Cultural Problems of Translating Mosuli Folk Songs into English

  • Dr. Najat Abdulrahman Hasan University of Mosul-College of Arts - Dept. of Translation


This paper aims at examining problems and difficulties encountered by translators when attempting to translate Mosul's folk songs into English. Folk songs originate among people of a certain country or region. These songs are passed orally from one generation to the other. Such lyrics are marked by having very specific linguistic and phonological structures. The rationale behind this study is that the translation of folk songs in general and Mosul's ones in particular has not yet been given the proper attention and that there is a clear paucity in the translation literature of such field. The problem that this study will focus on, is that both novice translators and translation students alike might find it difficult to translate the cultural meaning of folk songs. The key aims of this study are to define the difficulties and problems associated with the translation of folk songs, in addition to analyzing the translation errors made by the students while conducting the translation task. The study hypothesizes that there is no one- to-one translation equivalence between the SL and TL texts. It also hypothesizes that translating folk songs requires special knowledge and expertise that only competent translators might have. Conversely, novice and incompetent translators will find it difficult to handle such task properly. The model of Wilson (2009) will be adopted for this study, since it provides an appropriate framework for the translation of folk songs from Arabic into English.
As for the procedures followed, there will be a selection of certain problematic folk songs excerpts for analysis. These excerpts will be translated by four 4th class translation students. Their translation versions will be analyzed to determine errors and misinterpretations.
Since Mosul's folk songs are sung in anniversaries and social events without any collateral music or sometimes with simple musical instruments, and since translating folk songs requires relaying both the written poetic and the musical aspects of the SL lyric. Hence, the study will not include the translation of the musical aspect which will remain beyond the scope of this study.
Jul 4, 2020
How to Cite
HASAN, Dr. Najat Abdulrahman. Cultural Problems of Translating Mosuli Folk Songs into English. Journal of Language Studies, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 3, p. 99-112, july 2020. ISSN 2616-6224. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 jan. 2021. doi: