Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Volume. 3 Number. 1 March,2012                                                                                              pp.4- 17

Abstract PDF
Full Paper PDF

Transformation, Appropriation and Medieval Arabic Translation Tradition

Musallam Al-Mani
Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
Said M. Faiq
American University of Sharjah, UAE

An examination of the historiography of translation, as a transformative and/or appropriationist act, for example, is important for a discipline that affects the contact between peoples interculturally, even intraculturally. Such an examination should consider translation as cultural movements that stem from and affect crisis, nation-building, and identity. Within this context, the purpose of this article is to assess what history labels the Medieval Arabic Translation Tradition (MATT) in terms of its culture, how it accommodated foreign cultures into Arabic and its role building the Arab/Islamic Empire (transformation) that globalized the world for centuries (appropriation). In other words, how MATT transformed its culture, on the one hand, and, on the other, how it assisted this culture in acquiring global influence.

Keywords: Arabic Medieval translation, appropriation, transformation, culture


Said M. Faiq is Professor of Translation & Intercultural Studies at the American University of Sharjah (UAE), where he was chair/head of department (2003-07, 09-10), and director/coordinator of the graduate program in translation and interpreting (2002-11). He is a visiting professor at Exeter University (UK). Prior to his current position, he worked in Africa and the Middle East, then at Salford University, UK, (1990-2003), where he was director of studies for undergraduate and graduate programs in Arabic translation and interpreting. He was visiting lecturer at Leeds University, UK (1996-1998). He is an established figure in the fields of translation and intercultural studies. He has directed graduate (doctoral and master) research in these and allied fields. He has published widely on translation and intercultural studies, including Beyond Denotation in Arabic Translation (with Allen Clark, 2010), Cultures in dialogue: A translational perspective (2010), Trans-lated: Translation and Cultural Manipulation (2007), Identity and Representation in Intercultural Communication (2006), Cultural Encounters in Translation from Arabic (2004).

Musallam Al-Ma’ani is Head of the English Department at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Oman. He holds a Ph.D. in Technical translation from the University of Salford (UK). Prior to
joining SQU, he worked for the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) as Head of the Translation Department, where he was both an executive translator and supervisor of a wide range of translations related to texts of different nature: military, administrative, technical, medical and legal. He is the author of two military dictionaries: Dictionary of Contemporary Military Abbreviations and Dictionary of Sultan’s Armed Forces Military Terms, both are in-house references for the Sultan’s Armed Forces in Oman. He has also published on general and technical translation.