The Translation of Fashion Terminologies into Arabic: Arabic-English Code Mixing in Fashion Magazines

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Dweikat, Eline
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Eline Amjad Nathmi Dweikat
The present study addresses the translation of fashion jargon from English into Arabic and examines the phenomenon of Arabic-English code mixing in Arab fashion magazines. This study seeks to highlight the most problematic areas faced by translators while translating the specific terminology of this field. Also, it attempts to analyze the phenomenon of code mixing in terms of both form (linguistic patterns) and function (motivations). It is essentially based on a number of theoretical frameworks including Newmark's (1988) classification of culture-specific items and his proposed set of translation strategies to translate them, Ho's (2007) classification model of code mixing items according to their linguistic patterns and Myers-Scotton's (1993b) Markedness Model. This research tackles the problems of overusing the strategy of transliteration which is employed to render terms and phrases that have clear and direct equivalents in Arabic as well as, mixing English terms within Arabic texts without having convincing and rational reasons for that. The study follows a descriptive quantitative analytical approach in order to identify the most frequently adopted translation strategies by Arab editors of fashion magazines and the study subjects in the translation of fashion jargon. In addition, it counts the frequencies and percentages of each linguistic pattern of code mixing. This research uses as its instruments a questionnaire of 50 selected English terms related to the fashion field that was distributed to 22 female master's students of translation at An Najah National university and interviews with some leading Arab experts in the fashion media such as, Aline Watfa, presenter of Style program on MBC1, and Mimi Raad, a fashion expert and an editor in chief at MBC Group. The study is significant because, to the best of the researcher's knowledge, is the first that attempts to explore the phenomenon of code mixing in Arab fashion magazines and the role that English as symbolic power plays in this type of discourse. The findings of this study reveal that transference is the most frequently employed translation strategy in fashion magazines while descriptive equivalent is the most frequently used strategy by the study subjects which emphasize the existence of a real lexical gap between English and Arabic in this particular field. Moreover, it finds that lexical word code mixing is the highest frequently found linguistic pattern in Arab fashion magazines. Further, it shows that about half of the code mixing items included in the quantitative analysis are motivated by additional motivations such as catching the readers' attention and exploiting the symbolic power of English which means that this mix cannot be accepted or justified. This research also highlights the role of English as symbolic capital in the discourse of fashion in general and in Arab fashion magazines in particular. Finally, it concludes that English is used in Arabic texts as a means of reflecting images of glamour, prestige, modernity and quality that it can activate in the readers’ minds and that the use of English by Arabs in general and those who work in the field of fashion in particular reflects their attitudes towards constructing a modern cosmopolitan identity. However, the findings and conclusions of this study are limited to this particular type of discourse and to the specific type of publications (fashion magazines). They cannot be generalized to other types of discourse because this study is limited in scope and highly specialized in subject.
The Translation of Fashion Terminologies into Arabic: Arabic-English Code Mixing in Fashion Magazines