A Pragmatic Analysis: Implications of Lexical Choices in Translating Quranic Rhetoric

Hassan Badr Hassan

Abstract


An increasing interest in the translation of the meaning of the Quran has recently been developed due to the various conflicts in the name of religion that dominate mass and social media. The Quran features amongst the most read books in the world. However, roughly all the existing translations contain flaws in terms of content, style and culture. This study addresses the challenges of achieving pragmatic equivalence of five English translations of the Quran by comparing them with their original one to determine the degree of faithfulness of the overall message, focusing on the Quranic phraseology that alludes to something or someone without directly stating it. The study is mainly concerned with assessing the degree of accuracy and fidelity in conveying the meaning of some Arabic literary devices into English. The question of whether figurative Quranic words or phrases are pragmatically mistranslated is still debatable. This article contributes to the debate of accuracy and fluency of the selected versions of the Quran in English by shedding light upon specific pragmatic features that create a special effect in the Quranic text by assessing the degree of deviation from SL message if any. Analysis revealed that the five selected English versions of the Quran have fallen short of accurately conveying the non-literal use of Quranic expressions such as Metonymy, Synecdoche, Allusion, Nonverbal signals, Euphemistic phrases, and Hyperbolic form. The findings suggested that translating the Quran requires more than acquiring linguistic skills to create the same impact and maintain the same spirit in the target language. The results also indicated that inconsistency of conveying the meaning of the Quranic rhetoric is due in parts to non-success in checking authentic exegesis as a source of elucidation, explanation or interpretation for clear understanding. This study serves as a platform for further research on translating Quranic rhetorical tools through highlighting the shortcomings and the strengths of some samples from the Quran.

Keywords


Quranic Rhetoric, Figurative Language, Pragmatic Meaning, Implicit and Explicit meaning, Translation Techniques

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.11n.3p.1

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