Word Repetition in the Qur'an: Translating Form or Meaning?
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J. King Saud Univ., Vol. 19, Lang. & Transl., pp. 17-34, Riyadh (A.H. 1427/2006)
Word Repetition in the Qur’an – Translating Form or Meaning?
Assistant Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Languages and Translation, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia (Received 13/10/1426 A.H.; accepted for publication, 04/04/1427 A.H.)
Abstract. Word repetition is a feature that exists in all languages, and serves different purposes, rhetorical, emphatic, or otherwise. A problematic issue arises when a translation is attempted of repeated words in a target text. The dilemma is that owing to the different ways of expression and tools available to every language, what fits one language may prove absurd in another. When…show more content… What! (A book) not in Arabic and (the Messenger) an Arab.] (Qur’an 41:44). As Ali [3, p. xi], in his preface to the first edition of his translation of the Holy Qur’an, states, it is the duty of every Muslim -- man, woman or child -- to read the Qur’an and understand it according to his own capacity. For non-Arabic Muslims, this poses something of a problem. As Cook [4, p. 88] points out, Arabic is not just the original language of the Qur’an (as ancient Hebrew was the original language of the Torah); it is the language of the Qur’an. Therefore, talking about "translating the Qur’an", is problematic. The question that needs to be posed is: Is the Qur’an – as a sacred text - translatable? On the one hand, the view of the untranslatability of sacred texts is championed by Stiener’s comments (in Ali [6, p. 174]) on the troubles encountered when translating the word of God. He states in his foreword to Translating Religious Texts [6, p. xiii] "Here we flounder in deep waters. If a text is ‘revealed’, if its initial encoding is then transferred into a mundane and fallible sign-system, that of secular and post-Adamic speech, to what truth-functions, to what