AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 2. May 2023 Pp. 197-207

Problems in Translating Culturally Specific References in the Holy Quran Surat “Nissaa” as a Case Study

 Department of Languages and Literature
Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, Kingdom of Morocco


Quranic translations are hard to come by and remain an essential subject for translators and scholars in language translations. Nonetheless, translating the Quran is difficult, considering it has culturally bound terms and other linguistic devices that require understanding both the source and target languages. The current study aims to evaluate Culturally Specific References of the two famous translations of the Holy Quran. The first translation that will be considered is the English version of the Quran translated by Arberry (1986), and the second translation will be that of Khan 1998. The researcher extracted verses from Suran Nissaa from the two versions of the Quran. Using a comparative analysis technique, the researcher determined that both translators failed to correctly render and translate the culturally specific references. From the analysis, it is evident that most of the references needed to be correctly rendered. The study concludes that the cultural nature of the Quran calls for translators to understand the cultural contexts of both Source text and Target text properly. Besides, translators must have a nuanced understanding of Arabic culture and terminologies.

Cite as:

Tounssi Mounadil, T. (2023). Problems in Translating Culturally Specific References in the Holy Quran Surat “Nissaa” as a Case Study.  Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (2): 197-207.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no2.14


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Tounssi Mounadil has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) for over 15 years, both in the United States and Morocco. In 2018, he earned a master’s degree in Translation Technology and Specialized Translation from Cadi Ayad University in Morocco. He is currently a Ph.D. student at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez, Morocco.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4136-4671