text, register, etc. Maybe form and meaning coincide in both languages but it is also possible that while in one language the idiom is still in current use in the other language it is hardly used or it sounds old or archaic. When we are not quite sure if the TL has an identical idiom we are to have a look in a book of idioms or in a dictionary, but in this case in many occasions those books do not tell us the frequency of the idiom we are translating nor if it is used nowadays. The examples in Figure 1 could be considered as transparent because the figurative meaning is easy to infer from the expressions and, we may say, is quite common in most cultures, but still there is idiomaticity as the meaning of the expression can not be understood from the meaning of the constituent words. In this situation and once we already know the meaning of the idiom and identify it with one equivalent of the TL, the problem is not the sense of the idiom but how to be translated and till what point that equivalent is appropriate because of all the already stated reasons.

Here we have to be careful because we can be dealing with false friends, as we have said above6 , although false friends between Arabic and English are more commonly known in an only word. Colonization and foreign presence in the Middle East are the main sources of fully accepted words especially in the dialects spoken in the Arab world, and this is can be the main source of foreign idioms that are finally incorporated to Arabic. In this sense English has strong influence in the Arab world and there are many English words in the so called Arabic dialects, which can be considered as different languages if observed closely, that are used in everyday communication. Arabic speakers study the classic Arabic, or fusha, in the school, which is the written and more cultivated form of Arabic and which is used for very formal situations, as academic purposes. It is also the Arabic most of foreigners study and the one that is used as lingua franca between Arabs of different countries. But most of Arabs apart from this also called Modern Standard Arabic and the variant they speak at home and among friends, they also studied English or French or even both. This makes that especially young people are more in touch with English speaking culture and, for that reason, new expressions find their way in the slang youth and internet users speak or write.

III.2. Idioms with same function but different expression.

This kind of units is quite often, and among them we find idioms that show a common interest about the truths, advices, conventional and folk wisdom. Most of our examples are sayings that show popular knowledge expressed in different ways in both languages, but in such a way that both languages show an identical experience and the conclusion or teaching from such experience. Words and multiword expressions are the language level where more changes and peculiarities arise in dialectal variety even if we study one only language, especially when that language has so many speakers as the two we are taking into consideration in this article. Sometimes we can see different senses of the same word in different areas where a language is spoken or, in other words, same thoughts or ideas have taken distinctive expressions. This is what happens in this case. Apart from the fact that sometimes some slight divergence in meaning are found between two supposedly equivalent idioms, again the above mentioned correspondence of frequency and use in the same register or style is to be verified for the sake of accuracy and quality in translation. Lists of equivalent idioms or sayings do not usually inform of such equivalence, which entails a huge knowledge of the use in SL and TL. Let’s see the examples below:

إنك لا تجني من الشوك العنب

One can’t get blood from stone

على بخفي حنين

Empty-handed

أنت تريد، وأنا أريد وألله يفعل ما يريد

Man proposes and God disposes

إن هذا الشبل من ذاك الأسد

Like father, like son

ودارهم ما دمت في دارهم، وأرضهم ما دمت في أرضهم

When in Rome do as the Romans do

Figure 2

In Figure 2 we can see idioms equivalent in meaning but not in expression or use and therefore in their pragmatic values. We could also say that their degree of idiomaticity is different in some cases, and certainly their frequency and context are entirely diverse. Likewise the origin is also dissimilar. إنك لا تجني من الشوك العنب or its English counterpart ‘one can’t get blood from stone’ are both referred to something which is very difficult to accomplish or make another accomplish. The literal expression for the one we have in Arabic is “you can not get grapes from a hawthorn”, and the same as in the English one, two unrelated elements appear as the cause and its impossible effect to express how we can not expect certain results but from its proper origin. According to the site Waldalbahrain, the idiom proceeds from a tale in which a young man sees his father growing a tree and after that he obtains grapes. Later on he tries the same from a hawthorn and his father tells him not to hope for anything impossible to happen or not to await any result which is not from its natural source. The idioms is also used to reprimand someone whose behavior has not been correct enough7 . The English expression was first recorded in Giovanni Torriano’s Second Alphabet, 16628. The important aspect to consider is that in this case both idioms convey the sense of distrust towards someone, and therefore the English equivalent can be used to translate the Arabic one in most of contexts.

