Translating texts

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1.) Introduction

Translating texts requires skill, ability on the part of a translator in understanding the terms used in the source language (SL). As experts have pointed out, translation does not fully transfer the meaning of the terms from the SL toward the target language (TL) in which the texts are being translated. But in order to get closely as much as possible to the exact meaning of the term, translators follow a basic rule to put into mind the cultural nuances of the original term while finding their equivalent terms in another language (e.g. Arabic to English). In addition, because these terms have additional symbolic value as religious terms, translators must bear in mind of being careful in the translation. Toury (198 in Venuti ed.) himself highlights the role of translation in retaining the cultural nuances of the texts by saying that translators have a task “to fulfill a function allotted by a community to an activity, its practitioners and their products in a way deemed appropriate to its terms of reference.” This researcher intends to ascertain the skill and success of Issam Diab in translating Ar Raheeq al Makhtoom, the memoirs of the Prophet Mohammad, from Arabic into English. Titled The Sealed Nectar, the memoirs records the life of Mohammad, while also discussing the socio-ecnomic background of Arabia during his lifetime. It was originally written by Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri.

2.) Review of literature

in brief

Translation experts have pointed out various concerns in ensuring the translation of works from different languages. These range from defining when translations “formally” diverge from the literal meanings (Catford 141 in Venuti ed.) to ascertaining the equivalence of word meanings (Nida and Taber,) But all point to the problem of retaining the message of a text translated from SL to TL as much as possible. In addition translators have to consider the referential meanings of the words that they correspond so that they can define the exact meanings of the SL-based words that they are going to use.

Culture aspects

Studies such by Ahmed Elimam being conducted at the University of Manchester have tried to show the challenges in translating Arabic-language texts to English. Translators undertaking these projects faced the fact that there is a large diversity in terms of structural, grammatical, and semantic structure between the two languages. In addition they have to consider keeping as close as possible to the Arabic heritage the translated works. They also have to make sure that they words in Arabic which, by virtue of having deep cultural connotations, One can see this in the ongoing project to translate the Q’uran from Arabic to English as shown by Elimam. In this project, a team of translators tried to examine 10 translation of verses from the Q’uran and examine what are the grammatical and syntax changes were done in order to adjust in from the transfer of meaning from Arabic to English. Another continuing study made at the University of Manchester was of Ashraf Abdul Fattah was on comparing the changes of conjunction and passivisation in the translated works of Arab authors.

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