Islamic religious terms in English – translation vs. transliteration in Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies’ translation of An-Nawawī's Forty Ḥadīths

Sameh Saad Hassan

Abstract


This article examines the problem of translation versus transliteration of Islamic Religious Terms (IRTs) into English. The main objective of the article is to semantically investigate translation versus transliteration of IRTs in English as lexical items that include names of Allah, names of prophets and their companions, names of sacred places, and terms related to the pillars and rituals of Islam so as to determine situations where either of the two techniques should be applied. Hence, the article discusses the use of translation versus transliteration in Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies’ translation of An-Nawawī’s Forty Ḥadīths (2002) as an example of an Islamic religious discourse in English where the conflict between the two techniques is apparent. Based on the discussion and analysis of some examples of IRTs from the selected translation, I conclude the article by pointing out that translation of IRTs into English is only appropriate when words of the source language (SL) and words of the target language (TL) are cross-culturally equivalent, having the same referents and connotations in both languages, while transliteration is recommended for all other IRT situations in which SL and TL words are partially-equivalent or non-equivalent.

 


Keywords


translation; transliteration; Islamic religious terms; equivalence; non- equivalence; culture-specific terms

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