AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number1. Feruary  2020                                   Pp.254- 287

Foreignization and Domestication Strategies in the Translation of Cultural Specific Items in Itani’s and Ali’s Translations of Alnisaa’ Sura

Mohammed El Haj Ahmed

Department of English
Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza, PNA

Alaa Abu Shammala

Department of English
Al-Israa University of Gaza, Gaza, PNA


Abstract PDF

The researchers aimed to identify the two strategies of foreignization and domestication as adopted by Talal Itani and Abdullah Ali in translating fifty cultural specific items (CSIs) from Al-Nisaa’ Sura in the Holy Quran. They aimed to explore whether the two translations are source-text oriented involving foreignization strategies or target-text oriented involving domestication strategies. The study also attempted to investigate to what extent Itani and Ali had succeeded in achieving cultural equivalence in translating the fifty CSIs. To do the study, the primary research method used to answer the research questions was the comparative textual analysis for the two translations by Itani and Ali and Ivir’s (1987) translation strategies. The results of the study showed that though the translators’ tendencies towards foreignization and domestication seem to be roughly close to each other, they opted for more domestication strategies than foreignization strategies. While Itani’s foreignization percentage was (44.5%) and Ali’s (42.6%), Itani’s domestication percentage was (55.5%) and Ali’s (57.4%). Moreover, cultural equivalence in Itani’s translation accounted for 53%%, while it accounted for 47%% in Ali’s translation. The study also showed that foreignization strategies used by Itani and Ali were more appropriate in achieving cultural equivalence than domestication strategies used by the two translators. At the end of the study, the researchers recommended that the translators of religious texts in general and translators of the Holy Quran, in particular, have to be fully aware of the metaphorical and connotative language of the Holy Quran and be extremely knowledgeable of classical Arabic because it is the language of the Holy Quran. They also called for the importance of identifying the target audience because this may affect the strategies used by translators of religious texts. Based on the results of the study, the researchers recommended other researchers to research the equivalence of the translation of the Holy Quran because any loss of quality or sameness in the interpretation of the Holy Quran may lead to severe and problematic consequences.

Cite as:

El Haj Ahmed, M., & Abu Shammala, A. (2020). Foreignization and Domestication Strategies in the Translation of Cultural Specific Items in Itani’s and Ali’s Translations of Alnisaa’ Sura. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (1) . 254- 287.







Dr. Mohammed El Haj Ahmed is an assistant professor of translation at the Islamic University of Gaza. He obtained his BA in English language and literature at the IUG in 1988, his MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Khartoum in 1995, and his Ph.D in Translation Studies at the University of Salford, UK, in 2009. Since 1997 Dr. El Haj Ahmed has been involved in teaching translation at the BA, professional diploma and MA levels. He has published several papers on Translation and Interpreting in local and international journals. He has also supervised a considerable number of MA theses. He served as the head of the English Department between 2017-2019,

Alaa Abu Shammala is a part-time instructor at Al Aqsa University of Gaza. She obtained her BA in English language at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in 2005 and her MA in Translation and Applied Linguistics at IUG in 2019. She worked as an instructor at IUG besides her experience in teaching English at both UNRWA and governmental schools. In addition to teaching, Abu Shammala is working as a freelance translator and a medical interpreter.