Translating Humorous Expressions into Arabic with Reference to Loss, Gain, and Compensation

Siddig Ahmed Ali Mohammed


This study is concerned with translating humorous expressions from English into the Arabic Language with reference to Loss, Gain, and Compensation. The idea of the research developed from an observation by the researcher that when the target audience watches a drama of funny episodes, it is hard to interact, laugh or even smile, although the drama may be accompanied by subtitles in Arabic language. The study aims to illustrate the causes of untanslatability and loss, gain, and compensation in humor translation. To achieve the aims of the study, the researcher selected a sample of 10 humorous quotes and jokes from different hilarious resources, including episodes, movies, and sitcoms and other plays. The study was conducted qualitatively and descriptively by meticulously analyzing the translated quotes to probe the causes of loss in humor translation. The study results showed that humorous expressions encounter loss, gain and compensation which require a deep understanding of context and require a sense of humor from the audience and translators besides SL culture involvement. Moreover, the overall findings showed that many humorous expressions have no counterparts in Arabic Language, therefore, loss and gain and compensations are inevitable. Based on the findings, the study concluded that humorous expressions are more frequent and with multi-version and lack the equivalence in Arabic language. It also concluded that the types of humor are an essential element in reducing the sharp difference between the SL quote and its equivalent in the TL and the loss of humor in many cases is inevitable. Finally, the study explicated the main causes and the necessary strategies of loss, gain and compensation to transfer humor into Arabic Language.


Humour, Loss, Gain, Compensation, Superiority, Incongruity, Relief

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