Translation of the Semantic Dimensions of Power and Solidarity from Arabic into English
Muhammad Kadhim Ghafil al-Askari, Mustansiriyyah University
أ.م.د. محمد كاظم غافل العسكري، قسم الترجمة، كلية الآداب، الجامعة المستنصرية
مقال منشور في مجلة جيل الدراسات الأدبية والفكرية العدد 79 الصفحة 131.
تَتَناولُ هذه الدراسةُ أبعادَ خطابِ السلطةِ و التضامنِ في اللغتينِ العربيةِ والانجليزيةِ من وجهةِ نظرِ علمِ اللغةِ المقارنِ والترجمةِ , و هكذا فالدراسةُ تهتمُ ببعضِ التحدياتِ في صيغِ خطابِ السلطةِ والتضامنِ فعلى سبيلِ المثالِ لا الحصرِ: الفجواتِ الصرفيةِ و التصغيرِ والعُدُولِ النحوي والتوكيدِ و ما إلى ذلكَ , ومنَ الجديرِ بالذكرِ أنَّ ترجمةَ النصوصِ الفصيحةِ المتضمنةِ خطابَ سلطةٍ وتضامنٍ تستحقُ مزيداً من الاهتمامِ الذي يقعُ على كاهلِ المترجمينَ وذلكَ لأنَّهما , أي : خطابَ السلطةِ والتضامنِ من المواطنِ العويصةِ والأَكثَرِ إشكالاً , فالدراسةُ تحاولُ أنْ تزيلَ أيَّ غموضٍ يكتنفُ الصيغَ المتنوعةِ لخطابيِّ السلطةِ والتضامنِ .
الكلماتُ المفتاحيةُ: الخطابُ , مُتَبَادَلُ , السلطةُ , التضامنُ , متشابهة
The present paper addresses itself to investigate the dimensions of power and solidarity in Arabic and English from contrastive and translational perspectives. It also lays great stress on some challenges in the forms of the power and solidarity such as: morphological gap, diminutive, syntactic deviation, emphasis, etc. It is to be noted that translating standard Arabic texts with power and solidarity deserves great attention on the part of translators since they both, i.e. power and solidarity, are one of the thorny and most problematic areas through the process of translation. This paper finds out so many problems which are encountered by translators. The study attempts to remove any vagueness which may surround the various formulas of power and solidarity.
Keywords: Address, Reciprocal, Power, Solidarity, Symmetric
In general, the concept of power and solidarity is based on pronouns which are considered the backbone of any discourse. Thus, pronouns of Arabic and English need to be tackled in some detail. For instance, the Arabic pronoun ‘ نحنnahnu ‘ or the English one ‘ we ‘ could express power or solidarity depending on ranks and situations among the interlocutors. The relation that is established between master and servant is usually asymmetrical since the master enjoys high status while the servant occupies lower status. The reverse is true, if the master and the servant are friends, the relation that is held in between is symmetrical, i.e. mutual. In such a case, it is far better for the translator to exert all his / her energy to arrive at the intended meaning underlining each pronoun to render the aesthetic and creative values of the forms of power and solidarity. Therefore, it is helpful to highlight the role of these pronouns so as to avoid, to a certain extent, a great deal of loss in translation.
Symmetrical and Nonsymmetrical Relations
Relationships like older than, father of, nobler than, and richer than are now reinterpreted for purposes of T and V as relations of the same age as, the same family, the same kind of ancestry as, and the same income as. In the degree that these relationships hold, the probability of a mutual T increases and, in the degree that they do not hold, the probability of a mutual V increases (Brown and Gilman, 1960: 260).
Dynamics of Power and Solidarity in English
The power dynamic is in play when one party addresses the other with T but is addressed by V: adult to child, boss to secretary, teacher to student, master to servant, doctor to patient. The solidarity dynamic reigns when speakers address each other in the same way; both use T (for example, children or close friends with each other) or both use V (for example, professors or doctors who do not know each other well or who are in a formal meeting). Thus, it is whether or not the forms of address are reciprocal, not the forms themselves, that determines whether power or solidarity is primary. Reciprocal forms of address, whether familiar or formal, place speakers on an equal footing; nonreciprocal forms of address position those who receive V as one – up and those who receive T as one-down (Tannen and Kakava, 1992: 12).
