A Master of Arts Thesis in Translation and Interpreting (Arabic/English) Submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences by Deema Mohammed Al Khaili Entitled, "Dialect in Theatre Translation into Arabic," December 2006. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
In this dissertation, the issue of theatre translation is discussed and the translation of dialect in literary works as a means of depicting identity is further examined. It is generally assumed that in translating a variety of language employed by the author in a piece of literature as a means of characterization or a social class marker, it is very likely that the end-text will be generalized and leveled-out. In this dissertation, this assumption is assessed closely. Chapter one introduces this dissertation and argues that in languages tending to be almost classless, such as Standard Arabic, the translator either completely ignores the use of dialect, translating into a unified pattern of language, or resorts to a particular variety of the language that is probably stigmatizing or distorted. In chapter two, this dissertation presents the relevant theoretical background to translation studies from Catford till the present. In chapter three, the paper presents different definitions given to the word 'dialect' and argues that the use of dialect can be marked and relates deeply to the social and professional status of the individual. This chapter also explores the relation between language and identity. It also illustrates that there are at least two types of dialect use: the functional (contextually-motivated) and the non-functional. In chapter four, this paper studies the struggle between standard Arabic and the dialect in literary contexts. It provides a brief history of the dialect of Quraysh which is widely believed to be the origin of classical Arabic. It also explores the other varieties that were available at that time suggesting that the translator of a text into Arabic which is originally composed of different functional dialects can always turn to one of those dialects depending on the social indications to be conveyed. In chapter five, the paper analyses one lengthy sample of the literary use of dialect in drama: an English play by George Bernard Shaw 'Pygmalion' translated into Arabic by Hussam S. Al Tamimi in the first version and by Gerges Al-Rashidi in the second. The two versions are compared and assessed. In the last chapter, the dissertation reasserts the importance of dialect in depicting literary characters, especially in drama, and the delicacy, subtlety and attention it requires from a vigilant translator.