A Master of Arts thesis in Translation and Interpreting (English/Arabic/English) by Abdulrahman M. Khalid Bustani entitled, "Culture in Arabic to English Literary Translation," January 2014. Thesis advisor is Dr. Said Faiq. Available are both hard and soft copies of the thesis.
This thesis explores the culture of literary translation from Arabic to English. It is assumed that English translations of Arabic literary works are dominated by an established system of representation of Arabs and their culture; a system that dates back well before the colonial period and serves the purposes of the hegemonic powers. The system has been maintained through the careful selection of what to translate and the application of manipulative and domesticating translation strategies. This thesis examines whether such a situation still prevails in our age of globalization and open communication. It does so by assessing Nancy N. Roberts' translation of Ghada Samman's novel Beirut 75 (why it was selected for translation and how elements of Arab culture were handled in the translation process). The thesis concludes that the said system of representation continues to exist in the form of stereotypical images about Arabs and their culture in the minds of Western audiences. However, the way this system is maintained has changed with the addition of market demands, i.e. what readers want to read, what sells. Since Western readers overall still have the same stereotypical images about Arabs and their culture, these images still determine their expectations, and hence the culture in literary translation from Arabic.