AWEJ for translation & Literary Studies volume, 1 Number1, February 2017                                Pp.144-157

Neither Morpheme nor Transleme … Revisiting the Unit of Translation, Semiotically

Said M. Faiq

Department of Arabic & Translation Studies
American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates


Abstract PDF

Against the background of the disparities and disagreements across the spectrum of theory and practice about the unit of translation (UT), the purpose of this paper is to postulate that a semiotically – defined UT can fulfil the need of a concrete, viable and stable UT.  Labelled textlet, the proposed UT is based on the semiotic triad of the sign, its meaning and its user.  As a semiotic sign, textlet represents a particular meaning on the basis of similarity or dissimilarity to other textlets within the text. A textlet is a functional unit with an oppositional value defined by the communicative differences this opposition is capable of producing within texts.

Cite as:

Faiq, S. M. (2017). Neither Morpheme nor Transleme …Revisiting the Unit of Translation, Semiotically. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies, 1(1).


Said Faiq, FRSA, is professor of intercultural studies and translation at the American University
of Sharjah (UAE), where he was chair/head of department (2003-07, 2009-10), and director of
the graduate program in translation and interpreting (2002-11; 2016-). He is a visiting professor
at Exeter University (UK). Prior to his current position, he worked in Africa, the Middle East and
the United Kingdom (Salford University, (1990-2003), where he was director of studies for
undergraduate and graduate programs in Arabic/English translation and interpreting; and Leeds
University, (1996-1998), where he was visiting lecturer in applied linguistics). He has served as
consultant to private and public organizations for educational and related sectors, and serves on a
number of academic editorial and consultancy boards/agencies. He is an established figure in
intercultural and translation studies and allied areas, and on which he has published widely. He
has directed and examined graduate research/theses (e.g. Cambridge, UK, McGill, Canada), and
has evaluated many promotion cases. His publications include Agency and Patronage in Eastern
Translatology (co-edited with Ahmed Ankit, 2015), Culguage in/of translation from Arabic(coedited with OvidiCarbonnel and Ali AlManaa, 2014), Beyond Denotation in Arabic Translation
(co-edited with Allen Clark, 2010), Cultures in dialogue: A translational perspective (2010),
Trans-lated: Translation and Cultural Manipulation (2007), Identity and Representation in
Intercultural Communication (2006), Cultural Encounters in Translation from Arabic (2004).