Multiple Arabic Equivalents to English Medical Terms

Translation Issues

  • Reima Saado Al-Jarf King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Keywords: English medical terminology, English-Arabic medical dictionaries, multiple Arabic equivalents, translation students, terminology problems, Arabic terminology shortcomings


Translation of medical texts poses several challenges to undergraduate student-translators due to multiple Arabic equivalents to English medical terms. For medical terms such as clinical, intensive care, polyp, and osteoporosis several Arabic equivalents exist. A sample of English medical terms with multiple Arabic equivalents was collected from several English-Arabic medical dictionaries to find out the types of multiple Arabic equivalents given, the shortcomings of Arabic equivalents, and the difficulties that students have with multiple Arabic equivalents. Two lists of categories with definitions and examples were developed and used in classifying and evaluating the equivalents. In addition, students answered an Arabic medical terminology test and responded to a questionnaire-survey to find out their difficulties. Results of the analysis and evaluation of the Arabic equivalents, medical terminology test, and responses to the questionnaire-survey are reported in detail. Recommendations for translation instruction are also given.