Arabic Translation of ‘The Murder on the Links’: Replacing Idioms with Idioms

Syed Nurulakla Syed Abdullah, Al Harbi Emad Obaid, Nik Farhan Mustapha, Rasha M. Talal Zahrawi, Yuli Widiana, Salwani Sabtu


The translation of idioms is an essential part of human interaction and involves not only words but also ideas and actions. This study examined the English idioms used by Agatha Christie in her novel, 'The Murder on the Links', and how they were translated into Arabic as idioms by Elbaradei. The main objective of the study was to reveal the strategies adopted by the translator to overcome the problem of lack of equivalence, specifically when translating idioms into the target language. A qualitative analysis technique was used to identify Elbaradei's strategies and analyze the impact of using these strategies when deducing the meanings of idioms translated into Arabic. The analysis employed Baker's strategies for translating idioms that consist of the use of an idiom with a similar meaning but different form, the use of an idiom with similar meaning and form, paraphrasing, and omission. The two methods discussed in this paper are: (1) using an idiom with another idiom that has a similar meaning but dissimilar form, and (2) using an idiom with another idiom that has a similar meaning and form. This study discovered that using another idiom with the same meaning but in a different form is the most popular method of translating English idioms into Arabic, although previous research has shown that paraphrasing is the most popular method. Moreover, the results showed that most idioms are clearly rendered when translated into Arabic, making it easier to infer their meanings.


Keywords: idiom, translation, strategies, Arabic, novel.



Full Text:



ALDAHESH, A. (2008). Translating idiomatic English phrasal verbs into Arabic. Doctoral thesis, College of Arts, University of Western Sydney. Retrieved from

AL-HAMDALLA, R. (1998). Problems and approaches to translation with special reference to Arabic. Journal of King Saud University, Language and Translation, 10, 23-38.

ALI, H., & AL-RUSHAIDI, S.M. (2016). Translating idiomatic expressions from English into Arabic: Difficulties and strategies. Arab World English Journal, 7(4), 187-201.

AMMER, C. (1997). The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin.

ANIS, I. et al. (1972). Al-Mu’jam Al-Wasit. Cetakan Kedua. Kaherah: Majma’ Al-Lughah Al-Arabiyyah.

ARY, D. (2010). Introduction to research in education. Thompson Wadsworth.

ASHUR, I. (1984). Al-Tahrir Wa Al-Tanweer. Dar Alsahnoon.

AYOUB, Y. (1994). Some linguistic and cultural problems in translating idiomatic expressions from Arabic into English and vice versa. Master’s thesis, Yarmouk University.

BAHUMAID, S. (2010). Strategies of Translating Idioms in English-Arabic Dictionaries. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 11, 101-125. Retrieved from

BAKER, M. (1992). In other words: A course book on translation. London: Routledge.

BASSNETT-MCGUIRE, S. (1980). Translation Studies. London: Methuen.

BATAINEH, R.F., WARDAT, M., & BADER, Y. (1996). The ability of Jordanian graduate students to translate English idiomatic expressions into Arabic. Retrieved from

DAWOOD, M. (2014). Al-Mujam almusuei liltaebir alaistilahiah fi allughah alarabiah. 4th ed. Cairo: Dar Nahdat Misr Li Al Tabaat Wa Al-Nasher.

ELBARADEI, N. (1995). Jarimah fi malab algolf. 5th ed. Al Ain: Ajyal Publisher.

FARGHAL, M., & ALMANNA, A. (2022). Phonological and Morphological Asymmetries in Arabic/English Translation. Journal of Southwest Jiaotong University, 57(6), 620-628.

FARGHAL, M., & ALMANNA, A. (2022). Translating Semantic Features between English and Arabic. Journal of Southwest Jiaotong University, 57(6), 306-318.

FERNANDO, C. (1996). Idioms and idiomacity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

HIGGS, J., HORSFALL, D., & GRACE, S. (eds.) (2009). Writing Qualitative Research on Practice. Leiden: Brill.

HOWWAR, M. (2013). Seeking the Nature of Idioms: A Study in Idiomatic English and Arabic meanings. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 3(2), 1-3. Retrieved from

JABBARI, M.J. (2016). Idiomatic Expressions in Translation. Journal of Advances in Humanities, 4(3), 507-514.

KHALIL, M. (2011). Employing Compensation Strategy in Translation of Idioms: A Case Study of the Translation of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Persian. International Journal of Linguistics, 3(1), E46.

KHOSRAVI, S., & KHATIB, M. (2012). Strategies used in translation of English idioms into Persian in novels. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(9), 1854-1859.

LAFTA, K. (2015). The Translation of Idioms in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” into Arabic. Master’s thesis, University of Malaya. Retrieved from's_Animal_Farm_in.pdf

LARSON, D. (1984). Guidelines for Barfoot Language Learning. Saint Paul, Minnesota: CMS Publishing.

LINCOLN, Y.S., & GUBA, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, California: Sage. Retrieved from

LOPEZ RODRIGUEZ, C.L., VELASCO, J.A.P., & SANCHEZ, M.T. (2009). Sharing Environmental Information through Multilingual Terminological and Multimedia Resources: The Role of Accessibility in Increasing Public Awareness towards Sustainable Growth. In: HŘEBÍČEK, J., HRADEC, J., PELIKÁN, E., MÍROVSKÝ, O., PILMMANN, W., HOLOUBEK, I., & LEGAT, R. (eds.) Towards environment. Opportunities of SEIS and SISE: Integrating Environmental Knowledge in Europe. Prague: Masaryk University. Retrieved from

MACARYUS, S., WICAKSONO, Y.P., SUDIRMAN, A., & ANAFIAH, S. (2021). The power of language ideologies in advertisements: Critical reflections. Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences, 58, 424-430. Retrieved from

MANSOR, N.S., & CHIN, M. (2022). The sociolinguistic factors that influence the choice of address terms in the Spanish film ‘Roma’. Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences, 59, 427-438. Retrieved from

MOLLANAZAR, H. (2004). Principle and Methodology of Translation. Tehran: SAMT.

NEILL, J. (2007). Qualitative versus quantitative research: Key points in a classic debate. Retrieved from

NEWMARK, P. (1988). A Textbook of Translation. New York: Prentice Hall.

NIDA, E.A., & TABER, C.R. (1982). The Theory and Practice of Translation. Leiden: Brill. Retrieved from

RIZQ, W. (2003). Alsraj aloujiz ma'jm lilmtradfat wala'barat alastlahiah wala'dhdad ala'rabiah. 2nd ed. Cairo: Maktabat Lobnan Abo Alhoul.

SEEHUSEN, K., DICKMANN, M., MANN, F., STRAUSS, M., HAGER, P., ARMANDO, S., & SCHNEIDER, R. (2017). Analysis of the role of acidity and tea substrate on the inhibition of α-amylase by Kombucha. Journal of Nutrition, Food Research and Technology, 0(0), 1-5.

SNELL-HORNBY, M. (1988). Translation Studies: An Integrated Approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

SPEARS, R. (2005). Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. New York: McGraw-Hill.

UNJA, H. (2019). The strategies applied in the translation of Indonesian idioms into English in novel ‘Ziarah’. Jambi-English Language Teaching, 4(1), 39-47.

WIDIANA, Y., SUMARLAM, MARMANTO, S., PURNANTO, D., & SULAIMAN, M.Z. (2020). Intrusive Busybody or Benevolent Buddy: Phatic Communication among Javanese Women. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies, 20(2), 36-56.


  • There are currently no refbacks.