Politics of Translation
Power, Culture, Ideology and X-phemism in Translation between Arabic and English
Bahaa-Eddin M. Mazid
United Arab Emirates University
Foreword by Alan Kaye
The interventions of translators, interpreters, subtitlers and dubbers in the source text (ST) with the aim of domesticating or foreignizing it, i.e., accommodating it to the target culture or keeping the source culture therein, is an important research thread that has been receiving attention in the last two decades or so. At the heart of this thread is the conviction that translation is power; a translator has access to two languages and presumably to two cultures whereas monolingual users of either source or target language (SL and TL) have access to only one. The translator has the (not-always-absolute) power of modifying and occasionally distorting the ST.
This study explores the issue of translation as power and ideology and as an expression of culture and provides examples thereof from different translations from Arabic to English and vice versa. It also touches on translation along the line of X-phemism, Orientalism and Occidentalism, translating Arabic literature and Islamist discourse, translating metaphors, and cultural references. The study argues for a "politics of translation, or a critical analysis of translation (CAT), a more critical view of translated texts that enables readers of those texts to spot conscious or unconscious "treasons" and "corruptions", "omissions" and "commissions", instances of "domestication", "foreignization", and bias in translation and contributes to a more "civic" dialogue between cultures and languages. A politics of translation ideally involves, in addition to the issues "touched upon" in the "theory" part of this study, revisiting the notion of translatability and other myths, gendering translation and a practical concern with improving the teaching and learning of translation. Some suggestions for improving the teaching of translation and making it more critical are made and some materials for teaching translation between Arabic and English are appended to the study.
ISBN 9783895868696. LINCOM Studies in Translation 02. 210pp. 2007.