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Far away from the theories of equivalence that gained momentum in the translation literature, students at Jordanian universities, private and public, are still in need to learn how to be translators. The aim of this paper is to review the most persisting problems facing Jordanian students of translation in an attempt to come up with practical and viable recommendations on what should be taught in translation courses to meet the needs of the prospective students and give them the real qualifications they aspire to.

In this paper, I will suggest the main rubrics that university instructors of translation courses should tackle. These would cover problems on the word, sentence and text levels. The paper will also shed light on how to deal with grammar and cultural problems in training translators.


My sincere thanks go to Cambridge University Press staff for their invaluable comments and explanations on New Face of Ageism.

* This paper was presented at Yarmouk University’s 17th Conference on Literature, Linguistics and Translation, 23-25 April 2005

I. Introduction

You are working as an interpreter in a conference. It is the last session and the floor is open for discussion and commentaries. A Jordanian participant gets the permission to speak and starts his comment saying khallini aballesh. The Egyptian moderator immediately laughs and says "That means you have finished your comment already", remarking that the Arabic word abalesh means in Jordanian Arabic "to start", while in Egyptian Arabic it means "to end". What would you do?

The question, however, is to what extent does this problem relate to translation training? Did the theory based textbooks in translation succeed in fulfilling the needs of the trainees themselves?

While freely conceding that an interpreter does encounter at field tens if not hundreds of those incidents where he has to translate the "untranslatable", it is important to bear in mind that at the end of the day translating is less about abalesh and more about a student who wants one day to succeed in his career as a translator or interpreter; one who can make money by efficiently and effectively translating a document or interpreting a speech. The key to this success lies in efficient translation courses at the university level.  And, this is the main concern of this paper.

II. Course Descriptions?

No. The attempt in this paper is neither to propose optimal course descriptions nor to criticise or analyse those courses currently being taught at Jordanian universities. Rather, it is all about a suggestion of some points that, in light of personal experience in training translators and practicing interpreting and translating for about six years, should be taken into consideration when designing or teaching a translation course. This will be done by reviewing the most persistent problems faced by trainees in several areas.

A close scrutiny to the performance of translation students at a number of universities have prompted me to suggest that special care should be given by translation methodologists or instructors on a number of levels. The following therefore will be a suggestion on how to deal with translation courses.

III. Course Levels:

III. 1. Level 1: Vocabulary Courses

The first typical problem facing freshmen at any English department in Jordan can safely be said to be related to words. Students often graduate from public schools with a modest repertoire of words.  They are now challenged by a variety of pieces of literature to read and understand; by the English-speaking environment where they have to spend their four-year study. The first immediate need for them therefore is to learn and use more words.

Logically, therefore, the first courses in the trainee’s academic study should focus on 1. what words must be memorized and learnt, 2. how to learn the new words and 3. what helping material is available for them to learn new words.

III. 1. 1. What is the "words" course about?

This course can be taught on different levels. It can also be an introductory part of an actual translation course. It could be English 1 or English 2. Anyway, whatever it be, the course should focus on adding to the trainee’s repertoire of words new useful words. These should be basic ones. I mean, they should be pre-determined by the English department in light of the upcoming courses to be taken by the trainees or depending on most frequently used words. Another rubric of such a course would relate to the problem of equivalence on the word level.

III. 1. 2. Teaching method:

The most important thing to remember is the fact that learning English words is different from learning Arabic words as we shall see below.

III. 1. 2.1. Teaching Arabic-English words:

The instructor/trainer begins by giving general rules in translation (not theories.) The main vocabulary to be taught will be taken from Al-Mawrid dictionary. Focus should be on verbs because verbs are the main element of a sentence. Verb derivatives could also be added. Each verb should be taught as one group. Teach students the following rule:

قاعدة- يختلف معنى الكلمة باختلاف السياق التي وردت فيه ولذلك علينا توخي الحرص عند اختيار المعنى المناسب من القاموس.

This rule is the key to learning new vocabulary. Freshmen as well as more advanced translation trainees find it difficult to sort out what to choose from the list of equivalents given in a dictionary for an English word.

