Major Formal and Stylistic Aspects of Disagreement among Translators of the Qur’an


Dr. Ali Yunis Aldahesh

Many translators from a variety of religious, dogmatic, linguistic, cultural, ideological, political and sectarian backgrounds have translated the Qur’an. Those translators deviated, to a great degree, in the ways by which they approach the scripture, and the manners by which they deal with it. Such a deviation manifested in a number of aspects, most important of which are the dogmatic, methodological, formal, and stylistic aspects. This paper focuses on the last two aspects, i.e., the formal and stylistic aspects. It adopts the comparative descriptive approach, and aims at tracing the major formal and stylistic aspects of disagreement among translators of the Qur’an. It also aims at highlighting the major characteristics of those aspects, and the factors that motivated the translators to adopt them. The paper is made up of an introduction, two sections, and a conclusion. The first section deals with the formal aspects of disagreement among the translators of the Qur’an. It includes seven subsections. They are: on translating the title of the scripture and its adjectives, on ordering the Qur’anic Ayas (verses) and Surahs (chapters), on numbering the Qur’anic Ayas, on employing the punctuation marks and the paragraphing system utilized in English, on presenting the original Arabic text next to the English translation of the Qur’an, on applying italics, and on the ways by which the translators introduced their translations. The second section, on the other hand, deals with the stylistic aspects of disagreement among the translators of the Qur’an. It includes three subsections. They are: on using archaic English, on using poetic and/or prose language, and on the issue of consistency in employing the vocabulary. It is worth mentioning that this study does not cover all the available translations of the Qur’an into English. It, however, covers twenty translations, which are considered the most important and the most circulated ones among academics and stakeholders.

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