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نوع مقاله: مقاله علمی انگلیسی

نویسندگان

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چکیده

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کلیدواژه‌ها


عنوان مقاله [English]

On the Translation of ‘Address Terms’ of the Holy Quran into English and Persian Based on“Politeness Theory”

نویسندگان [English]

  • Mina Zand Rahimi
  • Azadeh Sharifi Moghaddam
M.A, Shahid Bahonar university of Kerman, Kerman, Iran
چکیده [English]

This study aimed at investigating the translation of address terms from Arabic text of the Quran (ST) into English as well as Persian translations (TTs) based on politeness principle. The purpose was to evaluate the two translations in terms of implementing proper polite address terms. The data were gathered from the Original Arabic version of the Quran as the ST and two different versions of its English translations (Gharib and Yusuf Ali) as well as two versions of Persian translations (Fooladvand and Makarem Shirazi) as the TTs.  In order to analyze the data, Brown and Levinson’s (1987) theory of politeness was used. The most frequent translation strategies were also identified according to Vinay and Darbelnet (2012) as well as Harvey and Higgins (1986) for rendering proper nouns. Moreover, the classification of address terms by Aliakbari&Tohi (2008) and address functions by Biber et al (1999) was also applied. To achieve the objectives, the following steps were taken: address terms were extracted from Arabic, English and Persian texts of the Quran. Then, they were classified to different types, after that politeness principles used in the Arabic text of the Quran and their rendering were compared and contrasted, and finally translation strategies applied to render Arabic address terms into English and Persian were identified. The results of the study revealed that all versions of English and Persian translations depicted the psychological distance between Allah and people as the Arabic version of the Quran. Also, the findings showed that in the translation of address terms from SL into TTs translators did their best to maintain the words of Allah by rendering the words literally.

کلیدواژه‌ها [English]

  • address terms
  • Holy Quran
  • negative politeness
  • positive politeness
  • translation strategies
  • address types

Introduction

Quran is the main religious text of Islam and the Word of Almighty God that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Arabic language and has been preserved and reached us by continuous oral and written transmissions. The Arabic language of the Quran is unique with impressive and inimitable eloquence which, according to many Islamic scholars could not be totally transferred to other languages through the act of translation. So translating the Quranic expressions, especially cultural ones, is really a difficult task.

The concept of translation is inseparable from the concept of ‘culture’. Translators are always under the influence of socio-cultural factors that affect the way they translate. ‘Politeness’ could be one of the cultural factors in the translation which could be investigated specially in address terms.

‘Address terms’ as culture-bound terms could be taken into account when dealing with politeness strategies. So far, many studies have been conducted regarding the linguistic aspect of address terms and politeness strategies, but little work is done regarding the translation of address terms. In fact, to the best knowledge of the researchers, no work has been done on the translation of address terms in Quran.

 

  1. Address terms

Address terms are significant linguistic mechanisms by which a speaker's attitude toward, and interpretation of his or her relationship with, a speaker is reflected (Brown & Levinson, 1987: 126). According to Oyatade (1995) address terms are referred to as words or expressions used in face-to-face interactions and situations to designate the person being talked to. Also, Keshavarz (2001) referred to address terms as linguistic forms which were used to address others to attract their attention or to refer to them in the course of conversation. To Afful (2006a, p.6) terms of address are an important part of verbal behavior through which “the behavior, norms and practices of a society can be identified”.

Address terms in different speech communities are worth studying. They are likely to be different because different languages have different linguistic resources to express what is culturally permissible and meaningful. Moreover, speakers use address terms to transform a cultural system (Fitch 1991, Morford 1997)

Furthermore, Braun (1988) distinguishes between rules of reference and rules of address regarding kinship terms and nominal address forms. For example, the English “grandson”, “niece”, and “nephew” and their Arabic counterparts are common forms of reference, but they are rarely used as address forms; instead the first names of a grandson, a niece, or a nephew would be the usual nominal variant for addressing them.

