Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Translation No.4 May, 2015                                                                                                                                                                                                             Pp.139-154

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            The Case for Interpretive Translation and Interdisciplinarity

Elmouloudi  Aziz
English Department, Umm Al-Qura University
Makkah, Saudi Arabia



The present paper explores theoretical and practical evidence for ‘interpretive translation’  as an  interdisciplinary activity which  is informed by insights from a variety of disciplines including semantics, pragmatics, reading and reception theories,  communication theory, text-linguistics, literary studies, cultural studies, and critical theory. The imperative of ‘interpretation’ in translating is clearly seen in the translation of literary texts where connotation, metaphor, symbolism, diverse cultural allusions and various other types of ‘implicit meaning’ are predominant features. Thus, explication, commentary, annotation, or other strategies are required to facilitate the comprehension  of the translated text and its effective  ‘exploitation’  by  the receptor  language  reading community.  The interpretive nature of translation is also reinforced by the increasing need for global understanding and cooperation. This situation highlights the strategic role of translators, their ‘visibility’, responsibility and consequently their scholarship and interpretive competence as global mediators. While it emphasizes the ‘epistemological’ and ‘hermeneutical’ orientation of translation, the paper calls for an expansion of the field to be an area of research and scholarship which truly exploits its interdisciplinary, intellectual, communicative, reflective, critical, and educational potentials to disseminate human thought and knowledge, and to foster cross-cultural understanding and mutual enrichment.
Keywords: interpretive translation, interpretive imperative, interdisciplinarity,  translator visibility, target readership, literature in translation.


Elmouloudi Aziz is a Fulbright scholar from Morocco. He got an MA and a Ph.D. in Applied
Linguistics from Georgetown University, Washington DC, and is currently an Associate
Professor in the English Department at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He
has supervised a number of MA and PhD theses, and has been teaching various undergraduate