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  5. "حاسوب اَلْأُسْتاذة في مَكْتَ…

"حاسوب اَلْأُسْتاذة في مَكْتَب اَلْأُسْتاذة."

Translation:The professor's computer is in the professor's office.

October 30, 2019



What bothers me in my translation is that I totally disregard the professor's gender. If I did not translate this for Duo Lingo (so rigid!), I would have translated this somewhat like "the woman professor's . . ." or "the female professor's"; I come from a background where gender is usually indicated—as in so many languages, so omitting some known detail from my translation feels wrong.


In Arabic, omitting the gender is impossible. On the other hand, in English (and a lot of other languages), systematically adding the gender feels wrong. If someone says "the female professor", it means that the gender is somehow relevant to the information. Besides, translating from a gendered to a non-gendered language would become tedious. Would you always say "the male/female doctor", "my male/female friend", "a male/female lawyer"...?

Therefore, the rule of thumb in translation (not only in Duolingo) is:

  • From a gendered to a non-gendered language: not specify the gender (unless it's important in the text)
  • From a non-gendered to a gendered language: try to deduce the gender from context, and if it's not possible, assign a random gender
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