Take for example the verb خرج and write down a number of sentences using the same word in different contexts. These sentences could include the following:

-   خرجت من البيت

-   خرج القطار عن السكة

-   هذا السؤال خارج عن الموضوع

-   خرج الثوار على الحكومة

-   طاردت الشرطة الخارج على القانون

Discussing the various senses of the word خرج is just the beginning. The most important point is to follow the stream of consciousness in the student’s mind. When we look at the above example for instance, an infinite series of questions may arise concerning the translation of related items. What is the difference between "house" and "home"? How do we translate "To be or not to be; that is the ’question’"? What is the difference between ثوار and متمردين? And so on.

In such a case where a series of intertextul ideas are triggered, it is advisable for the translation instructor to be organized. For example, when tackling the word شرطة, it is good to draw a table including similar or relevant words or expressions. The following is an illustration:















The accused

يرتكب جريمة

To commit a crime







القوات المسلحة

The armed forces

ضربات جوية

Air strikes


الأمن العام

Public security






This army is 15,000 strong.

يبلغ قوام هذا الجيش 15.000 جنديا.

The army launched an attack….

وجَّه الجيش ضربة عسكرية....

The outlaw is still at large

ما زال الخارج على القانون طليقاً.

The problem of non-equivalence should be introduced here on the word level. This is done by referring to Arabic words that do not have ready equivalents in English. It is only in this way that the theory of equivalence could be presented to students.  Unlike some textbooks that tend to teach the theory first then give drills, the present model focuses on deducing a set of practical rules to solve several problems whenever they arise. Take the following simple examples of non-equivalence on the word level (Abu-Risha 1999: 16)

- لقد جعت (الآن) نترجمها (أنا جائع) I am hungry.

- نجحت في دروسي في العام الماضي I passed my examinations last year.

لقد غثيت معدتي وأشعر بالدوار I feel sick.

 Words can also be taught in the stage preceding the translation task of a given text. Let us take the following example:

"قبل أن نشرع في تناول موضوعنا الأساسي وهو دراسة السياسة وما يتصل بها من نظم الحكم المعاصرة نعتقد أنه من الملائم هنا أن نشير إلى العلوم الاجتماعية إشارة عابرة على أساس أن السياسة فرع من فروع العلوم الاجتماعية الأساسية" (سعد 1988: 7)

Here it is good for the trainees to translate sentences containing any word that appeared in the text but in different contexts. The following is a list of non-exhaustive examples:

-   شرع الرجل في كتابة الكتب.  / - يشرع العمل بهذا القانون اعتبارا من تاريخ نشره في الجريدة الرسمية.

-   تناول الرجل الطعام / تناولت في مقالتي الموضوع الفلاني/ إن طريقة تناوله لهذه القضية تثير الإعجاب.

-   يتصل الكمبيوتر مع الهاتف بواسطة المودم/ يتصل هذا السؤال بموضوع كذا / لا صلة لفلان بشئون الموظفين.

-     أشار المسئول إلى ضرورة تحديث الأنظمة في الوزارة / أشار الرجل إلى أهمية علاج المريض / تشير هذه الكلمة إلى الكلمة الفلانية التي سبقتها.

Drawing students" attention to grammar and "interesting" grammatical rules is pre-mature and should be made at minimum in this stage (though short explanations of grammar rules may be required depending on students’ questions). It will be in fact the focus of our next stage below.

III. 1. 2.2. Teaching English-Arabic words:

Learning new English words is important for students to read and understand the meaning of a given text they are to translate. The words to be learnt by them in this stage should be chosen carefully by the instructor to effectively teach trainees words that they have never heard of first and that address their needs second.

As in the case of Arabic words, English words should be taught in full sentences or expressions.  These sentences must be authentic and are advisable to be taken from learner’s dictionaries or from encyclopedias. For illustration, let us take the verb "abandon". The following two sentences are taken from Collins Cobuild, a dictionary that proved to be more efficient and effective than other one for learners’ purposes (Abu Risha 2003), and Encarta Encyclopedia respectively. Resorting to such sources would insure no misuse of words take place. Students are asked to translate the whole sentences with specific reference to the word "abandon" and the verb complement it may take:

1- The authorities have abandoned any attempt to distribute food in an orderly fashion.


2- Because rain forest soils are nutrient-poor, garden production decreases significantly after a couple of years, at which point the garden is abandoned, and a new plot is cleared and planted.

The instructor, in cooperation with other colleagues or by making general assessments of students’ vocabulary, should be able to draw up a list of the words needed by students. While choosing the proper words, the instructor must pay special attention to those words and expressions needed by students in other courses. Paragraph & essay writing as well as literary courses, for instance, require students to be able to use words that: express, describe, narrate, argue for/against, analyze, compare and contrast, achieve cohesion and coherence, etc.