Nevala also (2004) argued that the manner we address someone directly might differ from the way we referred to the same person since by direct addressing, the relationship between the speaker and the hearer should be considered. However, in the case of referring, the speaker not only had to consider his/her relationship with the hearer, but also s/he had to decide how to present the referent in a situationally appropriate way.

 

1.1. Functions of “Address Terms”

Three functions of address terms suggested by Biber et al. (1999) are listed below:

a) Getting someone’s attention: address terms are used to attract the attention of the addressee, and also to recall the hearer’s professional status or the relationship between the speaker and the hearer. In both Persian and English there are address terms that allow the addresser to call the addressee either directly or indirectly, i.e. either by his/her name or by other terms of address like verbs. This function of address terms can also be manifested and identified by considering the context.

b) Identifying someone as an addressee: address terms are used when the purpose of the speaker is to mirror the information about identity, gender, age, and social status of interlocutors in a speech community.

c) Maintaining and reinforcing the social relationship: address terms are used by the speaker to represent politeness or differences in social class and in the degree of respect in specific occasions. For example, when the speaker calls the addressed recipient by one certain honorific term, it shows the superiority of the addressee. The opposite situation may also exist when the speaker calls the addressee by his/her first name or by other informal terms to show the inferiority of the addressee.

 

1.2. Address term subdivisions

Aliakbari&Tohi (2008:6-10) also introduce different types of address terms which Persian interlocutors may use in different contexts which are as follows:

a)   Personal names: a common form of addressing by addressee's personal name through people’s first names, last names and combination of first and last names.

b)   Title terms: Title, here, refers to given initials of individuals in order to show their social ranks, or gender in different circumstances. E.g. Mr. Mohammadi

 

c) Religious titles: religion has always been a powerful and effective factor in Iranians’ social life and behavior, including the use of address terms such assejjed, sejjede (male/female descendent of Holy Imams which are common religious forms in Iran).

d) Occupational titles: work-related terms of address that a person receives or earns because of the degree s/he holds or because of the occupation s/he is engaged in, including skill-related, educational and military terms such as “engineer” and “doctor”

e) Cultural titles: terms used for those with a status of higher culture with no consideration of education in the society.

e) Kinship /Family terms: address terms indicating family relations

f) Honorifics or terms of formality: these terms of formality or honorifics are used by a speaker to show great respect and express deference to the addressee. The addressor seems to show that the addressee is of a higher rank or social status, including formal, feudal, royal and age–wise related

g) Intimacy terms: terms used in situations where intimate interlocutors need to address partners in a conversation with more friendly and more amiable tone. Intimacy here refers to the relationship where the speaker considers the addressee as a member of an in-group, a friend or a person who shares some commonality with the speaker, so they address him using an intimate address term to show this close relationship including pet names, descriptive phrases and abbreviated first names.

h) Descriptive Phrases: In addition to categories discussed so far, Persian interlocutors may use descriptive phrases as courtesy expressions to address others.

i) Personal pronouns: pronouns, apart from their grammatical functions, have been reported to perform a social function by signaling the disparity in the status of the speaker and the addressee.

j) Zero address terms: terms used when the addresser is in doubt as to how to address people, they can actually avoid the difficulty by not using any address form. Instead, they may use greetings or attention getters.

 

2. Politeness theory

According to Brown and Levinson (as cited in Pishghadam&Ghahari, 2012) politeness has a dual nature which is categorized into positive and negative politeness. In positive politeness, the positive face is satisfied in two ways, by

a)    Indicating similarities with him or her, or

b)   Expressing an appreciation of the interlocutor’s self-image.

