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The Problem of Translating False Cognates from French into English: The Case of Fourth-Year Translation Students, Mentouri University of Constantine-Algeria

Dr. Yamina Bennane,

Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Letters and Foreign Languages, Mila University Center, Algeria

Just like in every field, there are several obstacles in the translation process. One of these obstacles includes translating words that are similar in form but different in meaning between two related languages. The main aim of this study is to shed light on the problem of false cognates and investigate its impact on students’ production when translating from French into English. It also seeks to raise awareness among teachers and students about this issue, which is considered a source of translation difficulties. This study was based on a test that was administered to 4th-year translation students at Mentouri University in Constantine, Algeria. The results revealed that false cognates constitute a problem for future Algerian translators. In 72.4% of the cases, students fell into the trap of false cognates when translating from French into English; they were deceived by any two similar words existing between these two languages like, “délai” and “delay”. The study concluded that teachers should alert students to the problem of false cognates. They are also required to devote more time to teaching the similarities and differences between students learning two related languages like French and English. More importantly, they are asked to teach their students that not all similarities between languages result in positive transfer since they sometimes lead to interference, like in the case of deceptive cognates.

Keywords: Translation Difficulties, False Cognates, Related Languages, Translation Students, Interference

The above abstract is a part of the article which was accepted at The Eighth International Conference on Languages, Linguistics, Translation and Literature (WWW.LLLD.IR), 14-15 February 2023, Ahwaz.