Corpus-focused Analysis of Spelling Errors in Saudi Learners’ English Translations

Yasir Alenazi, Shen Chen , Michelle Picard , Jaime W. Hunt

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The English language plays a significant role in Saudi Arabia at the local and international levels. Spelling errors, as one of the challenging elements in writing confronted by Saudi learners of English, have a negative effect on the quality of their written translation products (Ababneh, 2019). Therefore, more analytical studies are needed to scrutinize spelling errors through multiple categories to reveal the reasons behind these errors in a specific cultural context. The primary objective of this study is to examine the types of spelling errors in the translations of English majors at a Saudi University, using a comprehensive classification system of spelling errors developed particularly for this study. A corpus of 105 translation texts were collected, and the identified errors were sorted into eleven categories. The frequency of each type of error was calculated and, consequently, the most common errors were determined statistically using frequency analysis. The results revealed that capitalization and omission errors were the most common types of spelling errors among the students. Furthermore, interlingual and intralingual factors were the main reason behind the occurrence of spelling errors. Based on the findings, the study makes a number of recommendations for English language instructors to develop suitable pedagogical solutions to the issue of spelling errors in their students’ translations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-24
Number of pages20
JournalInternational TESOL Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Spelling errors
  • translation
  • L1 transfer
  • lexical knowledge
  • error analysis


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