Texts between Two Cultures: Challenges of Cross-Cultural Translation in the Arabic Versions of Jane Eyre and Frankenstein

  • Hanaa Jan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The purpose of undertaking this research is to identify the cross-cultural translation challenges that Arab translators often encounter while translating nineteenth-century English novels. This has been done by examining translations of two well-known texts of the period, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley as case studies. The selection of the two texts emerges from the observation of the parallels between the values and conservatism of nineteenth-century English society and contemporary Arabic society as well as the underlying similarity between the two novels regarding the Eastern imageries as produced for a Western audience. Upon analysis of three different Arabic translation of each text, it became clear that cultural difficulties are the result of the areas of challenge between Western, particularly British and Arab cultures. The evaluation of the selected translations of Jane Eyre and Frankenstein is further grounded on postcolonial and feminist literary discourses and theories of literary translation that were explored in order to situate the thesis in the theoretical framework of translation studies. Laurence Venuti’s translation theory of domestication and foreignization proves to be the paradigm most relevant to analysis of the case studies. However, neither domestication nor foreignization is advocated in this study. Instead, an eclectic approach that combines both strategies is valued in translating literary texts into Arabic. The combination of the two strategies preserves the source text’s cultural context including the historical, religious, cultural, political, and gender-related elements and it also respects the sensibility of the Arabic reader. The cross-cultural translation challenges as demonstrated in the two novels and their translations are then categorized and addressed, aiming to generate a unified list of challenges that are applicable to other nineteenth-century novels in Arabic translations. The study results in acknowledging that Arabic translation is lagging behind other countries in quality and quantity. Spreading awareness of this fact and unifying the efforts of translators, publishers, organizations and governments involved in translation processes or practices is considered necessary to overcome the cultural, religious, gender-related and political challenges facing literary translators of English texts. For this purpose, a list of recommendations has been developed to be sent to concerned translators, translation projects and organizations devoted to translation in the Arab world
Date of AwardMay 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorJanet Wilson (Supervisor), Phillippa Bennett (Supervisor) & Ebtisam Ali Sadiq (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • translation
  • Jane Eyre
  • Frankenstein
  • Mary Shelley
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • literature
  • Arabic

Cite this

Texts between Two Cultures: Challenges of Cross-Cultural Translation in the Arabic Versions of Jane Eyre and Frankenstein
Jan, H. (Author). May 2019

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis