AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume3, Number3. August 2019                                    Pp. 3-19

When Translation Becomes a Question of Intervention

Department of Translation, Faculty of Languages
Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 

Department of Translation, Faculty of Languages
Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Abstract PDF

This article attempts to highlight the social, political, and ethical challenges facing the translator when dealing with religious and philosophical texts. Drawing on our experience in translating books related to these fields from Arabic into French and vice versa, we pinpoint examples of untranslatability of some religious and intellectual concepts due to constraints within the target language. Moreover, the question of the translator as cross-cultural mediator capable of achieving acculturation is addressed. The analysis is conducted following two fundamental concepts in the field of translation studies, namely domestication and foreignization, in addition to another view commonly used by the French philosopher Michel Foucault “authority or power of language”  which arises through the discourses that we produce, or that others produce. These ideas will give insights into the translators’ choices, decisions, and even hesitations when handling terms or expressions connected with religious or intellectual concepts.

Cite as:

Bedjaoui, W., & Tahraoui, A. (2019). When Translation Becomes a Question of Intervention. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies, 3 (3) 3-19.


Wafaa Bedjaoui is currently an Associate Professor at Princess Nourah University in Saudi
Arabia. She is the author of several translations from French into Arabic such as \”The Bible and
Colonialism\” by Michael Prior, and has published different papers in the field of Translation
Studies and Sociolinguistics. She is also the coordinator of the Algerian journal devoted to
translation studies \”Cahiers de traduction\”. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0660-8418

Amina Tahraoui is an Assistant Professor at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. Her
research interests include Translation and Interpretation Teaching Strategies, Curriculum
Development, Cognitive linguistics and Neurolinguistics. Her great focus is on research that
contributes to a deeper understanding of brain processes involved in learning, and how does this
affect the training of translators and interpreters. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4214-