But we can not say the same about the next idiom in Figure 2. على بخفي حنين, whose literal sense is “with Hunain’s slippers” and which comes from the story of Hunain, a shoemaker who meets a Bedouin who wants to buy a pair of slippers from him but refuses to do so because he said his slippers are too expensive, although they are not. Hunain leaves on the Bedouin’s way a slipper and, far from the first one, a second one. When the Bedouin sees the first footwear he feels happy because it is the same type he wanted to buy, but he did not take it because there was only one. When he saw the second footwear he went back to pick up the first leaving all his things. While he went to grab the first footgear Hunain stole everything the man left, including his camel, except the second slipper, and this is how he finished only with a pair of slippers. If we finish something “with Hunain’s slippers” it means we got nothing, or even we lost the little we had before. In other words, we finished “empty-handed”.

In this case we have several idioms with the same meaning in both languages but there is not in English an expression with exactly the same implications as على بخفي حنين, which is very known among scholars and educated people but very rarely used. It is a fixed expression that bears an idiomatic sense, but hardly appears in everyday use except if it is to explain the above mentioned story. With literal and identical sense of “empty-handed” we have صفر اليدين which is not very used either, and فرغ اليدين and خالي اليدي, which are much more used and in this sense preferable to considerate equivalent to the expression in English.

But sometimes على بخبي خنين can appear. And when it appears English gives us empty-handed, shoot in the foot, with the variant of shoot our own foot, and backfire, all of which seem to point out to the bad consequences of our behavior or the opposite result of our actions. These are possibilities for a proper translation, although none of them has such scarce use as the Arabic idiom.

Regarding the third example, أنت تريد، وأنا أريد وألله يفعل ما يريد, the translation into English is ‘Man proposes and God disposes’9 . The literal sense of the Arabic idioms is “you want, and I want and God does what He wants”. The English expression is more focused on the intentions and plans human beings do and the Arabic one in the sense that we can only desire something but the real power to make a will come true lies only in God10.

هذا الشبل من ذاك الأسد, ‘like father, like son’ refers to the similarities that usually are between fathers and their sons. In Arabic the literal sense is “this cub from that lion” and so the idiomatic aspect is higher in the Arabic language for this expression.

The opposite can be said about the last one, where the idiomatic, the figurative sense, is higher in English: ودارهم ما دامت في دارهم، وأرضهم ما دامت في أرضهم and its translation into ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’. The literal translation for the Arabic one is “while you are in their house, as in their house, while you are in their land, as in their land”, with variations in the order of the two terms that form the saying. According to Dictionary.com the English saying started when saint Augustine asked saint Ambrose if they should fast on Saturdays the same as Romans did and saint Ambrose replied that “while in Rome they should do the same as the Romans”. This idiom usually appears just as “when in Rome...”, something quite common in sayings. The Spanish and German studies specialist Manuel Moral indicates that the origin of this phrase is a Latin saying, Cum Romae fuerites [sic], Romano vivite more11 .

III.3. Idioms with same function but slightly different expression.

In Figure 3 we can observe some examples of those units that bear the same meaning in nearly the same expression.As in many other occasions the metaphor they are presented with is clear enough in both languages to let us understand the meaning, and in this occasion we can see that the figurative sense is really close in SL and TL.

الجوع أمهر الطباخين

Hunger is the best sauce

المال يجر المال

Money begets money

للضرورة احكام

Necessity knows no law

الحاجة تفتق الحيلة

Necessity is the mother of invention

من كان بيته من زجاج لا يرشق الناس بالحجارة

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones

Figure 3

The first idiom refers how hunger, or any other appetite in a given situation as this expression could be used in different contexts where a need has to be fulfilled, can make delicious any meal. It is compared to a sauce. The literal meaning of the Arabic expression is “hunger is the most skilled among cooks”, and so that both languages are about hunger and define a quality of it as a the best element that makes good a food. Both point out to such a basic need that the sayings are quite similar, common to different languages and can be found in other expressions with very near sense. In English synonym expressions are hunger is the best spice or hunger is the best pickle.

