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Translating Emirati Dialect in Dramatic Texts

Khamis, Nuha Matar Marzooq
A Master of Arts Thesis in Translation and Interpreting (Arabic/English/Arabic) Submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences by Nuha Matar Marzooq Khamis Entitled, "Translating Emirati Dialect in Dramatic Texts," May 2007. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
In this dissertation, the issue of translating the dramatic texts of the United Arab Emirates into English is discussed, and the translation of sub-genres (poetic diction - fairy tales) in a form of a dialect as a means of characterizing the persona is further examined. The thesis deals with the UAE dialect used in dramatic texts and its translation with emphasis on stylistic and pragmatic aspects. It is generally assumed that in translating and analyzing dramatic texts written in a certain Arabic dialect, the process would be the same as that used to approach other prose texts. That is the translation would be presented in Standard English, with the tendency to ignore the performability and speakability characteristics that dramatic texts exhibit. In this dissertation, this assumption is examined and put forward. Chapter 1, the introduction, posits that the folkloric theatre as a genre of literature is generally neglected in translation studies. There is but a little tendency to discuss the special problems of translating dramatic texts written in dialects. In Chapter 2, an overview of the theoretical background to translation studies is presented; starting with the definition of translation studies, and then considering prominent theories from Vinay and Darbelnet up to today. In Chapter 3, the paper discusses theatre translation process, particularly dramatic texts written in dialects. In Chapter 4, the paper translates and then analyzes and comments on chosen extracts from two plays written in UAE dialect, with the focus on some sub-genres (poetic diction - fairytales) which the 2 playwrights used repeatedly in their plays. The samples are two theatre plays written in dialect by two UAE playwrights. The first sample consists of extracts taken from a play by Naji Al Hai, 'Habbat Raml /A Grain of Sand'. The second sample consists of extracts from 'Jameela', by Jamal Matar. The thesis also studies the qualities of appropriate equivalent to a particular dialect. In Chapter 5, the dissertation concludes that translators should recognize the functional use of the dialect in dramatic texts as an important way of personification. They should pay special attention to a text that was written to be acted and seen, not only to be read. Language takes a lot of its meaning through the illocutionary forces; translators should select the most appropriate phonetic, grammatical and syntactic equivalents available in order to present the same effect in the target language.
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