A Master of Arts Thesis in Translation and Interpreting (English / Arabic / English) by Manar Abdelhafeeth Abdalla Entitled, "Translating English Euphemisms into Arabic: Challenges and Strategies," May 2009. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
The aim of this thesis is to examine the theoretical and practical issues that arise in the translation of euphemisms from English into Arabic. Euphemisms are words or stretches of words used in various forms of discourse where the author intends to express a thought or an emotion, which if communicated bluntly, would cause the receptor embarrassment and/or emotional pain. Their usage is normally governed by the social, cultural, and religious norms of a given community during a given period. By their very nature, the use of euphemisms involves a certain degree of conscious and deliberate distortion. In the case of political euphemisms, the distortion may rise to the level of willful deception. Following a review of the various ways in which euphemisms have been defined and the different contexts in which they occur, an attempt is made to determine which, if any, of the translation theories offer the most satisfactory account of how euphemisms should be translated. Different types of euphemisms used in different contexts are analyzed. It is shown that some, those for which there is a one-to-one equivalency in both the SL and the TL, may be readily translated in a formally equivalent manner; others, for which there is no such equivalency, can at best be translated in a functionally equivalent manner; and yet for others, such as those that are culturally- or ideologically-laden, explication, interpretation, and transformation become more relevant. Examples of political euphemisms will be further examined by analyzing the masterful way in which Orwell uses some of them in his novel, 1984 and how these have been translated into Arabic. As well, examples of euphemisms used in contemporary texts on Islam and Arabs written in the West are analyzed to determine the degree to which the Arab translator has to be visible in dealing with source text that is misleading, deceptive by design, and possibly detrimental to the interests of his community. The findings demonstrate that the issues that arise in the translation of euphemisms illustrate the need for more collaboration among the various approaches to deal with the translation activity as an intercultural human interaction.