The Reality of Arabic Fiction Translation into English: A Sociological Approach

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 The University of Leeds, UK (*On study leave from Tanta University, Egypt)

2 The University of Salford, UK

Abstract

English translations of texts associated with Arabic fiction remain largely unexplored from a sociological perspective. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology, this paper aims to examine the genesis of Arabic fiction translation into English as a socially situated activity. Works of Arabic fiction emerged in English translation in the early twentieth century. Since then, this intellectual field of activity has gone through three distinct, though overlapping, phases that have affected its structure, capital at stake, agents involved, modes of production, and the volume of activity. This paper also aims to argue for a fourth phase which could be referred to as ‘post 9/11 phase’ and will investigate its agents and dynamics. The field of Arabic fiction translation into English was subjected to both internal and external factors which formed and conditioned its structure and dynamics. In contrast to the linear understanding of the history of Arabic fiction translation, Bourdieu’s sociological concepts of field and capital will be used as analytical tools to both describe and interpret the translation activity in this field

Keywords