The importance of teaching translation in the Yemeni Universities [Archives:2007/1051/Education]

May 17 2007

Mohammed Abduh Khoshafah
Ibb University
[email protected]

Literature, linguistics and ELT are major branches in teaching languages. Translation is a branch of linguistics, so the Yemeni universities teach English-Arabic translation as courses in the colleges of Arts or Education and as separate departments in some universities especially in M.A. program.

It is no denying the fact that translation has become a social phenomenon. We need translation to understand others and be understood as well. Most of the companies, banks, firms, factories, associations, organizations, etc. need translation to fulfill their transactions when they deal with foreigners. Because of these reasons and such others, the need for skillful translators is increasingly felt.

As a researcher in this field, I am convinced that it is not easy to find the required number of competent translators in the Yemeni market. If we want to ensure a team of skillful English-Arabic translators and interpreters, the university programs must run up teaching different courses on translation, focusing on the important branches that serve the people and are congruent with the needs of different sectors of the society such as mass media translation, educational translation, scientific translation, literary translation, legal translation, etc.

No nation can develop scientifically and intellectually without translation. We need to translate the works of the foreign scientists, authors, novelists, poets, etc. in order to enrich ourselves by them. Nowadays, some Yemeni university students who study in the scientific sections find it difficult to read and understand references in English. Sometimes they give these references to English specialists to be translated. Most of these translators try to escape translating such scientific terms. Some of them translate literally with the result that are misleading.

Translation is both theory and practice, so what the translator needs is a good theoretical background on translation and good practice. Students of translation must take texts from different fields and be trained to translate with their supervisors and well-experienced translators. Teaching in this regard must focus on the practical sides in so far as translation is an art and craft at the same time. Moreover, if we want to teach someone how to swim, it is better to take him to the sea directly and put him into water rather than give him a book to read about swimming.