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Writing through Translation

Alghadiri, Ilham
A Master of Arts Thesis in Translation and Interpreting (English/Arabic/English) by Ilham A. M. Alghadiri entitled, "Writing Through Translation." Thesis advisor is Dr. Said Faiq and was submitted in May 2012. Available are both hard and soft copies of the thesis.
Each culture can represent any other culture. Translation, in this sense becomes a cultural representation of an original. Translation and cultural representation in the West are often seen through the lenses of Orientalism; an ideology suggested by the late Edward Said in 1978, as the dominant approach in the West to the cultural representation of the East and ever since influenced the post-colonial studies. However, little attention is accorded into the orientalist cultural representation inherent in the writings of Arab authors who represent (translate) their own native culture in the language of the former colonizer. In this thesis, Amin Maalouf's historical novel Samarcande, originally written in French and translated into English and Arabic, is examined, and the cultural representation of the medieval Muslims and history through the life of the controversial poet Omar Al Khaiyam are analyzed to identify whether it is resistant or not to the Western master discourse of Orientalism (Faiq, 2004). The author, his works and background, the novel influence and structure were highlighted and a considerable number of selected text samples on the socio-political, historical, and Omar AlKhaiyyam's philosophy depictions were investigated for language, poetics, ideology, and universe of discourse as parts of the methodology adopted in this thesis. The sample translations into Arabic were dealt with in terms of language and poetics. It was concluded that, the novel is another orientalist representation of the Muslim culture that seems to conform to the French literary norms and adopts foreignization as a dominant approach emphasizing exoticism. The source and its translations represent instances of writing through translation.
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