Negative politeness is expressed in the following two ways, by

a)    Saving the interlocutor’s face (either negative or positive) by decreasing the face-threatening acts

b)   Satisfying negative face by showing respect

In this way, politeness is not just an act to reduce FTA but it is expressed to satisfy the interaction’s face. They (Ibid) divide human politeness behavior into four strategies which are as follows:

a)    Off-record indirect strategy takes pressure off the speaker by avoiding straight impositions by giving hints or by being sarcastic and joking.

b)   The bald on-record strategy does not minimize FTA. For example: “Help” and “turn the light on”

c)    The positive politeness strategies tryto respect the hearer by being intimate.

d)   The negative politeness strategies recognize the hearer’s face, but the speaker is in some way imposing on the hearers. For example: “I don’t want to bother you but…”:

 

2.1. Address terms and politeness theory

Generally speaking, politeness is behaving or speaking in a way that is correct for the social situation, and being careful to consider other people's needs and feelings. In an interaction, it can be defined as the means employed to show awareness of another person’s face (Brown & Levinson,1987). A polite person makes utterances appropriately and makes others feel comfortable. Thus, the address terms are examples of linguistic politeness in light of the interactants’ relationship or social distance (Holms, 1992, p.268). In Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory, address terms can be used to show either positive or negative politeness.

Positive politeness aims at supporting or enhancing the addressee’s positive face. Positive face is achieved through intimate forms of address. Intimate address terms are typical instances of positive politeness, while negative politeness aims at softening the encroachment on the addressee’s freedom of action or imposition (negative face). Negative face is achieved through distance by honorifics and titles (Brown &Levinson, 1987).

Moreover, the weight of a face threatening act is subject to the variables of the social   distance and relative power of speakers and addressees. A direct request for a favour is less face-threatening between friends than between people who are relative strangers to each other or whose relationship is hierarchical (employee to employer, for example) (Hatim& Mason, 1997, Cited in Venuti, 2004, p.432).

 

2.2. Cultural aspects of address terms and politeness theory

As Pishghadam and Ghahari (2012, p.350) mentioned, politeness is a culture specific phenomenon which is a “complex interaction of various contextual and participant variables than an isolated act produced by an individual.” They (ibid) said that some cultures were less polite than the others and characterizing a culture as a positive politeness or negative politeness culture did not mean that they only applied those special strategies but it meant that it was more prevalent within that culture. Consequently, Brown and Levinson (cited in Pishghadam&Ghahari, 2012) believed in the differences in selecting strategies that might arise across cultures.

Keshavarz (2001) stated that culture was a significant factor in choosing address terms. In other words, every individual in a society uses different address terms based on his/her social culture. Therefore, contrastive analysis of address terms should clearly reflect the different usage of address terms in two different languages with two separate cultures. The results of such studies will manifest cultural variations. According to Braun (1998, p.12) selecting address terms which includes “the totality of available forms and their interrelations in one language” is culture bound.

 

2.3. Translation and politeness

Translating is inseparable from the concept of culture and translators are influenced by socio-cultural norms and constraints that affect their translations. Translation takes place not only between languages but also between cultures, and the information needed by the translator, therefore, always goes beyond the linguistics. As Lefevere (1992, p.14) mentioned: “Translations are not made in a vacuum. Translators function in a given culture at a given time. The way they understand themselves and their culture is one of the factors that may influence the way in which they translate.”

From a translation point of view, this might suggest that “the dynamics of politeness can be relayed trans-culturally but will require a degree of linguistic modification at the level of texture” (Hatim& Mason in Venuti, 2004, p.433). Although there are common features of politeness among languages, translators may encounter with some culture-bound politeness aspects which can be a frequent resource of difficulty and challenge. Politeness as a cultural notion could be problematic in translation. Different cultures may possess different principles in conducting conversation to prevent from being ‘impolite’. According to Mahyuni, (2008) every culture and language appears to share very wide sets of politeness conventions. Thus, politeness is a significant factor of interpersonal communication which is valued in all cultures. He (2008) added that politeness is a culturally relative concept because what is polite in one culture may not be polite in another.

