Style shift in translation: The case of translating Susan Glaspell’s Trifles into Arabic


  • Abbas Brashi Umm Al-Qura University


Susan Glaspell, Trifles, drama, literary translation, Arabic translation, style shift.


This study examines style shifting in an Arabic translation of Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles by Abbas Brashi. It presents an overview of the play, as well as its importance and relevance to Arab culture. It describes the different varieties of Arabic that exist as well as the one chosen for the translation, namely Modern Standard Arabic. The paper explains that the formal style of the target language text was chosen for the sake of wide readability and comprehensibility, as dialectal varieties of Arabic differ across and within Arab states and there is no standardised script. The other reason for the shift is to adhere to the norms of acceptable Arabic writing. The style shift observed in the translation of Trifles into Arabic is demonstrated in the translation of a number of linguistic phenomena, namely contraction, ‎elision, subject-verb agreement, and figurative multi-word ‎expressions.‎ The paper concludes that the formal Arabic version of Trifles may later be shifted to different informal dialectal varieties of Arabic when it is to be performed on stage. Therefore, the formal Arabic version of the play may be customised or adapted to one or more specific dialects of Arabic according to the time and place of each performance.