Error Analysis in Translation Pedagogy

(A Study of EFL Students at Al-Saeed University)

  • Belqes Al-Sowaidi Associate professor in Translation Studies Taiz University -Yemen/ A research fellow at UWC, Cape Town
الكلمات المفتاحية: Error Analysis (EA), Translation errors (TE), Source text (ST), Target text (TT)


Students who are studying translation face challenges and unique problems when they translate texts from Arabic into English and vice versa. Therefore, a study of translation errors is needed to investigate the most common types of translation errors that affect the process of translating from Arabic into English, and vice versa. The purpose of this study is to examine the translation errors of fourth year students in the Bachelor of Arts program in translation studies at Al-Saeed University (SU) in Yemen. During SU’s academic year 2021-2022, data was collected in order to determine the extent to which the formal training of students contributes to the errors they make during the translation process. This study argues that the problems encountered by translators can be overcome or minimised if factors such as literary genre, gender, and directionality in the process of translation are considered. It was concluded that there is a relationship between the directionality of the translation (i.e., Arabic to English, and vice versa) and errors. The outcomes of this study will be used to improve translation courses and graduate translation competency in Yemen. This study recommends that teaching materials should be updated, and that all translation sub-competencies be assessed.


1. Ariani, N. M., & Artawa, K. (2022). Analysis of the grammatical errors of English public signs translations in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 18(2).
2. Badawi, M. F. (2008). Investigating EFL Prospective Teachers’ Ability to Translate Culture-Bound Expressions. Online Submission.
3. Baker, M. (1992). In other words: A coursebook on translation. London and New York: Routledge.
4. Burt, M., & Kiparsky, C. (1974). Global and local mistakes. New frontiers in second language learning, 71-80.
5. Corder, S. P. (1967). The significance of learner’s errors. IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 5(4), 161–170. Retrieved at
6. Corder, S. P. (1974). Error analysis. The Edinburgh course in applied linguistics, 3, 122-131.
7. Corder, S. P. (1976). Error Analysis and Interlanguage. Applied Linguistics, 2.
8. Dulay, H. & Burt, M. (1974). You can’t learn without goofing. In Error analysis. ed. J. C. Richards. London: Longman.
9. Dweik, B. Abu-Shaqra, M. (2011). Problems in translating collocations in religious Texts in light of the contextual theory, The Linguistics Journal, 5 (1),5-41.
10. Ellis, R. (1995). Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
11. Jabak, O. (2019). Problems in Arabic-English Translation of Articles Encountered by Saudi Students. Retrieved at
12. James, C. (1998). Errors in Language Learning and Use. London: Longman.
13. Mohammed, A. S. E. (2018). A Study of the Linguistic Problems Faced by Saudi English Language Students at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University (PSAU) when Translating from Arabic into English. English Language Institute Journal, (1).
14. Na Pham, P. Q (2005). Error analysis in Vietnamese - English translation: pedagogical implications (doctoral dissertation). University of Western Sydney. Retrieved from
15. Nord, C. (1997). Translating as a purposeful activity: functionalist approaches explained. Manchester, UK: St Jerome Publishing.
16. Popescu, T. (2013). A Corpus-based approach to translation error analysis. A case-study of Romanian EFL learners. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 242-247.
17. Pym, A. (1992). Translation and text transfer. An Essay on the Principles of Intercultural Communication. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
18. Richards, J. (1974). A Non-Contrastive Approach to Error Analysis. In Richards, J. (Ed.). Error analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition. 172-188. Essex: Longman. RICHARDS, J.C. (1971).
19. Richards, J. C. (1980). Second language acquisition: Error analysis. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 1, 91-107.
20. Sawyer, D. B. (2004). Fundamental aspects of interpreter education. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
21. Seguinot, C. (1990). Interpreting errors in translation. Meta, 35, 68-73.
22. Selinker, L. (1974). Interlanguage. In Richards, J. (Ed.). Error analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition. 31-54. Essex : Longman.
23. Selinker, L., & Gass, S. M. (2008). Second language acquisition. Lawrence Erlhaum Ass.
24. Shahata, L. H. A. (2020). Sentence Translation Challenges among Arabic-Speaking EFL Students. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 10(04), 321.
25. Shamsan, M., & Attayib, A. M. (2016). Investigating Morpho-Syntactic Translation Errors Made by Yemeni EFL Students. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Translation, (5).
26. Taylor, B. P. (1975). The use of overgeneralization and transfer learning strategies by elementary and intermediate students of ESL 1. Language learning, 25(1), 73-107.
27. Van Valin, R. D. (Ed.). (1993). Advances in role and reference grammar.499-534. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
28. Vinay, J. P., & Darbelnet, J. (2000). A methodology for translation. The Translation Studies Rreader, 84-93.
29. Zagood, M., & Juma, M. (2012). A contrastive study of relativization in English and Arabic with reference to translation pedagogy (Doctoral dissertation, Durham University).

30. Abdul-Wali, alard, ya Salma (“Our Land, Salma,” 1966). Retrieved from

32. Alburno (n.d.) Faltarah. Ra‎ay alyawm (2022) Retrieved from

33. (2021) Five million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’– UN relief coordinator tells Security Council. UN News. Retrieved from
كيفية الاقتباس
Belqes Al-Sowaidi. (2022). Error Analysis in Translation Pedagogy: (A Study of EFL Students at Al-Saeed University). المجلة الدولية للعلوم الإنسانية والاجتماعية, (37), 174-190.