 

3. Translation strategies

As Munday (2012, p.14) states from Vinay and Darbelnet's point of view, translators can select two main methods of translating which are called: direct translation and oblique translation.

Direct translation includes 3 subcategories which are as follows:

  1. Borrowing: The SL word is transferred directly to the TL.
  2. Calque: This is a special type of borrowing in which the borrowed expression is literally translated into the target language.
  3. Literal translation: that means word for word translation, which is the most common between languages of the same family and culture.

When literal translation is not possible because of lexical and syntactical differences between the two languages, oblique translation is used which the following subcategories:

  1. Transposition: that is substituting one-word class with another without changing the meaning of the message.
  2. Modulation: this means a change in point of view or the semantics of the SL.
  3. Equivalence: this refers to cases where languages describe the same situation by different stylistic or structural means.
  4. Adaptation: this involves changing the cultural reference when a situation in the source culture does not exist in the target culture (pp. 86-89)

Hervey and Higgins (1992, p.29) also present the following strategies for translating Proper nouns:

a) Exoticism: The name should remain unchanged from the SL to the TL. In this method no cultural transposition occurs.

b) Transliteration: The name is shifted to conform to the phonic or graphic rules of the TL.

c) Cultural transplantation: The SL name is replaced by the TL name that has the same cultural connotation as the original one (p.29).

 

4. Statement of the Problem, Purpose and Research Questions:

Abdul-Raof (2001, p.1) believed that the translation of the Quran is a kind of “human contribution in cross-cultural interfertilization” but it is not a replacement of the original version since the Quranic structures are limited to Quran and they are “Quran-bound”. As a result, the translated version of the Quran cannot be considered as a substitute for the original Quran and this fact has been accepted by all the major scholars of Islam, so it has never been a serious topic of debate amongst them because they believe any translation of the Quran is, in reality, an interpretation of the Quran, and not Quran itself. Actually, translation of the Quran should not be paralleled to the original Arabic text because “any attempt at translating Quran is a form of exegesis or is based on an understanding of the text and consequently projects a certain point of view” (Mustapha, 1998, p.201). In fact, different people for understanding Quran look at its verses from their own viewpoint and may stick to reasons which others do not believe (Mollanazar & Mohaqeq, 2005).

This study aimed at investigating the translation of address terms from Arabic text of Quran (ST) into English as well as Persian translations (TTs) based on politeness theory. The purpose is to evaluate the two translations in terms of implementing proper polite address terms. Although politeness strategies are culture-bound and research in sociolinguistics showed that different cultures used politeness principles differently, in the process of translation of the original Arabic version of the Quran to both Persian and English, it was tried to find out if the translators regarding the significance of Quran as the divine word of the supreme being could render the address terms properly.

In order to fulfill the purpose of the study, the following research questions were attempted:

2-1- Which types of address terms are the most frequent?

2-2- Which functions are the most frequent?

2-3- Which types of politeness strategies are the most frequent? How can it be explained?

2-4- Are address terms in question correctly translated regarding types, functions and politeness strategies?

 

5. Methodology:

In the following part, the methodology of the study including the theoretical framework, data gathering and data analysis procedures will be presented:

 

5-1-Theoretical Framework

The use of address terms is one of the ways in which politeness is manifested in speech and writing. For Brown and Levinson (1987), politeness theory is based on the recognition of positive and negative politeness and in their theory, addressing can be used to show both. Address forms are the most direct means through which either positive or negative politeness are generally expressed.

The data were selected regarding different positive and negative politeness strategies categorized by Brown and Levinson. As the concept of politeness has been defined by Brown and Levinson (1987), this model was used as the main framework of the study and classification of address terms in Persian by Aliakbari & Tohi (2008). Likewise, address terms function by Biber et al (1999) was applied to further clarify the point. In addition, the most frequent translation strategies applied for rendering Arabic address terms into English and Persian were identified as suggested by Vinay and Darbelnet (cited in Munday, 2012). Moreover, to find the strategies applied for rendering proper nouns, those proposed by Hervey and Higgin (1992) were used. Thus, this qualitative research falls under the category of Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS) as developed by Toury (1995) and takes advantage of bilingual parallel corpus.