III. 1. 2.3. Learning New Words – Self Training:

Attending or taking translation courses should be just the beginning for a self-learning translator. It goes without saying; learners cannot learn everything just in class. Exercises on the word level should be related to general as well as specialised translation. Consider the following explanatory exercises:

Task (1): Learning parliamentary terms

-   Visit the House of Representatives in Amman and get a copy of its bylaws in Arabic and English, then translate the following terms into English by checking the English translation:

مجلس النواب، خطاب العرش، افتتاح الدورة العادية، مع مراعاة المادة كذا، دورة استثنائية، ضمن دائرة اختصاص المجلس، الاقتراع السري......

Task (2): Learning economic terms

-   Visit the Ministry of Planning and get a copy of the Socio-economic plan (in Arabic and English) then translate the following terms by consulting the already translated document:

-     الناتج المحلي الإجمالي، ميزان المدفوعات، المغتربين، الديون الخارجية، فقر مدقع، فقر مطلق، الموارد الخارجية، ضبط النفقات، الإنفاق بالأسعار الجارية....

Task (3): Learning unions’ jargon

-   Check the Jordanian labor law in Arabic and check a labor law of another country in English then translate the following terms:

-     الصحة والسلامة المهنية، التفاوض الجماعي، الاضراب والاغلاق، المناصرة العمالية، التضامن العمالي، القاعدة الشعبية، فروع النقابة، النقابيين، استقطاب الأعضاء، الممثل النقابي في مكان العمل، صاحب العمل، العامل، علاوة مخاطر العمل، الضمان الاجتماعي......

III. 2. Level 2: Grammar Courses

Frequent errors in students’ translation result from their lack of understanding of some grammatical rules both in English and Arabic.  Obviously, syntax courses are main elements now at all departments of English and translation at Jordanian universities. Among the best textbooks currently taught are Structure (1) and Structure (2).

But, trainees do not need to learn what syntax is about; they need to know how to apply the rules of syntax in understanding a text and rendering a translation correctly. Thus, the trend in teaching trainees syntax must be an applied one. Syntactic drills therefore should mainly be focused on how to correctly translate a given phrase, clause or sentence.  Since grammatical non-equivalence, an overriding problem, arises, the syntax instructor should follow a contrastive approach in teaching the above two mentioned textbooks.

Some useful important points in Structure (1) and Structure (2) relevant to the translators’ training process could be summarized as follows:

III. 2.1.  Word Order

Trainees here are introduced to marked/un-marked structures of Arabic and English in terms of word order particularly with regards to Subject-plus-verb patterns in a variety of texts (news headlines for example).

III. 2.1.  Multiple Class Membership

Students here are to be trained on how to decide on the class of a given word that may have more than one class membership. The following example is illustrative:

1-   Water is necessary for life. (water = noun)

2-   It is necessary to water plants. (water = verb)

III. 2.2.  Verb Phrase Complementation

 Verb phrase complementation may affects the meaning of the given verb. The following two examples are illustrative:

1-   The plan looks interesting. (verb plus subject complement)

2-   He is looking at the boy. (verb plus object)

III. 2.3.  Verb Tense, Phase, Aspect and Voice

Here training is focused on grammatical non-equivalence resulted from the contrast existing between English and Arabic verb characteristics including the following:

1- differentiating between Arabic and English verb structures. The "mudare’" verb for instance should be made distinct from the present tense in English.  Consider the following example where the underlined "mudare’" verb refers to the past rather than the present.

" فلم تقتلون أنبياء الله من قبل إن كنتم صادقين (سورة البقرة)"

2- differentiating between present simple and present progressive verbs and correctly translating them.

3- differentiating between past simple and present perfect verbs and correctly translating them.

In addition, teaching grammar thorough translation would make it easy for trainees to learn correctly the forms of the verb. Many serious mistakes, that can be said to be common, were spotted in the translation of trainees resulting from failure to write the verb in the correct way.  Consider the following real examples:

-   The man was went to the market.

-   I am passed the exam.

III. 2.4.  Phrases

Phrases also may be a source of translation errors. Consider the following example:

The man with the rod has crossed the street.

