Girls of Riyadh Revisited: Investigating the Quality of the English Collaborative Translation of Rajaa Alsanea’s Arabian Novel
SubjectArabic self-translation, English translation, Functional equivalence, Girls of Riyadh, Literal translation, Literary translation
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AbstractThe paper aims to assess the quality of the English collaborative translation of Rajaa Alsanea’s Arabian novel Girls of Riyadh, focusing on linguistic and cultural features of the Target Text, a few of which are sometimes nonexistent in the Source Text. The mixed literal/functional approach to collaborative translation seems to be inconsistent, the paper observes, and it is possibly due to both the apparent tension between the self-translator and her co-translator Marilyn Booth and the prominence of the target culture sometimes recurrent in the Source Text. The paper addresses two questions: To what extent has collaborative translation affected the quality of rendering linguistic, social, and cultural references of the Source Text, such as idiomatic expressions, lexical terms, songs, names of celebrities, religious, and literary references, and traditional festivities? How effective have the literal and functional approach been in this collaborative translation? The findings of this study show that the translation procedures employed, such as omission, addition, and alteration, are sometimes unacceptable. Significantly, the study raises awareness about how the potential tension between the self-translator and the co-translator in the inclusion and exclusion of certain parts of texts can affect the quality of the end product. This paper recommends a fresh ‘critical translation’ of the ST that fills specific points which has been overlooked in the current ‘simple translation’: i.e., by paying attention to the message and intention of the author and suggesting to the use of different procedures by the two translators. The paper recommends that instead of implementing erratically two opposite approaches, the functional and literal approaches, as has been done, collaborative translators should follow one of them only. The current study suggests potential solutions to improve the quality of the English translation of this novel.
DepartmentEnglish & Translation
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