 

5-2-Data Gathering and Data Analysis Procedures:

Quran as the word of Allah and its translations could be a rich source of analysis in translation studies, especially since it is one of the most read texts in the world. The corpus selected for this research was a bilingual parallel from the Original Arabic version of the Quran as the ST and two different versions of its English translations (Yusuf Ali and Gharib) as well as two versions of Persian translations (Fooladvand and MakaremShirazi) as the TTs. A parallel corpus is a corpus which is widely used in translation studies, as Saldanha&O’Brien (2013, p.68) mentioned, and typically made up of ST in language A and their translations in Language B.

At first, address terms were extracted from Arabic, English and Persian texts of the Quran. About 300 address terms were selected to be compared with their counterparts in English and Persian. Then they were investigated and categorized into different types according to Aliakbari and Toni (2008) to clarify the exact type of the address terms. The categories were referred to in review of literature in the above. Also the function of address terms was analyzed according to Biber et al (1999). Finally, the marked translation strategies applied for rendering Arabic address terms into English and Persian were identified according to Vinay and Darbelnet (cited in Munday, 2012) and to find the strategies applied for rendering proper nouns, those proposed by Hervey and Higgin (1992) were also applied.

 

6-Data Analysis and Discussion:

In order to investigate the address terms from Arabic text of Quran (ST) into English as well as Persian translations (TTs) based on politeness principle about 300 address terms were extracted from Quran.

 

6-1- Frequency of Address Types

From among different address types mentioned in Quran, the most commonly used positive and negative address types which were both in Persian and English as well as the Arabic version were found to be:

-       A) positive politeness terms:

-        first names: Out of 300 address terms, 130 terms were positive ones of, which 60 terms were first names such as الصِّدِّیقُ (Joseph, the truthful) or یَا لُوط (o Lut)

-        Kinship terms: Out of these 300 address terms, 130 were positive ones, of which30 terms were kinship termssuch as یَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ (Sister of Aaron) orیَا نِسَاء النَّبِیِّ (Consorts of the prophet).

-       B) negative politeness terms:

-       Proper nouns: Out of these 300 address terms, 70 terms belonged to the negative politeness terms which were mostly proper nouns such as رَبَّنَا (My lord),اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا(Allah, our Lord).

-       C) Bald address terms:

-       Descriptive terms: Out of these 300 address terms, about 100 terms belonged to the bald on-record samples, of which 70 terms belonged to the descriptive address terms which were the most frequent type of the bald address terms such asیَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُواْ (Ye who believe), یَا أَیُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ (Thou folded in garments) orیَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ أُوتُواْ الْکِتَابَ(You to whom the book was given).

 

 

6-2- Frequency of Address Functions

As it was mentioned in detail earlier in this text, three functions of address terms suggested by Biber et al. (1999) were getting someone’s attention, identifying someone as an addressee, and maintaining and reinforcing social relationship.

It seemed that almost all address terms in Quran especially those address terms between God and his servants were applied to maintain and reinforce the distance between them. They were used by the speaker to represent politeness or differences in their rank and in the degree of respect in specific occasions. The following cases can explain the function of positive and negative politeness terms applied in the sacred text of Quran:

-       Negative politeness terms: For example, when the servant called his God by words such as رَبَّنَا (My lord), اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا(Allah, our Lord), it showed the superiority of God and also the distance between them.

-       Positive politeness terms: The opposite situation might also exist when God called his servants by his/her first nameیُوسُفُ أَیُّهَا الصِّدِّیقُ (Joseph, the truthful) or یا عیسی (o Jesus) or by other informal terms such as intimacy terms, for instanceیَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ (Sister of Aaron) orیَا نِسَاء النَّبِیِّ (Consorts of the prophet) to show the inferiority of the addressee as well asGod’s good attention toward his addressee.