Just for illustration, some students may need to be taught to understand the above sentence as:

The man who is carrying the rod has crossed the street.

lest they translate it as:

الرجل والعصا عبرا الشارع.

III. 2.5.  Clauses

Students should be familiarized with the semantic (time, place, manner, concession, etc.) and syntactic (finite, non-finite, etc.) clauses.  Personal experience shows that students do suffer severely in this area.  They tend to ignore the use of non-finite clauses (infinitive and gerundial), a shortcoming that results in a distorted understanding of a given passage and consequently mistranslating it. Consider the following real examples where more than 40 students (out of 62) in a translation course did not know how to understand nor translate a sentence containing a non-finite clause. A faulty translation is mentioned along with each example:

-   Not knowing what to do, the prisoner committed suicide.

عدم معرفة ما الذي يحدث، السجين انتحر.

-   Standing behind the door, the woman overheard everything we said.

-   وقف خلف الباب سمعت المرأة الذي قلناه.

-   Having been ill, the boy did not go to school.

-   كون المريض لا يذهب الى المدرسة.

-   The man to stay is John.

-   الرجل يذهب يكون جون.

Other examples could also include:

-   A NATURAL STATE OF BALANCE——that’s what Malaysia needs to cope with the various instabil­ities. (main verb + non-finite adverbial clause of purpose)

-   A NATURAL STATE OF BALANCE——that’s what Malaysia needs to cope with. (main verb plus non-finite nominal clause)

Ambiguity is also to be addressed in this stage. In a translation examination, students were asked to disambiguate a given sentence through translation. The exam showed that students with little or no exposure to syntax were unable to do the task:

-   I can fish.

-   Visiting professors can be interesting.

-   Flying planes can be dangerous.

The translation instructor here would find himself at a tradeoff: waste time on explaining grammar or leave trainees’ errors uncorrected.  To solve this problem, syntax courses should be taught from a translator’s point of view.

In fact, Structure (1) and Structure (2) are replete with examples that are useful for the training process.

III. 3. Level 3: Language Use

In a language use course, trainees are introduced to the differences between Arabic and English in expressing actual and day-to-day needs like: requesting, ordering, obliging, asking for permission etc. Basics, the use of auxiliary verbs for example, should have been introduced to trainees in previous grammar courses. Now it is the trainee’s turn to translate colloquial expressions used by the English or Arabic native speakers.

Every expression should not be translated with context. Hence is the chance to introduce trainees to such theories like the speech acts theory. 

At this stage, trainees start translating short dialogues preferably to be chosen by the instructor from films, series or transcripts of real dialogues. Take the following example:

- الأب: يعطيك العافية ليش كسرت الفنجان!

الإبن:  أنا آسف هاي آخر مرة.

- الأول:  يعطيك العافية كيف بقدر اروح مجمع رغدان؟

الثاني:  اركب بهداك الباص.

- الأول:  شو عم تعمل هل أيام؟

الثاني:  قاعد عم بكش دبان.

III. 4. Level 4: the Text

Training on the text level should aim at exploring and analyzing with translation in mind the ‘grammar’ of a given text. It is here in fact that discourse analysis and contrastive analysis theories are relevant to the theory of translation. Theoretical courses are needed before embarking on courses on the text level. 

 The following is a list of some pre-requisite theoretical courses that should be taken before students practise translation on the text level provided that such courses should be taught through drills and practice rather than through theorising:

1-   Discourse analysis and contrastive textology, where trainees learn how to view a given text as a texture woven of rule-governed elements such as: cohesion, coherence, situationality, intertextuality and so on. 

2-   Text Types including informative, descriptive, narrative, argumentative and instructive ones.

3-   Text variation in the same language. This should relate to the textual and linguistic characteristics of, so to speak, legal texts in English in contrast to those of news reports also in English.

4-   Contrastive text analysis, where trainees compare and contrast between two texts belonging to the same genre in two languages in an attempt to peer the given text and observe its main linguistic and

III. 5. Level 5: Culture

Translators are cultural communicators, or at least they should be so. One can safely assume that culture does form a serious barrier in translating a text from one language into another one, for though with various degrees, texts are usually culture bound. 

“New Face of Ageism” was the title of the article that I had to teach once in a reading course at my university. I found it interesting from a translator’s point of view. I assigned as well my students in some translation classes the same text to be translated from English into Arabic.  And, they had the very right to say that it was an untranslatable text.

