Dinha T. Gorgis & Aladdin Al-Kharabsheh: Translation of Arabic Collocations into English
claims that recourse to a dictionary is unavoidable at any stage of training undergraduates, including examinations.
The underlying assumption here is that, according to the dictionary-based view, training translators will skim the readily accessible dictionary entries in search for the most adequate and reliable equivalents. The dictionary-free view contends that trainees will skim translational correspondences, including lexical relations as stored in their mental lexicon, in no time. Not only this, but holds that "the human word-store contains far, far more information about each lexical entry" (Rangelova/Echeandia 2003). Indeed, this is bound to present conflicting entailments. The former, for instance, seems to entail the likelihood, on the part of an equivalent-finder, to resort to generally the first given dictionary entry, thus a predilection to venture down the path of literal translation could be tenable here. By contrast, the latter, which advocates a dictionary-free treatment of equivalence, seems to entail the ability to skim and access the closest options, if already stored, in the mental lexicon; that is, the skimming process, though requiring more cognitive processing on the part of trainees, but less sight tracking, is more likely to result in a fewer selection of senses for the required lexical item and hence the choice of a functional equivalent that emerges in a relatively shorter time span. In the first author's experience, the dictionary-based selection freedom is, accordingly, time-consuming because entry meanings in the general dictionaries made available to novice translators in the class are not listed to well-defined criteria and objectives and hence the indeterminacy and indecisiveness on the part of the proper sense finder. That a dictionary-free task saves time is already implicitly acknowledged in James Cook University's document on Policy and Procedures regarding "Student Access to a Dictionary During an Examination"1.
The manual states the following: "Candidates using a bilingual English translation dictionary are not permitted extra time to complete their examination." No wonder, it is reported that 70% of the translation instructors in Saudi Arabia universities do not allow their students to use dictionaries in class or test sessions (cf. Al-Jarf 2001). In the second author's relatively shorter experience, on the other hand, equal opportunities are offered to trainees and/or testees in an attempt to create a healthy "feel-free" class, not to mention the fact that it has been traditionally held that dictionaries are authoritative, better sources for finding delicate meanings and lexical associations than relying on intuition and stored knowledge in the mind. This view is by and large the norm on the current scene (cf. Ryu 2006; Maurer-Stroh 2004); dictionary use is more often than not recommended and encouraged.
Incidentally, these two conflicting views have already been tested by Rangelova/Echeandia (2003) who hypothesized that "dictionary entries are not representative of the way humans link words together in their minds" (2003: 2). Their sample subjects for the study, which included 16 dictionaries and a questionnaire on how learners use them, were 26 international students enrolled in the intermediate and advanced level ESL classes in the English Language program at the University of Albany, New York. The students came from a diversity of countries representing eight different languages. They concluded that dictionaries are limited in scope in comparison with the mental lexicon and, therefore, "tend to overlook the way lexical items are interconnected in semantic memory" (ibd.). In an attempt to find out preferences in employing the 16 dictionaries, their results showed that their subjects "chose the definitions that included examples of the systematic collocational patterns of words as "most helpful" over definitions that did not contain collocations" (2003: 4).
By extension, this paper purports to investigate the matter in an endeavour to settle the dispute between the present researchers and, as a by-product, to verify the dictionary/mental lexicon
http://www.jcu.edu.au/policy/allitoz/JCUDEV_005335.html. ISSN 1615-3014