Dinha T. Gorgis & Aladdin Al-Kharabsheh: Translation of Arabic Collocations into English
senses for the first item, over 40 for the second, and around 30 for the third, respectively. Since specialized dictionaries such as those mentioned in the introduction are not available in the University library, the members of group A were asked to feel free using any available dictionary in their search of the most convenient sense-relation equivalent. The majority in group A used Wehr's (1994) and Baalbaki's (1995) Arabic-English dictionaries, already criticized by Abu Ssaydeh (2007) for their inadequacy to cope with collocations, while very few used monolingual English paper and electronic dictionaries. In contrast, those of group B were asked to use their minds only. The total number of sentences translated by group A were 31 x 30 = 930 and group B 40 x 30 = 1200. This should not mean that we end up with 930 + 1200 = 2130 English translations showing all sense relations for the three lexical items. Rather, we look forward to seeing the extent to which the translation of sub-groups and, ultimately, the two main groups get close to the optimal 30 translations provided by the two authors. So it is against the two authors' translation that the output of the subjects under study is assessed. Since both authors are professional translators and linguists, with a fairly long- standing experience in translating/interpreting and teaching translation for advanced learners, the said translations have not been referred to a third party for reliability validity.
It is to be noted, however, that the provision of 30 English collocations for 30 corresponding Arabic sentences is far from reality. Paraphrases are expected either way; for "one cannot assume that a concept expressed by way of collocation in one language will use a collocation in another language" (McKeon/Radev 2000: 12). Naturally, this would be too ideal; for whatever spatiotemporal constraints, among others, are imposed on collocational tests and/or whoever the tested populations are, variation in translating collocations is inevitable. Some readers might even cast doubts on words in company in the Arabic sentences as belonging to the domain of collocations, e.g. sentence 1 below, which is true if we go by one definition rather than the other made available in the literature. Since "there is no exhaustive and uniform definition or categorization of collocation" (Martyńska 2004: 5), it would be quite sufficient for the purpose of this paper to follow the Firthian's "words in company", a statement made over seven decades ago, while hoping to introduce fresh insights in a separate work.
Results and Discussion
In processing the figures we have obtained, we initially listed the number of sense equivalents given by students under each of the ten sentences selected for each of the three lexical items. For example, if ten students agreed on the sense of 'hit' for the Arabic verb /đaraba/, as shown in sentence 1 below, then we placed 'hit 10' under S1. If 5 students agreed on the sense of 'beat' for the same verb in sentence1, we placed 'beat 5' under S1. Having finished identifying and counting all the senses obtained for the first sentence, we moved to the senses of the second sentence and the rest in the same manner. As such, we ended up with a table that contains numbers S1–S10, representing the ten sentences for each of the three targeted lexical items, under each of which the number of occurrences for each sense appears. This should mean that the performance of each sub-group appears numerically in one single table. Thus the figures of six tables, viz. three for A1, A2 and A3 vs. three for B1, B2 and B3 are processed, presented and juxtaposed in such a fashion that the total figures in table 1 below represent a summary which will enable us to compare and contrast the six sub-groups and hence the two main groups.
Table 1, therefore, shows the real total number of sense equivalents given for each of the three lexical items. For example, sub-group A1 who used a dictionary, scored 57 senses for the verb /đaraba/ 'hit', whereas B1, a dictionary-free sub-group, scored 86 for the same verb. To reiterate, only 10 sense equivalents are assumed to be the optimum. It is crystal clear then how much variation is involved in the subjects' performance, especially for the verb /ħaşara/