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Motivated Repetition in Fictional and Nonfictional Texts in English and Arabic Translation

Qwai, Nidhal Mohammed Khair Saleem
A Master of Arts Thesis in Translation and Interpreting (Arabic/English Submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences by Nidhal Mohammed Khair Saleem Qwai Entitled, "Motivated Repetition in Fictional and Nonfictional Texts in English and Arabic Translation," July 2006. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
In this dissertation, the issue of markedness is discussed and the translation of motivated repetition is analyzed. It is generally assumed that people repeat words and sometimes sentences merely as some kind of embellishment, or only to emphasize lexical meaning. In this dissertation, this assumption is examined carefully and is found to be rather flawed. Repetition can be highly motivated and thus goes beyond decorative purposes. In chapter one, the introduction, this paper argues that translators tend almost by default to keep and highlight the repetition of words and sentences indiscriminately on every occasion and in all texts. This maybe because they think it is always important and they have to keep it to be faithful to the original or source text. In chapter two, the paper discusses the theoretical background to translation studies and those who participated in developing the translation field with their theories. The Chapter also argues that repetition is a form of markedness. It deals with cohesion and coherence through repetition and hesitation, and with the characteristics of the language of the absurd through giving examples of great writers who wrote great plays in the theatre of the absurd. In chapter four, this dissertation shows that there are at least two types of it: the non-functional repetition on the one side and the functional repetition on the other. It also analyses samples of two groups. The first is an exposition that is Mehlis Report on the Hariri assassination on Oct. 21st. 2005. It also has a report about "The Economy of Abu Dhabi". The second group is a-two-lengthy samples from the theatre of the absurd in which the first one is an English play by Eugene Ionesco, "The Lesson" which is translated into Arabic by Hamada Ibrahim. The second example is an Arabic play by Tawfiq Al Hakim, "Fate of a Cockroach" which is translated into English by Denys Johnson-Davies. In chapter five, the dissertation concludes that on the one hand, a translator should be very sensitive towards the motivated or functional repetition and should save and highlight it to convey the exact message meant and to be faithful to both the source and the target texts. This kind of repetition is so important and sensitive as it is the case in the theatre of the absurd and in religious texts. On the other hand, he or she should ignore any unmotivated or non-functional repetition when it is cosmetic and has no message to convey as when telling facts in exposition or as in reports.
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