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

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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).