AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 8, Number 1. February 2024 Pp. 142 -158

Evaluating Quality and Readability: Contrastive Analysis of Four Arabic Translations of Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities

Department of Basic Sciences, College of Science and Health Professions,
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS),
King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC)
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine,King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC),
Ministry of National Guard-Health Affairs (MNGHA)
Riyadh, KSA,


This study aims to conduct a contrastive analysis of four Arabic translations of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, focusing on quality and readability. The significance of this work lies in its exploration of the linguistic and cultural aspects of translation. It analyses the boundaries of what translators deem acceptable in their practice, particularly in the context of literary classics, which require a delicate balance between original intent and cultural adaptability. The study investigates the differences in translation quality and readability across four Arabic translations of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, and It examines the implications of these variations on translation practices. The core question addresses how the first book’s six chapter titles and the opening paragraph of the first chapter are translated into Arabic. The translations reviewed are by Monir Baalbaki (TR1), Dr. Al-Husseini Al-Husseini (TR2), Sophie Abdullah (TR3), and Dar Al-Haref Al-Arabi (TR4). By analyzing these translations, the study explores the extent to which the essence of the original text is preserved in the translation process. Our findings reveal significant disparities in how these translations approach fidelity and stylistic choices. TR1 adheres closely to the source text, qualifying as a faithful translation, while TR4 introduces extensive, unjustified changes. Without justification, TR2 and TR3 exhibit notable omissions, including the famous opening paragraph and entire chapters. The study contributes to translation studies by highlighting the critical role of careful translation in preserving the integrity of literary classics and the complexities involved in balancing linguistic fidelity with cultural relevance.

Cite as:

Alassiri, M. (2024). Evaluating Quality and Readability: Contrastive Analysis of Four Arabic Translations of Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities.  Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 8 (1): 142 -158.


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Dr. Mohammed Alassiri, an Associate Professor of Physiology at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in Riyadh, specializes in inflammation research, focusing specifically on leukocyte behavior in various health conditions. His academic activities extend beyond physiology, including a profound interest in literature and translation studies. This unique blend of medical science and humanities is further enriched by his fluency in English. Dr. Alassiri’s diverse expertise is evident in his contributions to both Arabic and English publications, ranging from newspapers to literary journals, highlighting his commitment to spreading knowledge across multiple disciplines. ORCid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9830-0551