Addressing the Translation into English of near Synonymy in the Holy Qur'an
AlHammadi, Fatima A.
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It is now fairly well-established that complete synonymy is almost non-existent in any language, as it is not easy to find two words with the same denotations and/or connotations. On the other hand, near synonymy is plentiful in almost all types of lexis, in general, and the lexis of the Holy Qur’an, in particular. If the source text is rich in near synonyms, translators may face difficulty in rendering these items of lexis adequately into the target language, and this is the case with the Holy Qur’an in which the language is inimitable without the slightest doubt. This study aims to determine the accuracy of four translations of eight pairs of near synonyms drawn from around 80 verses from the Holy Qur’an. The four translations analyzed are by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (2004), Arthur Arberry (1955), Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall (1930) and Muhammad Shakir (1983). The accuracy of the translations of the near synonyms in question is judged according to their context as well as their interpretations by Arab and non-Arab linguists and exegetes. This study concludes that the translations examined have limitations in dealing with this area of synonymy accurately. Therefore, it is suggested that more precise renditions should be attempted to minimize distortion which is regrettably not uncommon in dealing with this kind of text.