AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 8, Number 1. February 2024 Pp.82-95

Translator–Author Encounters: Two Cases of Translating from Arabic

Najia Abdulkareem Alghamedi

Department of English Language, College of Language Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


The relationship between translators and authors in literary translation is an area that needs further inquiry. Specifically, it is essential to understand how the relationship between authors and translators influences translators’ status and, consequently, the recognition translators are granted.  The objective of this study was to expand knowledge on literary translation by examining two cases of translation of Arabic novels to English. The research questions under investigation sought to understand a) the links between selected translation strategies and professional or personal histories and b) the impact of the background of translators on their collaboration with authors and, consequently, on their roles and status. A case study methodology was used to examine the translation of two Arabic novels, Sidi Wahdana and Banat AlRiyadh. Drawing on the sociology of translation, encounters between translators and authors and the impact of such encounters on the recognition attributed to the translators were examined. The findings revealed in the translation of Sidi Wahdana; the author, Alem, works closely with the translator, McDonough, to produce the English translation. Thus, McDonough became Alem’s co-author.  In the translation of Banat AlRiyadh (Girls of Riyad)  Alsanea, the author takes over the translation process and reshapes the English version.  Thus, Alsanea becomes the first translator, and Booth is demoted to a co-translator.  It is concluded that relations between an author and a translator can become complex, and translators may not get the recognition expected in an ideal situation.

Cite as:

Alghamedi, N. A. (2024). Translator–Author Encounters: Two Cases of Translating from Arabic. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 8 (1): 82-95.


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Dr. Najiah AbdulKareem AlGhamedi is an assistant professor at the Department of English Language at the College of Language Sciences, King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. She holds a PhD in Translation Studies from Monash University, Australia. Her research interests include; the sociology of translation and translation quality.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0001-0453-9519