Modern Arabic Literature in English Translation
AlRashid, Hind Saad
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This study examines some of the issues involved in representing the cultural image of the Arab in translated novels from Arabic into English. In this domain two translation strategies are in use: Foreignization and Domestication. In Foreignization the translator are biased against the target culture and eager to show the cultural diversion which the source text implies. In Domestication the translators are biased against the source culture and are sensitivene toward the target reader's level of interaction. It is assumed that foreignization and domestication are two diametrically opposed notions that deal with translating cultural specifics and source text representations. This thesis aims to challenge the validity of this dichotomization and specifically to question the 'translator's invisibility' notion coined by Lawrence Venuti (1995). This notion emphasizes the need to make the translator's effort visible. In the course of this research, the thesis argues that cultural representations in the target texts require the adoption of both domesticating and foreignizing strategies, the latter being the default option unless there is a good reason to do otherwise. To demonstrate this, the translated version of Abd al-Rahman Munif's novel, 'Annihayat' ('Endings') and Mohammad Chouckri's novel 'Ashouttar' ('Streetwise') are critically analyzed. The thesis concludes that, while more often than not, domestication seems to be an appropriate strategy; it is uncritical domestication that can blunt the sensitivity of the translator in reaching the core of the cultural references in the source text. This plays a crucial role in the misinterpretation and the stereotyping of Arabs in literary texts and in distorting subtle Arabic source text cultural nuances.