Politics of translation in Arabic-speaking countries

Authored by: Maria Nader

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138657564
eBook ISBN: 9781315621289
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315621289-24

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Abstract

Translation has increased in importance in Arabic-speaking countries in all aspects of life through the years – from medical prescriptions to instrument catalogues, legal and technical texts, to conference interpreting and from children’s books to the cinema and theatre. This growing interest in translation shows an Arabic society open to globalisation, different cultures and linguistic changes. Translation in the Arab world in general is no longer just a stylistic and linguistic need but a cultural and educational one: without it there is no possibility to learn about foreign cultures and to learn to coexist with different groups of people. However, translation has met many obstacles over the years. In this chapter, I will review and bring to light some key issues, like censorship and ideology (religious and political), that are pertinent to translation policies since the early translations that took place in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt, which were the first pioneering Arab countries in terms of translation. The chapter covers different spans of time starting from the 17th to the 19th centuries and early colonisation, going through the period of the Arabic Renaissance in the 19th century and under Western colonisation in the early-20th century. The chapter underlines the influence of ideology on discourse and translation with reference to political news reports. In addition, it looks into the role of media outlets in covering the conflict in the Middle East, including the 2003 war on Iraq and the recent Arab uprisings that started in Tunisia (December 2010), Egypt (January 2011) and Syria (March 2011).

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