To clarify the point and show the function of different address terms, some more positive politeness examples were given from the sacred words of Allah. Sometimes in Quran, God addressed his servants directly and sometimes indirectly. Although Quran was revealed through Mohammad, in the words of Quran, every now and then, God addressed his servant without any mediation. For example in قُلْ یا أَیُّهَاالنَّاسُ (say: o people) orقُلْ یَا أَهْلَ الْکِتَابِ (say: o people of the book) God addressed his servants through Mohammad and in  یاأَیُّهَاالنَّاسُ(o ye people)he addressed them directly.

یاأَیُّهَاالنَّاسُ(o ye people)is a general address term which was repeated in Quran about 20 times and God applied this term whenever he wanted to address all his servants and not just a special race, class or age. In other words, God’s addressees were of different levels. Some were of the highest class of society, or the favored ones such asیاایّهاالرّسول، یاایّهاالنّبى (o thou the prophet, o thou the messenger) so positive politeness terms were applied by God to show his intimacy toward them. Some were of the lowest class of the society, or the infidels, for example: ) یاأَیُّهَاالْکافِرُونَo thou disbelievers),یَا أَیُّهَا السَّاحِرُ (o thou sorcerer). Here positive politeness terms were applied by God to show the inferiority of the addressees.

The most frequent address term in Quran is یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُواْ(o you who believe in God) which has been applied 89 times and has revealed that God respected his believers a lot and showed his mercy toward them.

It was worth mentioning that the first and main addressee in Quran was the prophet Mohammad. Although, in some verses, he addressed other prophets with their first names such asیاابراهیم(o, Ibrahim), یا نوح   (o Noah) to show his intimacy, while addressing the prophet Mohammad, he never applied his first name and used address terms such as یاأَیُّهَاالْمُدَّثِّرُ(o you the cloaked), یَا أَیُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ(o you wrapped), یاایّهاالرّسول(o, you the messenger) andیاایّهاالنّبى(o you the prophet) to address Mohammad, for he wanted to show more respect toward him, reveal his great dignity and  teach other people not to use his first name while addressing him. Moreover he appliedیاأَیُّهَاالْمُدَّثِّرُ (o you the cloaked) and یَا أَیُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ (o you wrapped) to show his closeness and intimacy toward Mohammad and let him not feel the heavy burden of prophethood. یاایّهاالرّسول(o, you the messenger) meant the prophet who carried the holy book and his mission was to publish and preach the teaching of Quran. He heard the voice and saw the angel of revelation whether asleep or awake. This term was repeated in Quran only two times in Al-Maeda chapter in verses 41 and 67 as it was much more significant than یاایّهاالنّبى (o you the prophet). The latter meant the messenger from God who was given the revelation while asleep. This has been repeated 13 times in Quran. The word Mohammad has been repeated in Quran only four times and not in through direct addressing (al-Ahzab/40, al-Imran/144,  al-Fath/29 and Mohammad/2).

 Infidels were addressed in Quran only two times directly and the terms wereیا أَیُّها الَّذِینَ کَفَرُوا(o you who disbelieve((al-Tahrim7/66) while in other cases, they were addressed indirectly, for example,إِنَّ الَّذِینَ کَفَرُواْ (as for the disbelievers((al-Baqara 6/2). This revealed that mostly in Quran, God preferred addressing his virtuous servants to vicious ones to show his closeness toward and mercy upon them.

 

6-3- Frequency of Politeness Strategies in the Use of Address Types

To find the frequency of politeness strategies in the use of address terms, different address terms in Quran were analyzed. It seems that the most common address terms applied in the Arabic version as well as the Persian and English versions were positive politeness samples, then the bald on-record samples and at last the negative politeness samples. positive politeness and bald on-record samples were more frequent than the negative politeness ones because in Quran, mostly God addressed his servants whether with or without any redressive actions so it was crystal clear that the number of the negative politeness samples should be less than the other two since the addressee was God and the servants were the addressors who should respect their creator.