“New Face of Ageism” (see appendix) is in the first place addressed to the Western people, who have formed their own ageism stereotypes, which are totally different from those formed by the Arab, or at least Jordanian, people. It is also replete with cultural codes and implications that can be found only in the experiential memory of the intended “western” addresses. Thus, a Jordanian student should not be blamed for not knowing that “Peter Pan” is the fictional character who never got old and the stereotype of any man looking or behaving young; that Joan Collins is a British actress who is now a kind of sex symbol at the age of 60+; or, that old people in Britain get free bus tickets.

Then, how we should deal with such a text, where meaning is culture, and where cultural differences are the main problems impeding understanding and translating a text?

The suggestion is that there should be added to the translation curricula special courses dealing with the history and culture of western countries mainly Britain and America. An invaluable dictionary that would help students with cultural terms or ideas is Longman Contemporary Dictionary of the English Language and Culture.

Cultural courses are not enough however. The student should receive special training in translating culture-bound articles. Reading4 published by Cambridge University Press is a good example. British newspapers (written and online versions) like the Guardian Unlimited would also be good references. Worth mentioning here is that such articles must be updated by the instructor to cope with any cultural change that might emerge.

IV. Oral Translation

Oral translation is important for the future career of trainees.  They may become in a position where they should do oral translation simultaneously or consecutively. This type of translation is rewarding and is demanded by the market in Jordan. Oral skill courses are being offered at Jordanian universities but what we need is some adjustment to cope with translation needs. New methods should be introduced to the already offered courses.  These could include listening and summarizing (the trainee should have a good ear for both languages), listening and tape script making, using counting, back-counting and echoing methods in simultaneous interpreting and reading and instantly translating.

The material to be translated should be taken from actual seminars or conferences held in Jordan. It would be a good idea even to invite students to attend conferences and report to their instructors what they learnt there.

Frequent technical and non-technical problems should be talked about but by no means should simultaneous and consecutive translation be turned into theories that can never be understood without practice.  Here are some of these problems just for illustration:

- While doing the job, an interpreter may get confused thinking that all people passing by or looking in his direction do not like the way he translates.

- Some participants may forget to use the microphone while talking, leading the interpreter to pause. This could mislead the people receiving translation to think that the interpreter is not lagging behind.

- Participants may interrupt the main speakers or vice versa.

- The interpreter may have a problem in remembering numbers and figures.

- The interpreter may face a problem in translating a word or term that belongs to a given jargon.

- Some participants might be afflicted with a kind of aphasia rendering their speech or interventions abstruse.

- Some participants might be using English or Arabic not as their mother tongue.

- A speaker may use his own informal or colloquial dialect which is totally ineligible for the interpreter.

- The speaker or participants commit a slip of the tongue. Should the interpreter correct it or leave it as it is?

- The most obvious problem in simultaneous interpreting would of course be related to the speed of a speaker’s speech.

It is very important that one proper and immediate solution be given to each problem. What plagues translation courses is that some instructors tend to spend hours on how to solve a problem without solving it.

As for instant translation courses, tasks should be varied: written as if spoken, spoken as if written etc. It is very important to note that in actual conferences many speakers prefer to stop every now and then and talk colloquially rather than formally.

Theoretical work and practice alone, however, cannot make a good translation. The trainee must always keep in mind that it is his job in the final analysis to keep updated to recent developments in all fields to gain the necessary mental and communicative skills needed in translation.

V. Specialised Courses

Specialised courses aim to teach trainees translation skills in special area like economics, management, industries, medicine and the like. The aim must be to give the trainees the chance to specialise in an area of their own interests. In a specialised course, the trainee is to learn new words belonging to a specific jargon and translate related texts from/into Arabic. The translation material should be chosen from an introductory book to cover the essentials of the given field. I have noticed that in some university, the material suggested for “Translation in the field of management” covered anything but basic concepts of management.  Here is an illustration of a suggested content of a specialised course:

    1. Translation in the field of management:

The selected texts are supposed to cover:

-   What is management

-   The manager’s role and tasks

-   Decision making and decision taking

-   Schools of management (the classical school, the scientific school etc.)

-   Planning

-   Strategies


    2. Translation in the field of law:

-   General texts on laws, law making and types of laws

-   Translating legal documents (the constitution, the labor law, the parliament bylaws etc.)

