أربك مصالح

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by jack_1313, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. jack_1313 Senior Member

    English - Australian
    Hi guys. Can someone help me understand this sentence about economic sanctions on Iran?

    My initial attempt to translate the sentence is:
    A few questions:
    1. I am right to understand تلتف عليها as meaning "to circumvent", "get around", "outflank" etc?
    2. What exactly does the phrase أربك مصالح mean?
    3. Does the ها on تأثيرها refer to المصالح الأميركية or العقوبات الاقتصادية, and how should I understand حيث in this sentence? Initially, I read that part as "... in such a way that has cause the negative effects of the economic sanctions on Iran to increase in Iraq, Syria, and some Gulf countries." But, if that was the intended meaning, I would have expected بحيث, not حيث.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Yes, I think "circumvent" is a good translation.
    Maybe "affect the interests"? or, as you said "meddle with America's interests".
    I think it refers to إيران .
    حيث explains why/how Iran is affecting/meddlin with America's interest in the region. I would use "as" to translate it. Or "with the increasing negative effect it's having in...".
     
  3. jack_1313 Senior Member

    English - Australian
    Hi Cherine - thanks for that! I'm still trying to find a way to phrase the whole sentence in a way that is clear and sounds completely natural to my English ear.

    "Although they have affected the Iranian economy severely, it seems that Iran is able to resist and circumvent them in a number of ways and meddle with America’s interests in Iraq, Syria, and some Gulf states, where its negative influence has increased."

    Do you think that sounds like an accurate translation? Or am I wrong to confine "America's interests" to the locations that are subsequently listed?

    By the way, it's quite rare that we would use "effect" (تأثير) in this way in English. We talk about the "effects" of specific events or policies, but would normally only refer to the "influence" of a country in another country. That's why I changed "effect" to "influence," and why I would never have guessed that تأثيرها would refer to Iran itself.
     
  4. Tracer

    Tracer Senior Member

    Wadi Jinn
    American English
    With just minor changes, here's a possibility from a USA perspective:

    “Although these sanctions have affected its economy severely, it appears Iran has nevertheless been able to resist and circumvent them in a number of ways. Iran has also been meddling and interfering with America’s interests in some Gulf states, where its negative influence has been increasing, and in Iraq and Syria.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  5. jack_1313 Senior Member

    English - Australian
    Hi Tracer, thanks for your input. Very much appreciated!

    I completely agree that my sentence was too long for the English ear. However, I think the author intended to highlight the contrast between the effectiveness of the sanctions, on one hand, and Iran's capacity to both get around the sanctions and "meddle with" America's interests. By breaking the sentence up, the scope of the contrast becomes less clear. Also, I'm not sure that "where its negative influence has been increasing" only refers to the Gulf States and not Syria and Iraq.

    Here's what I ended up with:

    "The American administration, under Barack Obama, has employed the tactic of economic sanctions. Although they have severely affected the Iranian economy, it seems that Iran is able to resist and circumvent them in a number of ways and meddle with America’s interests in places where its negative influence has increased, such as Iraq, Syria, and some Gulf states."

    I think the length is an still issue. But I like the fact that the answer to the question of "whose negative influence?" seems to be Iran, as Cherine suggested, but is still left slightly ambiguous, as in the Arabic text.

    The translation can still be modified, by the way, but this discussion has already really helped me develop a more accurate rendition. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  6. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Agree.
    It does indeed refer to some Gulf states, Syria and Iraq.
    :thumbsup:
    I don't think it's ambiguous in the Arabic text. No matter how many times I read the sentence, I can't see what else could the ها refer to but to Iran. And I think the same applies to your English sentence.

    Thanks for the correction. As a native speaker, you surely know much more than I do. :)
     
  7. jack_1313 Senior Member

    English - Australian
    Thanks Cherine, that's really helpful.

    Regarding the ambiguity of ها - I think I misread your level of confidence in your original post. Thanks for clarifying.

    BTW: your English proficiency seems to be very near native. I wouldn't assume that I know "much more" than you do.
     
  8. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    You're most welcome.
    I tend to use "I think" quite often. This forum taught me to be humble. :)
    Oh! Thank you for giving me so much credit. :)
     
  9. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Hi guys,

    Firstly, I wanted to say that I'm conflicted on the use of 'meddle' here. Here is why:

    To me, 'meddling' has connotations of interfering in the personal business of another; that is, the interfering of one entity in the internal or private affairs of another (in which it has no business or right to interfere). One could say the US in meddling in Iraqi, Syrian, et. al., affairs (as those are sovereign countries not subject to the authority of the US). Thus, I see the implication as Iran meddling with US meddling in the region. It may be a true statement to say that Iran is meddling in US interests, however that sort of gives the impression that the US is right or justified to impose it's interests upon the region whereas Iran is wrong to, when the reality is that neither country has that inherent right.

    Perhaps I'm over-analyzing.

    It may be an appropriate translation (as per what the author of the article intended), however, I'm still conflicted as to whether it's the best word to use in this context. I may personally choose a more neutral term (e.g. interfere, counter).

    So here are some possible translations:

    "The Obama administration has made use of economic sanctions (as a tactic) against Iran. However, the country has managed to resist and circumvent these measures in a number of ways, despite having its economy severely affected by them. It has also managed to interfere with American interests (in the region) by increasing its [own] negative influence in Iraq and Syria, as well as in some Gulf countries."

    "Despite the Obama Administration's use of economic sanctions (as a tactic) against Iran, which have deeply affected the Iranian economy, the country has managed to resist and circumvent them in a number of ways. It has also managed to interfere with American interests by increasing its [own] negative influence in Iraq and Syria, as well as in some Gulf countries."

    "Iran's economy has been deeply affected by the Obama Administration's use of economic sanctions (as a tactic) against the country. Despite this, however, the country has managed to resist and circumvent these measures in a number of ways. It has also managed to counter American interests in Iraq and Syria, as well as in some Gulf states by increasing its [own] negative influence on those countries."





    It has with me as well.:) I always try to couch my language leaving room for doubt.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  10. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    For أربك I would suggest disrupt.
     
  11. jack_1313 Senior Member

    English - Australian
    Hi Josh, thanks for your input. I agree 100% with what you've said. Additionally, I just don't think that meddle is similar enough in meaning to word the author used. I think that أربك indicates clearly that the point of the activity is to harm America's interests. In the case of "meddle," however, the intention isn't so clear - why is Iran meddling with the interests? Is it hoping to gain something, beyond simply impeding its enemy, by doing so? Thus, I think "counter" or "disrupt," as إسكندراني suggested, are much better.

    Two quick notes on your translations (thanks for providing them): I like the way you succeeded in breaking up the sentence while preserving the contrast between Iran's success in disrupting America's interest and the effectiveness of the sanctions. Much nicer to read than what I had. I wouldn't have used "by increasing its [own] negative influence...", though, because زاد here is used in its intransitive form - the subject is تأثير, not إيران (maybe you already took that into account). That's why I ended up leaning towards the translation of حيث as "where," not a word that implies are more causative relationship.

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  12. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    I feel that حيث means 'because' or 'since' here from the way the sentence is set up.
     

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