 

A) Positive politeness samples: Among 300 gathered samples of address terms, about 130 samples belonged to positive terms which were the most frequent ones such asالصِّدِّیقُ (Joseph, the truthful) or یَا لُوط (o Lut), یاایّهاالرّسول(o, you the messenger),یَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ (Sister of Aaron) and یَا نِسَاء النَّبِیِّ (Consorts of the prophet).It seemed that almost all samples in positive address terms were God’s addressing his worshipers

B)  Negative politeness samples: Out of these 300 address terms, 70 terms belonged to the negative politeness terms which were the least frequent address terms such as رَبَّنَا (My lord),اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا(Allah, our Lord).The negative politeness strategy was  applied when the worshipers respectfully addressed their God and consequently the distance was kept between God and them

C)  Bald address terms: Out of these 300 address terms, about 100 terms belonged to the bald on-record samples such asیَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُواْ (Ye who believe), یَا أَیُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ (Thou folded in garments) or یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ أُوتُواْ الْکِتَابَ (You to whom the book was given). On-Record strategies provided no effort to minimize threats to the addressee’s face. They were applied when God addressed his servants without any redressive action specially addressing those infidels. In fact, God applied bald strategies without using any politeness strategies to minimize the FTA.

6-4-Translation of Address terms

The aim of this study was to investigate the translation of address terms from Arabic text of Quran (ST) into Englishas well as Persian translations (TTs) based on politeness theory. The purpose was to analyze the two translations in terms of implementing proper polite address terms. Politeness strategies are culture-bound but in the process of translation of the original Arabic version of Quran to both Persian and English, it was tried to find out if the translators regarding the significance of Quran as the divine word of the supreme being could render the address terms properly and could maintain the distance between God and his servants as it was in the original version.

After analyzing the translations, it was seen that in most cases the aforementioned distance was kept and faithfulness to the Word of the Supreme Being was tried to be observed. Therefore, in all the translated versions, literal translation as suggested by Vinay and Darbelnet (cited in Munday, 2012) was used for rendering address terms and in translating first names transliteration as suggested by Hervey and Higgins (1992) was applied. By using such translation strategies, translators tried to transfer the same politeness strategy in TL.

The following examples illustrated the point clearly:

 


 

Table 1: examples of positive politeness

Original Arabic

Persian translation by Makarim Shirazi

Persian translation by Fooladvand

English translation by Yusuf Ali

English translation by Gharib

Address term subdivision

یَا قَوْمِ-

قوم من

قوم من

My people

My nation

Term of intimacy

-یُوسُفُ أَیُّهَا الصِّدِّیقُ

یوسف بسیار راستگوی

یوسف, مرد راستگوی

Joseph, man of truth

Joseph, the truthful

First name

-یَا لُوط

لوط

لوط

Lut

Lot

First name

یا عیسی

ای عیسی

ای عیسی

Jesus

Jesus

First name

یَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ-

خواهر هارون

خواهر هارون

Sister of Aaron

Sister of Aaron

Kinship term

یَا نِسَاء النَّبِیِّ-

همسران پیامبر

همسران پیامبر

Consorts of the prophet

Wives of the prophet

Kinship term

یا شعیب

ای شعیب

ای شعیب

O Shu’aib

O Shu’aib

First names

 

 

As it is clear in the above table, translators tried to transliterate all proper names and just had some shifts to conform to phonetic or geographic rules of TL. Examples could be “Mary” instead of مریم/marjam/,“Moses” instead of موسی/musa/, “Aaron” instead ofهارون /harun/. Moreover, there were some proper nouns likeشعیب""/ˈʃb/ in Quran which was identified in Bible as “Jethro” but in both English translations, it was transliterated to Shu’aib to maintain the Islamic connotation. There could be seen some more examples such as:

Prophet Yahya /ˈjahja/ son of Zakaria who was known in Bible as John the Baptist as well as Iblis known as Satan in Bible.

