AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 2. May 2021 Pp.139 -155
Translation and the Individual Talent: Ambiguity in the Qurʾanic Text and the Role of the
Raed A. Qassas
Department of Languages and Translation
Taibah University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Received: 2/25/2021 Accepted: 5/10/2021 Published: 5/24/2021
This article examines the impact of traditional Tafsīr, the exegesis of the Qur’an, on the translation of the Qurʾanic text into English. Caught between the authority of tradition and the sensitivity of translating a sacred text, many translators refrain from practicing interpretation as an integral part of the translation process, whereas others defiantly dismiss the authority of tradition en masse. The significance of the study lies in undermining over-reliance on explanatory texts yields semantically dogmatic interpretations recurrently manifest in the various English renditions of the Qurʾan. The article questions what is called the etic translation that involves translation from the perspective of one who remains an outsider and does not participate in the interpretation. The finding of the study lead to the conclusion that many translations of the Qurʾan disregard possible interpretations because of rehashing interpretations handed down from traditional exegeses. The article also argues that translators have an active, interpretative role in the translation of the Qurʾan. Compatibility with tradition does not mean being constricted exclusively by Tafsīr. Tradition is a frame of reference, a point of departure for new horizons of interpretation where interpretation is viewed as an augmentation to tradition, not sedition.
Keywords: ambiguity, explanation, interpretation, mediation, Qurʾan, tradition, translator’s role, individual talent
Cite as: Qassas, R. A. (2021). Translation and the Individual Talent: Ambiguity in the Qurʾanic Text and the Role of the Translator. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (2) 139 -155.
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