Arab World English Journal (August 2016)                                                     Theses / Dissertations (ID 165)


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Author: Raja S AlGhamdi
Thesis title: Translating Religious Terms and Culture in ‘The   Sealed Nectar’: A model for quality assessmen
Major: Translation Studies and Theories
Institution: The University of Leeds, Department of Languages, Cultures and Societies
Degree: PhD
Award date: 2016
Supervisor(s): Jeremy Munday and Mustapha Lahlali
Keywords: Translation quality assessment, religious texts, biographical texts, key cultural texts, Arabic/English discourse analysis


This is an applied study that critically analyzes the Arabic-English translation of a key cultural text: the biography of the Prophet Muhammad entitled The Sealed Nectar. It aims at assessing the translation to see how successful the translator was in composing an equivalent text to such a culture-specific one. The study adopts Juliane House’s (1997) translation quality assessment model which is based on Systemic Functional Linguistic theory and relates texts to their situational and cultural contexts. In order to introduce a qualitative judgement of the work, the study enhances House’s model to make it applicable to culture-bound texts that call for overt translation. It introduces a consilience of: 1) Nord’s notion of culturemes; 2) Nida’s categorization of cultural features to help in analyzing religious terms and culture; 3) Dickins et al.’s compensation strategies that show the translator’s endeavor to balance the translation loss while dealing with such sensitive terms; 4) Martin and White’s appraisal theory which explores attitudinal meaning and, hence, helps in investigating the translator’s evaluation of these terms; and 5) Katan’s model that helps in highlighting the correlation between levels of cultures and discourse variables (field, mode and tenor). Application of the enhanced model reveals mismatches on all the discourse variables which indicate the application of a cultural filter that adopts the norms of English academic discourse, in addition to overt errors that distort the message of this sensitive text. The study thus complements House’s framework of translation quality assessment and introduces a model that can be further applied to assess overt translations.

Note: Citing this thesis, please use:
AlGhamdi, Raja S. (2016). Translating Religious Terms and Culture in ‘The   Sealed Nectar’: A model for quality assessment. University name: The University of Leeds, Department of Languages, Cultures and Societies, (Ph.D’ s Thesis). Retrieved from (Arab World English Journal Database. (ID Number: 165 August, 2016).