-   Translating minutes of UN sessions

-   Translating UN declarations and resolutions

-   Translating legal official documents (certificates of birth, marriage, divorce etc.)


3. Translation in the field of politics:


-   Introduction to politics (politics and sociology)

-   What is politics?

-   History of politics

-   Political schools

-   Political documents

-   Speeches of His Majesty the King (available at

-   Diplomatic and political terms

At any rate, both the instructor and trainees in special courses must keep abreast with recent developments in the field. Otherwise, they could run the hazard of translating unimportant and unfruitful material. This means in other words that the instructor must keep his material updated every semester.



VI. Relevance of the Theory

An efficient translation department should produce not only translators but efficient researchers as well. Theoretical courses in translation should aim to make the study of translation more interesting rather than more futile. In some universities where few courses of translation are offered at the English departments, it is noticed that talking about the theory was always useless. Some students complained that in a translation course they learnt a little bit more than “Translation is most ugly when faithful; unfaithful when beautiful” and the like.

 I understand that theoretical courses in translation should cover the following tasks:

  1. learning and practicing discourse analysis
  2. learning and practicing contrastive textology
  3. learning and practicing contrastive speech and text acts (pragmatics)
  4. studying the history of translation and translation studies
  5. writing term papers on the theory of translation. Yarmouk University is replete with MA theses on translation (translatability of humor, intertextuality, collocations, Quranic implicature, etc) and I found them extremely helpful.
  6. main theories of translation (including methods of practicing translation: back-translating technique, literal translation, free translation, adaptation, etc.)
  7. grammatical problems in translation should be given a special course. A book called Structure 2 is useful. (see IV.2 above)
  8. special attention must be given to language sub-genres, particularly those demanded by the market such as: journalism, technical writing (brochures, manuals, abstracts, patents etc.) and so on.
  9. students should be asked to bring brochures and books translated from and into Arabic and tell what theories they can deduce through their comparison and contrast. The Jordanian socio-cultural plan for the years 1993-1997 is an important document in economics and can be used by trainees to learn new terms and expressions in the filed through contrasting the original Arabic text and the English translation thereof.
  10. most importantly, a theoretical course must be designed to teach trainees self learning strategies in translation. Trainees for instance should be asked to visit embassies in Jordan and ask for documents translated between Arabic and English.

VII. Translation and Technology

Talking of technology and translation is a double folded topic.  First and foremost, the student should use the computer to facilitate his training in translation. Consider the following case:

A trainee encounters an already known word but used in a different context. Let this word be “خرج”. He refers to Al-Mawrid Electronic dictionary, which promptly gives him all possible English equivalents. Now the students gets the words but is still unsure what word to use. He resorts to Collins Cobuild electronic dictionary, which provides him promptly with a paraphrase of every English word he enters. He gets actual examples of usage and all grammatical information related to each word. But he is still unable to correctly use the word “bulge” indicated by Al-Mawrid. He refers to Encarta Encyclopedia and searches for the word “bulge”. A number of articles appear.  He chooses “frogs” and gets the following result, which adds to his repertoire of word usages:

“The eyes of many frog species bulge out from the sides of the head, enabling them to see in nearly all directions.”

The same trainee was asked to translate a poem into English. He is in need for words that rhyme together with the word “height”. He refers to Merriam Webster electronic dictionary and uses the filtering service which renders many words like: “affright, bedight, bite, blight, fire blight, flight etc”.

In the second place, Companies nowadays require translators who are computer literate. This means that trainees should be given courses in specific software like Microsoft Office (including word, excel, PowerPoint and FrontPage). It goes without saying that a good translator must also be skilful in typing in both languages.

VIII. Potential Sources of Assistance

If a translation program is to succeed, financial and technical aid might be needed especially related for example to giving short-term scholarships, providing for laboratories, holding conferences and designing translation curricula.

To the best of my knowledge, there are two institutions willing to contribute to the translation stride in Jordan. They are: the Jordanian Translators’ Association (JTA) and Atlas Global Center for Studies and Research. Should there be some cooperation between the two institutions and Jordanian universities, there would certainly be a better future for translation both as a discipline and career.

JTA looks for assuming a vital role in the regulation of the translation career in Jordan. It is important to notice that without securing a stable and protected career for translators, there would not be good appeal from students to join translation departments believing correctly that the translation market is flooded with non-qualified translators who would unfairly compete with them in the market.

