The Book of Wonders of Arabic Blunders
in Journalism, Politics and Media
This book presents yet another daring critique of Arabic translation standards in journalism, politics and the media and examines the social and cultural impact of Arabic satellite television on modern Arab societies! It contains an introduction and 17 articles, papers and essays, relentlessly exploring various aspects of Arabic usage and incisively examining the critical role satellite television is playing in establishing and promoting expressions that not only violate language norms and standards and introduce cultural mismemes, but also defy logic in any language.
Blunders upon blunders are regurgitated daily by the media in amazing stubbornness and absentmindedness and picked up unawares by viewers looking up to the so-called Fourth Estate for solutions to their social and political ills and woes. The synergy between the media and the political apparatus is stupendously unmasking—despite the claims of modernity, democratization, objectivity and professionalism, Arabic media today is just another coat of paint on top of a rotting base; it is a sugar coated sedative. Bad journalistic styles and trite expressions are borrowed wholesale from English with admirable stupidity that the misnomer, Modern Standard Arabic, will soon become a reality. This is combined with an inexplicable enslavement to foreign language forms, a pathetic obsession with English expressions—mistranslated and distorted—and a shameless aversion to Arabic good usage.
Negative transfer from source languages is inevitable in translation and all languages are bound to suffer at the hands of inexperienced and inept translators and translatroids in other professions, foremost of which is journalism. Unfortunately, these translatroids are the ones that effect change—untrained, ill-prepared, motivated or driven, they wreak havoc in the target language, which is often their own native tongue—so much so that the damage they cause cuts through all the baloney of nativity which educators of the twenty-first century seem to have re-embraced with such conviction, except in the Arab world, where the old Arabic saying goes “anyone who marries my mother becomes my stepfather"....
The Book of Wonders of
By Ali Darwish
with English introduction and abstracts
Arabic with English introduction and abstracts
Writescope Pty Ltd
Publication date: 30 July 2007
466 pp /$45.00
ISBN 0 9757419 3 4
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© 2007 Ali Darwish
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