SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Practical Translation: Middle Eastern Languages into English

Credits:
15
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2

Translation has always been a facilitator of intercultural and interlingual communication in the Middle East and has made exchanges between different ethnic, religious and linguistic communities possible. Within the Arabic speaking parts of the Middle East, since the 2nd century translation has been a tool for the transfer of knowledge and literature. During the 1st Abbasid Period a great institute of translation named House of Wisdom was built in Baghdad. Córoba, Baghdad and Cairo became major centres of scholarship in philosophy, medicine, trade and education. The transfer of knowledge and scholarship became possible through the art and craft of translation. In the classical and modern era of Persian and Arabic literatures, literary innovations were often initiated through translation and assimilation of foreign rhetorical and poetological devices, forms and ideas.

The lectures and seminars in this module will introduce theory and practice of translation between their language of interest (including Arabic, Persian and Turkish) and English.
The objective of this module is to help students acquire advanced translation skills in translation from the Middle Eastern languages (including Arabic, Persian and Turkish) into English. It also aims to familiarise students with the process and techniques of translating from the Middle Eastern languages (e.g. Arabic, Persian, Turkish) into English, developing their skills to a high level of proficiency, and provide them with much practical experience of translation. Insights and practices from the field of contrastive linguistics, cross-cultural communication studies, comparative cultural studies and descriptive-historical translation studies will be used to help students improve their own understanding of the field of translation studies.


Texts from various sources, including game translation, audiovisual, literature, newspapers, the internet, government documents, and academic journals/books, and in various styles and genres (academic, media, business, and technical texts) will be assigned for class practice and homework.


The module will raise students’ awareness of issues relating to literal and free styles of translation, to targeted readership, to degree of formality, and to cultural implications. Classroom time will be divided between translation and discussion of translation choices made by students.Some classes the students attend together, others will be held separately by languages (e.g. Arabic, Persian, Turkish). Built into the module is a systematic comparative analysis of linguistics and methodological aspects of translation between English and the Middle Eastern languages.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the module a student will be able to..

  • Translate a variety of text-types including literary, academic, media, business and technical texts
  • Develop intellectual perspectives on the activity of translation and expand topic-based vocabulary

Workload

The module is taught over 10 week, 2 hours each week (1 lecture + 1 seminar)

Scope and syllabus

This module covers various translation genres including the following: 

  • Game
  • Audiovisual
  • Subtitle
  • Journalism
  • Advertisement
  • Recipes
  • Manual
  • Literature
  • Academic
  • Music

Method of assessment

  • 1 x (1000 words) take-home translation assignment of English text to be submitted, day 1, week 6, term 2 (20%)
  • 1 x (1000 words) take-home translation assignment of English text to be submitted, day 5, week 10, term 2 (20%)
  • 1 x (3000 words) Translation and commentary essay to be submitted, day 1 week 1, term 3 (60%)

Suggested reading

  • Baker, Mona (1992) In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. Routledge.
  • Berk, Özlem (2004) Translation and Westernisation in Turkey: from the 1840s to the 1980s. Ege.
  • Dickins, James, Sandor Hervey and Ian Higgins (2000) Thinking Arabic Translation. Routledge.
  • Hana, Sameh, Hanem El-Farahaty and Abdel-Wahab Khalifa (2019) The Routledge
  • Handbook of Arabic Translation. Routledge.
  • Hatim, Basil (1997) English-Arabic/Arabic-English translation: A Practical Guide. Saqi Books.
  • Hatim, B. & Mason, I (1997) The Translator as Communicator. Routledge.
  • Lewis, Geoffery (2000) Turkish Language Reform: A catastrophic success. Oxford.
  • Motarjem: Iranian Journal of Translation
  • Paker, Saliha (ed) (2002) Translations: (re)shaping of literature and culture. Bo─čaziçi University Press.
  • Riazi, A.M. & Assar, F (2001) ‘A Text Analysis of Persian Newspaper Editorials’, Journal of
  • Social Sciences and Humanities of Shiraz University, Vols. 31&32

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules