Difficulties in Translating Culturally Bound Conversational Words and Phrases in English and Kurdish

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Abdul-Nafi' Kh. Hasan


The purpose of conducting this study is to identify and handle the problems arising from translating conversational words and phrases rooted in culture from English into Kurdish and vice versa. To achieve the objectives of the current research, source language conversational texts associated with greetings, politeness terms, kinship terms, address terms and words and phrases used on different occasions are translated into their counterparts in the target language. The results obtained from the translations show that translating cultural concepts is problematic and burdensome, and the problems identified result from cultural differences between the two languages and from literal translation which often leads to unnatural and incomprehensible expressions although this technique is used to borrow a source language expression. The results also indicate that translating culturally-bound conversational words and phrases requires good knowledge and mastery of both languages and cultures and proper use of various translation techniques. This research paper is an attempt to identify the problems that arise in translating culturally-specific conversational words and phrases from English into Kurdish and vice versa. It also aims to find out effective ways of overcoming the problem through implementing appropriate techniques for translating culturally-loaded words and phrases associated with greetings, terms of address, politeness terms, family relationship, in both languages.


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How to Cite
Hasan, A.-N. K. (2020) “Difficulties in Translating Culturally Bound Conversational Words and Phrases in English and Kurdish”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 3(1), pp. 174-180. doi: 10.14500/kujhss.v3n1y2020.pp174-180.
Author Biography

Abdul-Nafi' Kh. Hasan, Department of English Language, College of Basic Education, Salahaddin University- Erbil, Kurdistan region, Iraq

Abdul-Nafi' Khidhir Hasan is a teacher in English Department-College of Basic Education at Salahaddin University-Erbil where he has been a teaching staff member since 2008. He completed his MA in English Language and Linguistics at Koya University and his BA in English Language and Literature at Salahaddin University-Erbil. He currently teaches third-year undergraduates Morphology,  Syntax,  and fourth-year undergraduates Syntax. He is interested in researching language and language teaching.


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