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Abstract

The discourse concerning Islam, and in particular the translation of the Quran, has had a profound impact on Western views of Muslim women. Most Quran translations are stained with mistranslations, resulting from translators adopting the literal approach for religious reasons that we will explore. This has an impact on many aspects of meaning, but especially the representation of women. It should be noted that this article is not influenced by the views of feminist groups who focus on seeking new interpretations of the Quran. Instead, it pinpoints the genuine interpretation lost in translation. This article endeavors to identify the translational mistakes, and their influence on the image of women, through a comparison with the original text in terms of linguistic and paralinguistic features found in the Quran. The article adopts the interpretive approach in the form of a multiple-case study to clarify the mistranslated cases and to provide genuine interpretation as understood within the original context, without either addition or omission. The article concludes that many Quran translations instantiate a fertile ground, contributing to the creation of a negative image of Muslim women in the eyes of the West. This is attributed to the translator’s lack of knowledge of Quranic scholarship, i.e., the paralinguistic issues and the excessive use of the literal approach that fails to capture the intended meaning of the original text.

Note on the Author

Alalddin Al-Tarawneh received his PhD in translation studies from Queen’s University, UK. He joined the Translation Department at Zarqa University, Jordan in 2017, where he is now an assistant professor. His research concerns the theory and practice of translation, particularly contextual meaning lost in sacred translation, with a focus on the Quran. He has published a monograph (2019), a book chapter (2016), and two academic articles (2020). Email: aaltarawneh@zu.edu.jo

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