The Challenges Facing Translation Students in Translating Sports Idiomatic Expressions from Arabic into English




Arabic-English translation, challenges, idioms and expressions, sports headlines


This study aims to examine the most commonly used strategies for translating sports idiomatic expressions from Arabic to English. It also aims to address the main difficulties faced by MA translation students when translating sports idiomatic expressions used in sports headlines from Arabic into English. Additionally, it aims to provide solutions and recommendations to overcome these problems. The sample for the study consisted of 40 MA translation students studying at the University of Jordan and Yarmouk University. The study collected data from sports headlines selected from Jordanian newspapers: Alghad, Alrai, and Aldustour, as well as electronic sports news sites such as Kooora and beIN Sport. Two research tools were used to collect the data: a translation test consisting of 15 sports idiomatic expressions and an interview. The study revealed that the most frequent strategy used was total equivalence/literal translation. Moreover, the study found that 58.17% of students provided incorrect translations. In conclusion, the study found that students faced numerous problems in translating Arabic sports idioms into English. These problems included limited knowledge of translation strategies, unfamiliarity with the characteristics of idioms, cultural differences, a tendency towards literal translation, unfamiliarity with sports idioms, and weak linguistic/pragmatic competence. The study also proposed solutions to overcome these problems and difficulties.

Author Biography

Murad Mohammad  Al Kayed, Al-Balqa Applied University, Jordan

Assistant Professor of English Language and Linguistics

Al-Balqa Applied University, Jordan


Al Mubarak, Amin Ali. (2017). ‘Exploring the problems of teaching translation theories and practice at Saudi universities: A case study of Jazan University in Saudi Arabia’. English Linguistics Research, 6(1): 87-98.

Al-Aazzawi, Kasim. (2020). Context impact on translating English sport idiomatic expressions into Arabic. Unpublished MA Thesis, University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq.

Aldahesh, Ali. (2008). Translating idiomatic English phrasal verbs into Arabic. PhD dissertation, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Al-Delaa, Abdullah and Tengku Mahadi. (2019). ‘Translatability of Arabic metaphorical sports headlines into English in the light of Leech's classification of metaphor’. IJoLLT, 2(1): 39-51.

Al-Hayali, Sultan and Mohammed, Essam. (2014). ‘Problems of translating English sports register into Arabic’. Adab Al-Rafidayn, 69: 63-80.

Alrishan, Amal and Oqlah Smadi. (2015). ‘Difficulties EFL Jordanian University students encounter in translating English idioms into Arabic’. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(10): 124–134.

Al-Shawi, Muna and Tengku Mahadi. (2012). ‘Strategies for translating idioms from Arabic into English and vice versa’. Journal of American Arabic Academy for Sciences and Technology, 3(6): 139-147.

Al-Azzawi, Kasim and Luqman A. Nasser. (2022). ‘Context impact in translating sport idiomatic expressions from English into Arabic with regard to types of idioms’. Adab Al-Rafidayn, 52(88): 1-24.

Awwad, Mohammad. (1990). Equivalence and translatability of English and Arabic idioms. (Retrieved on 14 April 2023).

Baker, Mona. (1992). In Other Words: A Course Book on Translation. London: Routledge.

Bani Essa, Lama. (2019). Challenges in translating sport language (football) in the world cup 2018 from English into Arabic. Unpublished MA thesis, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan.

Bekkai, Meriem. (2009). The influence of culture on Arabic/English/ Arabic translation of idioms and proverbs. Unpublished MA thesis, Mentouri University, Constantine, Algeria.

Davies, Maria González. (2004). Multiple Voices in the Translation Classroom: Activities, Tasks and Projects. Amesterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Dweik, Bader and Maisa Suleiman. (2013). ‘Problems encountered in translating cultural expressions from Arabic into English’. International Journal of English Linguistics, 3(5): 47-60.

Hamdan, Jihad. M., Randa S. Naser, and Hady J. Hamdan. (2021). ‘Arabic-English translation in the Palestinian–Israeli ‘conflict’: Ideology in the wings’. SKASE Journal of Translation and Interpretation, 14 (2):80–96.

Khalifah, Lama and Aseel Zibin. (2022). ‘Arabic-English metaphor translation from a cognitive linguistic perspective: evidence from Naguib Mahfuz Midaq Alley and its translated version’. Babel, 68(6):860-889.

Khammyseh, Daoud. (2015). ‘The problems in translating Islamic expressions in religious occasions’. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(35): 103-109.

Khedri, Hajar and Mohammad Reza Fumani. (2016). ‘Investigating the strategies used in translation of soccer idiomatic expressions from English into Persian based on the model proposed by Baker 1992’. Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM), 6(6): 135-141.

Kohil, H. (2009). Investigating problems in translating English idiomatic phrasal verbs into Arabic. Unpublished MA thesis, Mentouri University of Constantine, Algeria.

Larson, Mildred L. (1984). Meaning-based Translation: A Guide to Cross-language Equivalence. Lanham: University press of America.

Mabrook, Abdelazim. (2021). ‘Investigating the problems encountered by EFL students in translating English idioms into Arabic or vice Versa’. JEE Journal of English Education, 7(1). Retrieved from

Mollanazar, Hossein. (2004). Principles and Methodology of Translation. Tehran: SAMT.

Newmark, Peter. (1988). A Textbook of Translation (2nd ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.

Nida, Eugene Albert and Charles Taber. (1969). The Theory and Practice of Translation. The Netherlands: Brill.

Obeid, Tamer. (2018). Translating football nicknames in the Arabic Media. Unpublished MA thesis, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine.

Richards, Jack and Richard Schmidt. (2002). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Malaysia: Pearson Education Limited.

SajidJuma’a, Othman. (2014). Translating idiomatic expressions from English into Arabic. Unpublished MA thesis, Middle East University, Amman, Jordan.

Schultz, Malin. (2013). Translating the special language of football from English to Swedish: A study on terminology and metaphor. Unpublished MA thesis, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.

Seidl, Jennifer and William McMordie. (1988). English Idioms (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Shehab, Ekrema and Rema Nazzal. (2020). ‘The translation of game/sport metaphors in English business texts into Arabic: A cognitive approach’. Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Translation Studies, 5(1): 21-40.

Yowelly, Azziz and Muftah Lataiwish. (2000). Principles of Translation. Benghazi: Dar Annahda Alarabia.


Date of Publication

2023-10-05 — Updated on 2024-01-02

How to Cite

 Al Kayed, M. M. (2024). The Challenges Facing Translation Students in Translating Sports Idiomatic Expressions from Arabic into English. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 24(1), 401–418.



Table of Contents