The three next have also a sense quite easy to figure out and are so close to their English counterpart that do not present any difficulty in spite of the cultural differences. The metaphor is so clear that the idiomatic and real sense arise as soon as we meet the expression. The last one is the most idiomatic, but it is also so near to the English phraseme that the translation can be carried out as both expressions are quite known and used in Arabic and English as well. There is a variation, which is irrelevant for the purpose of meaning but can be taken as synonym if we need it in certain occasions or to avoid redundancy, in the Arabic idiom as من كان بيته من زجاج لا يرمي الناس بالحجارة coexist with the one we have shown in Figure 3. The literal translation for them is “that whose house is made of glass don’t throw stones to people” and “that whose house is made of glass don’t fling stones to people” respectively.

III.4. Different function and expression in both languages.

In the cases where we have to translate an idiom which does not have equivalent at all in another language, we often have to express the same meaning by the direct words that bear that value, without any fixed idiom. It should be noticed that there are nevertheless a possibility we should not disregard: the translator maybe does not know there is such an idiom also in the target language, which should be the chosen option because fixed expressions convey a special sense also affected by the fact that they are repeated, and so fixed, units. Here we can establish different degrees of difficulty regarding diverse factors:

a) The unit we consider has not an idiomatic sense. This situation takes place when the expression we consider has also a literal sense, in which case the context and all the situation let us understand the proper and compositional meaning as the correct translation into the TL. This could even be considered as a case where there is not such an idiom, but we decide to include it here because the idiomatic correlate exists and in that sense we have one of the structures we study in this article and for that reason they can appear in dictionaries or books of idioms.

b) The second possibility in ascending level of complexity is that situation where there is an idiomatic use but through a very clear metaphor. In these cases it is frequent that at least one of the elements we have to translate remains with its compositional meaning, but anyhow we are before a situation where there is an idiomatic sense for the expression as a whole.

c) The third situation we can face is that where all the elements have an idiomatic sense and they form a metaphor for whose understanding we do not have any clue but the context or, in certain cases, the dictionary or even asking native speakers, if possible. This is usually the case if we have to translate very new, modern idioms that belong to argot, slang or specific social groups in such a way that have not even been recorded. As we said before, for some authors the context and pragmatic aspects of the text we have to translate are the key factors to take into account when translating idioms, and this is a case where the situation in which the idiom has been produced is crucial for the proper comprehension of the idiomatic expression.

In any of the above mentioned possibilities the first is to recognize an idiom as such. Let’s see examples of the cases explained in previous paragraphs:

الحركة بركة

The literal translation is “movement is a blessing”, and it is referred to the benefits of physical activity.

مقطوع من شجرة

Literally it means “cut from a tree”, and it is said about someone who does not have a known family. The metaphor compares the family with a tree and the person about whom we make such a comment is seen as a branch.

لبس البوصة، تبقى عروسة

The sense is “dress up a stick, it will remain a doll”. This way Arabic language emphasizes the transformation that proper clothes can make in a person.

يصوم يصوم ويفطر على بصلة

Literally it means “he fasts and fasts, and then his breakfast is an onion”. It is used to express disappointment.

القرد في عين أمه غزال

“In his mother’s eyes, a monkey is a gazelle”. The expression refers how the love towards someone make us see only beauty and good things in that person.

Figure 4

The cases showed above do not have an equivalent in English and all of them except the last one can not be figured out from the metaphor they are expressed in. There can be expressions which are near in meaning but as far as we know there are not fully equivalent to the ones shown above. English has some idioms with a bordering sense, but they do not convey exactly the same meaning. يصوم يصوم ويفطر على بصلة expresses disappointment and the English slap in the face can do the same in certain situations. In fact, we think it is quite similar to the Arabic one but it requires paraphrasing not only the saying itself but the whole structure as the Arabic one is a complete sentence and the possible English equivalent needs a sentence to be part of it. Another possibility could be let someone down but this also fails in the sense that does not transmit the religious aspect given by fast in the SL and the result and consequent effect is quite far from the sense we search for. Broken heart is a better choice in this sense as it implies and emotional value to our translation but it emphasizes the feeling of sadness, the same as feeling blue, so we still think paraphrasing is the way out in this case. If the sense is obvious from the literal expression, as can be the case for the last example, a literal translation can be provided because that is the one we find in the source text and the meaning and subsequent understanding of it are easily deduced from the phrase itself. But if that is not the situation, as it usually happens, paraphrasing is the most common strategy put in practice by translators in an attempt to offer the best adaptation into the TL.

