AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 6, Number 4. October  2022                                Pp.113-141

The Rewriting of Characters’ Dialogue: Translating Literary Dialectal Dialogue in Saudi and Egyptian Novels*

Translation Department, University of Jeddah
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


The research aims to identify the procedures carried out by translators to deal with translating Literary Dialectal Dialogue (LDD) in the English translations of contemporary Saudi and Egyptian novels. The significance of this study is that it focuses on two Arabic dialects and examines what are the translation procedures if these procedures shift with changes in dialect. The study involves an analysis of random selections of LDD that were extracted from several Saudi and Egyptian novels. The study uses descriptive quantitative and qualitative analysis that focuses on mapping the procedures that were chosen to translate LDD in Arabic diglossic novels. The analysis first examines the construction and function of LDD in its source context and then studies how these procedures have managed to reconstruct the socio-cultural and socio-ideological function of LDD in the selected novels. This study finds evidence to suggest that due to the change in language communities, Literary Dialectal Dialogue (LDD) has changed in the translation to become Literary Informal Dialogue (LID). The data also reveals that in practice, none of the translators rendered the source dialect into a target dialect. Interestingly, however, translators do not tend to standardize or erase the conversational elements of dialogue. On the contrary, they recognize the conversational aspect and try to adhere in general to that in their translations. In fact, their procedure is one of compensation rather than a translation of the dialect. Fairly similar varieties of procedures were used to translate the different regional and social dialects in all the selected STs.

Cite as:

Almutairi, E. S.  (2022). The Rewriting of Characters’ Dialogue: Translating Literary Dialectal Dialogue in Saudi and Egyptian Novels. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 6 (4) 113-141. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol6no4.9


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Dr Eman Suraid Almutairi is a lecturer in translation studies at the University of Jeddah. She got her Ph.D. degree in translation and intercultural studies from the University of Manchester. Research interests include literary translation studies, translating dialects, descriptive translation studies, translation technology, and localisation.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5768-2469