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Critical and Comparative Evaluation of the English Translations of the Near-Synonymous Divine Names in the Quran

Al Ghamdi, Saleh A. S. (2015) Critical and Comparative Evaluation of the English Translations of the Near-Synonymous Divine Names in the Quran. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Despite the fact that many problematic areas in the English translations of the Qurān have been thoroughly investigated, no substantial work has so far been devoted to critically evaluating the translation of the Divine Names, which pose paramount challenges for all translators. Critical and evaluative studies of Qurān translations seem to avoid investigating and assessing the Divine Names, which are the most sensitive and delicate Qurānic terms. This study critically and comparatively investigates how accurate and consistent are the English renderings of these Divine Names; al-Asmā al-Ḥusnā, The Most Beautiful Names (MBNs) which are recurring terms in the Qurānic text. The complexity of meanings and morphological features of these Divine Names is evidently reflected in so many cases of inaccuracy as well as inconsistency in their English translations, particularly in the renderings of the near-synonymous root-sharing Names. Translators of the Qurān have unjustifiably used different corresponding terms for the very same Divine Name when it appears on more than one occasion, and sometimes in similar Qurānic contexts. Most Qurān translators have also inaccurately used the very same English corresponding terms to translate two, if not three, near-synonymous Divine Names, whether they share the same linguistic root or otherwise. For the purpose of this evaluative study, hundreds of occurrences of the root-sharing Divine Names in five well-known English translations, namely Pickthall (1930), A. Y. Ali (1936/1986), Arberry (1955), Hilali-Khan (1985) and Abdel-Haleem (2004), have been collected, analysed and critically and comparatively evaluated. The comparative evaluation of the English renderings of the Divine Names has revealed that all the five translations not only fall short in their attempts to distinguish between the near-synonymous Names, particularly the root-sharing ones, but prove unsuccessful in rendering them accurately and consistently. The study has also revealed that the translation of Arberry shows much better quality, in terms of accuracy and consistency, in rendering the root-sharing Divine Names than other translations do. In addition to critically revealing shortcomings, inaccuracies and inconsistencies of the renderings of the Divine Names, the study suggests the use of translation technology solutions (or computer-assisted tools), such as translation memory and bilingual concordances, to improve the quality and consistency of future Qurān translations in general, and the renderings of the recurring Divine Names in particular.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Qurān Translation, Names Divine, Consistency Accuracy, Quran
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.660102
Depositing User: Mr. Saleh Al-Ghamdi
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2015 08:37
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9592

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