“Paraphrasing may be considered the most common way of translating idioms when a match cannot be found in the TL or when it seems inappropriate to use idiomatic language in the TT because of differences in stylistic preferences of the SL and the TL. It might be suggested, however, that the translator is advised to apply this strategy only when he is left with no option but to paraphrase.

It is to be noted that this strategy is best applied to such idioms which are less culture- specific than others. Otherwise, the cultural flavour will be lost”12 .

About the last idea Subhi exposes it should be underlined that in many occasions leaving the same expression, especially when its meaning is easily understood, is the best option to keep cultural aspects and offer the idiom the same as in the ST, although in the TL is is not perceived as such idiom. The conventional knowledge provided by the culture in which the idiom arises lets us understand it right meaning and makes it possible for us to translate it into the TT in a proper way.

IV. Conclusion.

Although the translation of idioms is usually understood as one of the most difficult aspects of translation, it is also considered one of the most challenging and therefore interesting when carrying out the task of translating. It is also a vast field for the very understanding of the languages the translator is working with and essential to give a high quality product of a proper translation because of the deep insight it implies about the knowledge of the languages involved. In spite of being such different languages, English and Arabic share a lot of idioms, both in expression and meaning, and many which are very near in expression. The cultural perspective of the values attributed to colors (see the study of Salim and Mehawesh), body parts (see in this regard the study by Adaileh and Abbadi), religion, historical chapters in the context the text belongs to and so many factors that shape the meaning of the unit we are to translate are also key elements we have to pay special attention to and that can be matter for future articles as they have a chief relevance in translation. In fact, context and culture create the environment in which idioms are born, are produced and are always in the root of their proper understanding. Idioms are also said to be culture-bound, to define a society and to reflect the thinking of a group of people. The correspondence of their expressions and meanings, the framework where they are used and the scope they cover are also the translator’s duty.



[i]  In this article we do not consider those phrasemes which have compositionality, that is, collocations, clichés or multiword expressions such as compounds. They also pose different questions when translated from a language to another, but here we just focus our attention on those units whose meaning differs from the sum of their components and therefore are characterized by idiomaticity. On the other hand, different languages classify phrasemes in a different way, and not always researchers and scholars agree on the categorization that should be accepted. Furthermore, idioms, phrasemes or idiomatic expressions are usually considered as synonyms and in our very study we sometimes name idiom any kind of phraseme, including sayings and shorter expressions which are not autonomous from a syntactic point of view. The situation is still more complicated when we are studying designations in other languages, something that it is advisable to take into consideration when translating because knowing the kind of idiom we are dealing with can help us understand the meaning, scope of use and so get a better result.

[i]  If we have, e. g. no skin off your nose we can not say a sentence like no skin off your mouth, because in that case the meaning we usually express with this idiom would be lost. But if we see it from a diachronic perspective phrasemes can be modified over time the same as any other unit. In fact, no skin off your nose originally was no skin off my back, but it attained a probably more appropriate sense by changing to nose as the relation with get one's nose out of somebody's business is clear. “No skin of your nose” (1996), in Terban, M. Dictionary of idioms, New York: Scholastic.

[i]     It is clear that this depends also on the type of translation we are developing. If, for instance, a poem is translated as prose only to give an idea of the content but relegating phonetic or rhythmical aspects, then the goal never was to reflect the same values, especially artistic values, in our TL.

[i]     As we have said before, we are not going to consider here the case of collocations, but we would like to mention that one subgroup among them, technicalities, could be the most obvious. The dominant referential function of scientific language, the fact that collocations lack of idiomaticity and the technical context in which they always appear imply in most of the cases a mere transfer of the elements that conform the phraseme, without having to add or remove anything to get the proper expression. We have some examples in Doppler effect (تأثير دوبلر), sella turcica, which is a loanword from Latin (سرج تركي), or adipose tissue (نسيج دهني), being the three of them a literal translation of the components due to the absence of idiomaticity. In these case we have calques from the language in which the expression originated in the first time.