All other phrases were also translated literally in order that the same strategies applied in the Arabic version would be maintained and the faithfulness to the word of Allah would be observed.

Here again, transliteration was applied in rendering proper nouns in order that they would be the same as the Arabic version and were faithful to the word of Allah.

 

 

Table 2: examples of negative politeness

Original Arabic

Persian translation by Makarim Shirazi

Persian translation by

Fooladvand

English translation by Yusuf Ali

English translation by Gharib

Address term subdivision

رَبَّنَا

خداوندا

پروردگارا

My lord

My lord

Proper noun

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا

خداوندا, پروردگارا

خداوندا, پرودگارم

Allah, our Lord

Allah, our Lord

Proper noun

 

Table 3: examples of bald strategies

Original Arabic

Persian translation by Makarim Shirazi

Persian translation by

Fooladvand

English translation by Yusuf Ali

English translation by Gharib

Address term subdivision

یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُواْ

ای کسانی که ایمان آورده اید

ای کسانی که ایمان آورده اید

Ye who believe

believers

Descriptive

یَا أَهْلَ الْکِتَابِ

اهل کتاب

اهل کتاب

The people of the book

People of the book

Descriptive

یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ أُوتُواْ الْکِتَابَ

کسانی که کتاب به شما داده شده

کسانی که به شما کتاب داده شده است

Thou to whom the message is being revealed

You to whom the book was given

Descriptive

یَا أَیُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ

جامه به خود پیچیده

جامه به خویشتن فرو پیچیده

Thou folded in garments

You, (prophet Mohammad) wrapped

Descriptive

یَا أَیُّهَا السَّاحِرُ

ساحر

ساحر فسونگر

The sorcerer

sorcerer

Descriptive

 

 

As the above table shows, in translating bald address terms which were mostly descriptive, the translators rendered the description literally in accordance to the Arabic versions although in their translations different words were applied. Here again faithfulness was observed.

 

7. Conclusion

When trying to translate, cultural elements and language-specific devices are expected to make the translator’s work difficult, while some elements are ultimately not transferred at all. But as SalehElimam (2013, p.17) stated, most scholars of Quran believed that its translation did not need to be adapted to the target readers’ context or culture. He argued that readers of Quran mostly read the translation of Quran to understand the meanings of the original text of Quran and by doing so, they do not expect to read the exact word of God so they also do expect the translation of the Quran to be adapted to their cultures.

The most frequent Positive address terms which were both in Persian and English as well as the Arabic version were found to be first names as well as kinship terms. The most common negative address terms were found to be proper nouns. It also seemed that bald address terms were mostly descriptive.

According to the findings of the study, it can be concluded that (1) Positive politeness strategies, specially proper names and kinship terms were used in the context in which God wanted to minimize the distance between him and his good servants and be closer to them;(2) Negative politeness strategies were used in some situations in which God’s servants tried to maintain the distance between God and them;(3) Most of the time when God wanted to address his vicious servants, he applied bald strategies without using any politeness strategies.

It seemed that almost all address terms in the Quran, especially those address terms between God and his servants, were applied to maintain the distance between them and to emphasize on the superiority of God and the inferiority of his servants.

Moreover, the comparison of terms of address in the holy Quran with its translations in both English and Persian revealed that there were not any significant difference between the strategies which were applied by two different translators of the Persian version as well as the two translators of the English version.

It should be mentioned that there was a difference between the systems of terms of address in English and Persian but as the words of this book was divine, the translator tried to translate literally. In fact, the most frequent translation strategy which was used by the translators of Quran in both English and Persian translations was literal translation of all sentences and transliteration of the proper names.

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