Investigating the Difficulties of Translating Arabic Slang Hashtags into English: A Pragmatics Study

Omar Ahmed Shihab [1] & Nazik Aziz Darweesh [2]

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.10290793

[1] Prof. Dr. Tikrit University, College of Arts, Translation Department, email:

[2] Assistant Lecturer, Al-Diwaniyah Education Directorate, email:


This research, which deals with the investigation of the difficulties of translating some slang Arabic hashtags into English, falls under the umbrella of pragmatics. A term or phrase that classifies or categorizes the preceding content and is preceded by the sign” #” is referred to as a hashtag. The primary aim of this study is to identify solutions to the difficulties associated with translating Iraqi hashtags based on context, cultural connotation, and pragmatic effect. Both qualitative and quantitative samples are used in the investigation. The quantitative samples relate to undergraduate M.A. students at Mosul University, while the qualitative samples are embodied in the social networking relevance theoretic approach (Sperber &Wilson, 2002), in which five posts and tweets that contain five hashtags are studied. This investigation of Arabic hashtags employs study from 2022 in Iraq (Twitter & Facebook). As a guide for this work, it pursues Newmark (1988) with his translational strategies. The study proposes that hashtags serve a number of purposes that can all contribute to promoting the online cognition process in order to accomplish the aforementioned aims. The analysis demonstrates that picking the incorrect translation technique, particularly in the absence of an equivalence, is the true challenge in translating hashtags. It is also challenging to translate a source text (SL) into the target language (TL) when it is written in a slang dialect and incorporates cultural connotations and pragmatic effects. According to the methods used, the study distinguishes between appropriate and problematic translations and identifies possible solutions to the hashtag translation difficulties. The statistics further imply that hashtags can both minimize cognitive effort and enhance cognitive effects, i.e., the types of hashtags that have the greatest impact on both explicit and implicit components of communication. The relevance of acceptable and inappropriate translations in social media is crucial as they communicate urgent messages to (TL), especially in the case of hashtag campaigns, and this in itself makes (TL) users more eager to learn the purpose and genuine goal of generating the desired hashtag campaigns.

Keywords: Hashtag, relevance theoretic approach, cultural connotation, pragmatic effect, cognitive effort.



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