[i]     This is is much more the case when the relation between SL and TL is nearer. Sevilla and Sardelli (2011) give some examples between Spanish and Italian, two Romance languages which are very close and share a lot of lexical items as well as have a similar grammatical structure.

[i]     According to Al-Wahy 2009 (as quoted by Alduais, 2016) false friends can also be found between two genetically unrelated languages, as it is the case of Arabic and English, and not only in isolated words, but also in multiword expressions, and in his opinion this is due to cultural contacts between several different groups of people with the linguistic exchanges implied, although there is as well the possibility that two phraseological false friends arise somehow by chance; this is what he aims to demonstrate in his study (Al-Wahy, 2009), where he calles IFFs to idiomatic false friends and underlines that there are two groups: related and unrelated IFFs, being the former those with a shared cultural background that favors the creation of a IFF between two languages, and the latter those appeared because of cultural uses and habits that by chance make the IFF turn up. We have to consider that in some cases two phrasemes coincide but the diachronical change makes them differentiate in time. These phraseological false friends, understood as coincidence in expression but divergence in function, would be a category which Newmark did not consider in his study.

[i]     Retrieved on November 21, 2016 from http://waldalbahrain.net/vb/showthread.php?t=4691.

[i]     The Phrase Finder, retrieved on November 21, 2016 from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/419000.html.

[i]     There are certain variants as the conjunction and can be substituted by but, or the two clauses can be separated only by a comma.

[i]     One of the core aspects in every culture is religion, or even the lack of it. Translating such idioms is a real challenge because the realms they usually appear and the scope of the meaning is quite rooted in people's mentality and has shaped their particular vision in the deepest way. Ahmad and Tengku (2012, 147) point out that “among the problematic factors involved in translation are the social as well as the religious cultures”. In the case we study here religious expressions which are alive in everyday use are much more frequent in the Arab world, and that is why their use is more natural since they form part of a cultural aspect that remains more present than in those countries where English is spoken. Nevertheless they should be also translated as they let us understand an important characteristic of the culture to which the text belongs and reflect the mentality of their people. Some examples these authors offer are الله يسمعنا الاخبار الطيبة ‘may God let us hear good news’, أم الآثام to refer to the ‘mother of sins’, the wine. The examples they take from the Bible could be considered as idioms in some cases but in some others they can be seen just as metaphors to indicate different teachings. We do not think they are part of the fixed expressions used by speakers of Christian tradition nowadays nor have they an equivalent value because they do not form part of everyday life in the same proportion as the Arabic idioms because of Islam. You will go to your fathers can be translated into Arabic as ستذهب الى آباءك, to express the idea of dying. They knew no quiet in their bellies, which we can say as عرفوا انه لا هدء في بطونهم. The sense is, according to Ahmad and Tengku, “they were greedy”. Their throat is an open grave, حنجرتم كقبر مفتوح, “they speak deceitfully”.

[i]  We understand there must be a mistake and the proper phrase has to be Cum Romae fueritis, Romano vivite more, whose translation into English could be ‘when you go to Rome, live according to the Romans’ customs’. Last retrieved from

   http://reflexionesdemanuel.blogspot.com/2010/12/nuestra-lengua-cuandoroma-fueres.html

   in November 23, 2016.

[i]     Subhi Khalil, Ghusoon, Overcoming Difficulties in Translating Idioms from English into Arabic, Al-Mustansiriya University, retrieved on March 16, 2016 from

http://www.iasj.net/iasjfunc=fulltext&aId=37106.

 

 

REFERENCES 

Ahmad Al-Shawi, Muna and Tengku Mahadi, Tengku Sepora, 2012, Strategies for Translating Idioms from Arabic into English and Vice Versa, in Journal of American Arabic Academy for Sciences and Technology, 2012, 3, (6) 139-147.

Alduais, Ahmed (2016) Review article “Al-Wahy, Ahmed (2009) Idiomatic false friends in English and Modern Standard Arabic”. Beijing: Beijing Normal University.

Al-Humsi, Areej (2011) A dictionary of English idioms and their Arabic counterparts, English Language Skill Department: King Saud University.

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