A Master of Arts Thesis in Translation and Interpreting (English / Arabic / English) by Danya Madani Entitled, "Translation as image-making: a case of Mahfouz in English," November 2009. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
Dialect refers to a regional or social variety of language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary. It is well known that in literature, particularly in novels during dialogue, writers often use different forms of colloquialisms and other dialectal variations in addition to standard dialect. However, translators do not always preserve the use of a certain dialect and, for a variety of reasons, choose to translate dialect into standard language only, paying no special attention to code switching or colloquialism. This can be the result of incompetence, or it can, more perniciously, be for more profound reasons (e.g., ideology or image-making). The purpose of this thesis is to examine and analyze how the translators of Naguib Mahfouz's novels into English handle register and dialect. This thesis will assess whether the pragmatic force of the dialect is jettisoned or preserved through translation. It will also discuss cases in which dialect is only modified, and how Mahfouz's translators systematically change the level of language used and generally upgrade the substandard nature of the dialectal use in his novels, ridding them of any popular fiction traits. To look into this further, this paper will consider examples from Naguib Mahfouz's novel The Harafish and its translation to see how the issue of dialectal translation is handled. The thesis concludes that, in this particular case, the translator's decision not to preserve colloquial speech and expression is motivated, in that the source text's use of dialect when preserved in English lowers the tone and reveals the popular fiction characteristics which the translator seems determined to hide.