A Master of Arts Thesis in English Arabic English Translation and Interpreting Submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences by Hussam El Din Mohamed Soliman Entitled, "Translating Quoted Sacred Texts in Political Speeches," December 2006. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
In this thesis, the issue of Qur'an translation is discussed and translating qur'anic quotations in political speeches highlighted. The thesis deals with the ideational components behind using qur'anic quotations in political sensitive texts. It is a common belief among translators that when dealing with qur'anic quotations, the play-it-safe method of resorting to existing translations is the best. Many translators also propose and defend the idea of untranslatability of the Holy Qur'an. In this thesis, the argument is put forward that politicians and writers of sensitive texts resort to the Holy Qur'an for ideational purposes. Thus they manipulate the divine purpose of the quoted verse to serve their own communicative goals. It therefore follows that translators must attempt to capture not only the locutionary force of the text but also the illocutionary and perlocutionary forces. That is, translators should manipulate in their translation to make clear the cultural or ideational frugality, which might be generated by resorting to static translation. In chapter one, an introduction to the whole thesis in general and to the hypothesis entertained in particular is attempted. Chapter two overviews the general theories of translation. In chapter three, the thesis reviews intertextuality and the translatability of the Holy Qur'an. In chapter four, the thesis examines five political speeches by Saddam Hussein, four political speeches by the late King Hussein of Jordan and two speeches by Osama Bin Laden the leader of Al Qa'eda.. The thesis concludes that when verses from a sacred discourse such as the Holy Qur'an are quoted and are manipulated purposefully to implicate ideation, static translation fails to deliver the cultural or ideological message of such a deviation. It is the translator's job, then, to start a level of manipulation to satisfy such a distortion.