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Arabic Brand Names: To Translate or Transliterate?

Al 'Awadhi, Noura
A Master of Arts thesis in Translation and Interpreting MATI (English/Arabic/English) by Noura Al 'Awadhi entitled, "Arabic Brand Names: To Translate or Transliterate?," January 2014. Thesis advisor is Dr. Sattar Izwaini. Available are both hard and soft copies of the thesis.
The thesis examines the process of brand naming and brand translation, focusing on three models: Dubai, Sharjah and Saudi Arabia. In terms of brand naming and translation method, these three places illustrate different systems. Translation and transliteration are the two main methods used when transferring a brand from a source into a target language. Due to reasons that the thesis will highlight, the process of transliteration has become popular nowadays. The thesis investigates the efficiency of the two methods of translation and transliteration within the brand naming and marketing frame, and looks into the decision of whether to translate or transliterate, as well as the reasons behind why transliteration has become popular. The data were collected from different sources, mainly from yellow pages, telephone directories, on-the-ground business surveys and interviews. It is concluded that while transliteration seems to be the most applicable method due to its flexibility, time and effort saving, legal stipulation and translation difficulty, the impact of semantic loss for non-Arabic brand receivers is inevitable and will as a consequence affect the brand image.
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