Atlas Center on the other hand has so far held many international conferences on lexicography, arabicization and translation in cooperation with a number of prestigious universities in the Arab world. Atlas Group as well manufactures the renowned Atlas electronic dictionary series and has indeed the potential of widening the scope of translation and lexicography courses at Jordanian Universities.

IX. Final Remarks

I have tried so far to shed light on what I feel to be the most important points to be considered while planning a translation curriculum at any Jordanian university. The remarks I have mentioned were all deduced from personal experience gained at seven universities in Jordan. The point is that translation trainees do not seem to benefit a lot from current curricula, and this paper is presented at this conference to tackle this problem.

One final remark to be mentioned in this regard relates to the instructor. Training translation entails a lot of work on the part of the instructor who has to follow up students’ performance and accurately mark all mistakes in a translation assignment, which in turn means the instructor must be faithful and must dedicate himself for improving his students. This cannot be achieved unless the number of students in a translation class is reasonable (no more than 15) and the number of translation classes taught by the instructor is no more than one in one semester.


1-   Abu-Risha, Mohammed. 2003. "What should a learner’s dictionary include?". Zarka Journal for Research and Studies. Vol 5, No.1, June 2003. Zarka Private University. Jordan. (pp. 21-52)

2-   Abu-Risha, Yahya. 1999. Applied Translation. Dar-Alhilal. Irbid

3-   Greenball, S and Pye, D. 2003. Reading 4. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

4-   Summers, D et al. (ed) . 1999. Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture. Third Edition. Longman. UK

Electronic References

1-   The Electronic Mawrid . Baalbaki M and Baalbaki R. Dar Alelim Lilmalayeen. Ver.2002

2-   Encarta Electronic Dictionary. Microsoft. 2000

3-   Lingea Lexicon ver.3.1 by Lingea s.r.o. 2001


المراجع العربية:

سعد، علي. 1988. دراسات في المجتمع والسياسة. دار النهضة العربية. بيروت.



 بعيدا عن نظريات التكافؤ التي حظيت باهتمام بالغ في دراسات الترجمة نجد طلبة الجامعات الأردنية الحكومية والخاصة على حد سواء ما زالوا بحاجة ليتعلموا كيفية القيام بعملية الترجمة وكيف يصبح المر مترجما. لذلك يهدف هذا البحث إلى مراجعة أكثر المشكلات العويصة التي تواجه الطلبة في الجامعات الأردنية في هذا المجال وذلك بغية الوصول إلى توصيات حيوية وعملية حول ما ينبغي تدريسه في مساقات الترجمة إذا ما أريد لها أن تستجيب لاحتياجات الطلبة لحقيقية التي يأمل هؤلاء في تحقيقها بحيث يمكن تأهيلهم تأهيلا صحيحا كمترجمين.

 في هذا البحث سأشير إلى العناصر الرئيسة التي اعتقد بأنه يتوجب على مدرس الترجمة الجامعي أن يلتفت إليها عند تدريس مساقات الترجمة وإعدادها. وهذه العناصر سيتم بحثها في هذا البحث على مستوى الكلمة والجملة وكذلك النص. كما سنشير إلى كيفية علاج المشكلات النحوية والثقافية لدى تدريب المترجمين.


* Explanations of cultural codes are given in bold between brackets. These explanations have been provided by CUP.

New face of ageism

Growing old has not got any easier. ANNE KARPF observes a new set of stereotypes.

UNTIL recently the world- or this corner of it-was an indisputably ageist place. The old were either benign grandparents or burdensome Alzahaimer sufferers, Orthopaedic boots [special shoes designed for old people ], walking frames [a metal frame to support walking] and Horlicks [a brand of hot malt drink particularly popular with old people]  were their proper domain [the usual things] . But then it all began to change. The image of ageing became rejuvenated. Post-menopausal you might be, but post-aerobics? Never. Increasingly, old people are depicted not as dentured cronies but as leotarded achievers. But ageism hasn’t gone away; it’s had a face-lift.

If old people are now less likely to be invariably portrayed as passive victims, the new stereotype has stepped in smartly to take its place. Now the increasingly popular visual images of the old are on safari climbing mountains; they effortlessly lap Olympic-seized pools, run marathons, complete Open University degrees, master Swahili.

At first, the new images seemed refreshing and liberating. It was a relief to know that you didn’t have to

swap denim for crimplene [denim, the fabric of jeans, is a symbol of youth while crimpline is a soft fabric used in the manufacture of clothes, used to especially popular with older people]-when the free bus pass arrived [in the UK people of retirement age (60 for women and 65 for men) automatically receive a free bus ticket; now it has become a joke among people who are about to retire]. The threshold of "old" visibly shifted, and the early images of the later Joan Collins and Jane Fonda seemed to totally redefine the lifespan: at the age when our foremothers were spent and sagging[in the past, old people did not take care of their appearance but today many old people are quite glamorous], these women were lithe and sizzling, effervescing with sex [examples of glamorous older people such as are Joan Collins, a British actress, who is now a kind of sex symbol at the age of 60+].

But something wasn’t right. The new way of valuing older people was to highlight their youthfulness. These older people were being celebrated for looking and acting young. Ageing had become a social crime.

In some ways this new stereotype of the "young old" is even more oppressive than the "old old" one was.

Celebrities with their Hormone Replacement Therapy smiles and  marathon-running pensioners [an example to highlight how some old people are doing things we normally associate with a younger generation] may inspire some, but to others they represent [not everyone likes this new role model where older people constantly try to look and act younger than they are] an unattainable aspiration. And like the previous stereotypes, the new ones still lump old people together as a category rather than acknowledging their differences.

There’s a seemingly charming story about the American feminist Gloria Steinem. On her 50th birthday an admirer came up and told her that she didn’t look 50. "This is what 50

looks like," she retorted. I used to like that story until it struck me that she was wrong: no, this is what some 50-year-olds look like.

Those who’ve had materially or emotionally harder lives, who were widowed young or brought up kids alone, those whose genetic inheritance didn’t include infinitely elastic skin or unshrinking bones, whose faces are mapped with past exertion and present fatigue, don’t look like Gloria Steinem. But they shouldn’t be punished for it.

The new images of ageing have brought their own ghastly truisms. “Ladies and Gentlemen, You Are Only As Old As You Feel.” They keep saying that. But what if you feel old?

If you feel old and have had enough, if life seems less inviting and more depleting, we’d rather not know. Just as we like our disabled people smiling and exceptional (the blind mountain-climber, the deaf musician) [examples to support the idea that society enjoys hearing stories about exceptional people with disabilities, we don’t like to hear about the ordinary disabled people]so we want the oldies that have bags of energy, who’ve never felt better, who are endlessly self-regenerating and amazing for their age" [society alos likes those exceptional old people who seem younger than they are], not those who merely show it, (The revolution will have occurred when "you look your age" is a compliment.) [the author argues that society is still agist and this will not change until we accept people for what they are]We have reached such a pitch that instead of admiring and learning from those who feel they’ve had enough and are ready to die, [the image of the exceptional old person has now become the role model, almost] we’re forever trying to jolly them up and yank them back to life.

Look how they could be:

like the American 92-year-old featured last week on ITV’s ’First Tuesday" who’s had 60 years of good health because, the doctors say, he’s psychologically healthy. In the 1980s we were told it was our fault if we fell ill (we didn’t eat properly or exercise enough); now it’s our fault if we age. We lack the right attitudes or face cream[a cosmetic moisturizing cream marketed as something to make your skin look younger]

But perhaps we shouldn’t be hard on the new stereotype of ageing-it’s only a response to the previous one. When everyone was portraying old people in a negative way, one antidote was to reverse the image, deny ageing, and remake the old as glamorous and athletic, even if for most old people in our society ageing is less about running a marathon and more about staff in residential homes intruding without knocking when residents are in the loo [an example of bad practice at residential care homes for old people (staff not allowing the old resisents the privacy of going to the toilet on their own]

It’s no return to the crimplene [see note above re the soft fabric] and Dundee cake [another example of a kind of cake, from Scotland, that is associated with old people]image of old age that I’m touting [supporting]. Clearly we are capable of living far more fully in old age than previous stereotypes allowed.

Nor do I deny the importance of helping old people to retain their vitality and develop their creativity as long as they want. And, of course, there are the healthy old, I hope I’ll be one of them. It’s the preoccupation with the exceptional, those who defy their age, and our obsession with juvenescence that wants discarding. Peter Pan is not an appropriate icon for our greying times [Peter Pan is the fictional character who never got old – the author feels this should not be the role model for old people – we should enjoy getting old.]


Published - July 2011

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