The Semiotics of Third Language in Arabic-English Translation

Mohammad Ahmad Thawabteh

Abstract


The present paper explores how a third language is dealt with in the translation from Arabic into English, illustrated with al-Qamar il-Murabaʻ: Qiṣaṣ Ghrāibyia by Syrian writer Ghada as-Samman (1994), translated by Issa Boullata (1998) as ʻThe Square Moon: Supernatural Talesʼ (SMST). The paper adopts particularized a theoretical praxis approach. The paper argues that the third language does not occur in a vacuum, but within the boundaries of discourse with an eye to the ideology inscribed in the language we produce, viz. enhancing feministic, narcissistic and nihilistic tendencies by the Source Language (SL) author. The paper shows that the wheels of communication in the SL pertain to the third language; it is then incumbent upon the translator to maintain the flow of the communicative thrust intended by text producer. The paper argues that the strategies of translating the third language oscillate between formally-based strategies and functionally-based strategies. The findings of the paper reveal that SL text may have (1) quasi-third language whereby textual occurrences are in the language of the main text; (2) full third language in which textual occurrences are not the main language of SL text as is the case with borrowings; and (3) zero third language which refers to total textual absence of the third language in the main language of SL text, but the third language comes to the fore in translation. The paper finally shows that the strategies employed are (1) quasi-third language in the SL is rendered into quasi- and/or full third language in the TL for translating 1; (2) full third language in the SL is translated into full third language in the TL for translating 2; and (3) zero third language in the SL is rendered into full third language in the TL for translating 3.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.sal.0.23.4917


Keywords


third language; source language; target language; translation strategies; English; Arabic

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Print ISSN: 1648-2824
Online ISSN: 2029-7203