Tenor and Rank
Tenor is one of the factors which affect the style of language we adopt. This is particularly evident in situations which call for more, or less, formality. Two lovers will naturally use different language style from an employee talking to his / her boss. There will be significant differences in INTONATION pattern, syntactic structure, and the choice of lexical items. The tenor of their relationship is intimate. Complications occur, however, if the boss and employee are also lovers. In this case there is a clash between separate relations, each with their own individual tenor. Many linguists cope with this by distinguishing between personal tenor, and functional tenor. The first of these involves the degree of personal relationship between participants: whether they are friends, relatives, lovers, or just acquaintances. The second, involves the more public relationship they have. The ingredients here have to do with status, rank, and social roles. Wealth and fame are usually felt to increase a person’s social standing, as does rising to a higher rank in the commercial world, the armed forces, or the class system (Finch, 2000: 237).
System of Ranks in Arabic
Arabic relies mainly on the concepts of imperative, prohibition and invocation to express power and solidarity. These concepts can be shown as follows :
Ranks which are expressed in the imperative mood are as in:
1.high / low, (Power ) : Allah / people, master / servant, teacher / pupil, etc.
2.low / high, ( power ) : people / Allah, servant / master, pupil / teacher, etc.
3.equal ranks ( solidarity ), i.e. high / high or low / low ( Al-Subkee,2003 : 462-465 ).
Challenges in Translating Forms of Power and Solidarity
The challenges to be tackled in translating the forms of power and solidarity are as follows :
The diminutive formulas plays an active part in conveying the aesthetic and rhetorical values which are included in the forms of power and solidarity .
يا بُنيَّ أقِمِ الصَّلاةَ وأْمُرْ بالمَعْرُوفِ ) سورةُ لُقْمانَ (17
Ya bunya aqim il asalaat wa amur bil maroof
O my son, keep up the prayer, and command beneficence ( Ghali, 2002 : 412 ).
One can notice that the speaker, i.e. prophet Noah, in the above diminutive formula يا بُنيَّ ( Ya bunya ) points out to the high intimacy between him and his son and also to show that the diminutive form بُنيَّ ) bunya ) is usually restricted to the youngest sons . If translator renders such a vocative formula literally, s/he will certainly lose the meaning(tone ) of the intimacy which is intended by the speaker through his diminutive formula .Here, it is quite better for the translator to seek for the most appropriate equivalent which carries approximately the effect of the intended meaning of the SL formula. Hasan( 2007, Vol. 4, : 516) states that the diminutive form could contain, among other meanings, a tone of love towards others .
The Proposed Rendering :
O my close little son …
2.Morphological Gaps : ( أُسلُوبُ الترخيمِUsloobul Tarkheem )
Al-Radhee (1996 : 393 ) defines ( أسلوب الترخيم ) as the process of dropping the last letter of the proper noun,i.e. to convey the aesthetic and rhetorical values as in :
)حارث (Harith ) is changed into ( حارِHari ))
)فاطمة ( Fatima ) is changed into ( فاطمُ Fatim ) , and so on .)
أ فاطمُ مهلاً بعضَ هذا التدللِ
وإِنْ كنتِ قد أزمعتِ صرمي فأجملي
( poet’s name : Imr’u al-qais cited in Tarkh al’adab al-6rab, 2006 : 39 )
A Fatimu mahlan baatha hatha al tadaluli wa in kunti qad azmati sarmi faajmili
It is obvious that the Arabic feminine marker ( تاءُ التأنيثِ (Taa’ul ta’neeth ) has been dropped from the vocative form ( فاطمُ Fatimu ) to express a sense of affection with the meaning of solidarity. In addition , the form of solidarity ( فاطمُFatimu ) is preceded by the alphabetical letter ( أ aa ) which functions as a vocative particle in the sense of ( يا ) to become ( يا فاطمُ Ya Fatimu ) . In fact, the challenge, for translators, lies in differentiating the solidarity in the contracted form of ( فاطمُ Fatimu) from the solidarity in the full form ( فاطمةُ Fatima ) through the process of translation . Since there is a morphological gap between Arabic and English regarding the form of power and solidarity . Translators can make wide use of the footnote to state what distinguishes between the reduced and non-reduced forms to bridge such a morphological gap .
Proposed Rendering : O beloved Fatimu .
The Impact of Inflectional Marker on the Power and Solidarity will be tackled in some detail as in :
يا رجلاً / يا رجلٌ ( Ya rajulun / Ya rajulan )
The inflectional marker impacts on the form of solidarity tremendously. The first form يا رجلٌ (Ya rajulun ), which occupies the nominative case, functions as a specified indefinite noun, whereas the second form ( ( يا رجلاً) Ya rajulan ), which stands in the accusative case, does the function of the unspecified indefinite noun(Ibn Malik,2004 :32 ) states that specified indefinite noun refers to one referent only, while unspecified indefinite noun indicates more than one referent .The challenge lies in English which does not include the system of inflectional marks . Here, the role of translator must be distinguished to use certain strategies to come up with the difference of inflectional systems of English and Arabic .
a.( يا رجلٌ Ya rajulun ) can be rendered into : O man .
b.( يا رجلاًYa rajulan ) can be rendered into : O Somebody .
4. Lexical density
Lexical density refers to the ratio of content words to grammatical or function words within a clause .Content words include nouns and verbs while grammatical words include items such as prepositions , pronouns and articles ( Paltridge, 2012 : 136 ) . The best way to render the lexical density formulas is to follow the strategy of explication. Mundy(2012 : 90 ) defines explicitation as implicit information in the ST is rendered explicit in the TT .
SL Example ( 1 ) : His Highness …
The above-quoted noun phrase cannot only be rendered into (سُمُو Sumu ) because this formula needs more explicit to be the formula that is widely used . The strategy of explication is the best technique for rendering the noun phrase which contains a sort of vagueness .
The Proposed Rendering :
حضرةَ صاحبِ السموِ ( Hadrat sahib al sumu )
SL Example ( 2 ) :
حضرة صاحب السعادة الدكتور ( Hadrat sahib al saadaa al diktor ) ( El-Farahaty , 2015 : 37 )
The above form of power consists of five words, i.e. including the ellipted vocative particle (يا Ya ) to become يا حضرةَ صاحبِ السعادةِ الدكتور Ya hadrat sahib al saadaa al diktor . In English, such a noun phrase can be changed into the form of lexical density to be understood properly . After that, translator can render the SL text in a more appropriate way .
The Proposed Rendering :
His Excellency Dr. …
5.Emphasis : Intensifiers of Power and Solidarity
( هناك hunak ) and ( هنالك hunalik )
( هُنَالِكَ دَعَا زَكَرِيَّا رَبَهُ ) سُورَةُ آلِ عِمْرَانَ: 38
Hunalik da6a Zakariyya rabahu
Thereover Zakariyya invoked his Lord .( Ghali , 2002 : 55 )
There is a big difference in terms of power between the two above-quoted forms .The first form ( هناك hunak ) always addresses the singular noun to include a certain degree of power while the second form is devoted for the plural form ( هنالك hunalik ) but it could also refer to a singular noun to emphasize the power .The task of translator is to give two different renderings for ( هناك) and ( هنالك) .
Proposed Renderings :
a.( هناك) can be rendered into ( there ) .
b.( هنالك) can be rendered into ( thereover ) .
( ذلك thalik ) and ( ذلكمthalikum )
( ذَلِكَ الكِتَابُ لارَيبَ فِيهِ ) سورة البقرة : 2
Thalika al kitaabu la rayba fihi
That is the Book , there is no suspicion about it .( Ghali , 2002 : 2 )
) وَلا تَسْأَمُوا أَنْ تَكْتبُوهُ صَغِيرَاً أَو كَبِيراً إِلى أَجَلِهِ ذَلِكُمْ أَقْسَطُ عِنْدَ اللهِ ) سورة البقرة : 282
Wa la tasaamu an taktibuh sagheeran ou kabeeran ila ajalih thalikum aqsatu 6nda Allah
And be not too loath to write it down , ( whether ) it is small or great , with its term . That is more equitable in the Providence of Allah . ( Ghali , 2002 : 48 )
Viewing the above-mentioned aya , one can notice that the two demonstratives (ذلكم thalikum ) and (ذلك thalik ) point out to a singular noun ,though , the first demonstrative ذلك) thalik ) is used in the singular form to show power , while the second one ( ذلكم ) took the plural form to point out to the power in a more emphatic way . English does not contain such distinction . Here , translator can make use of capitalization to tell the difference, i.e. in markedness, between the two demonstratives.
The proposed renderings of ( ذلك ) and ( ذلكم ) .
a.( ذلك ) could be rendered into : ‘ that ‘ ( unmarked )
B( ذلكم) could be rendered in capital letters : ‘ THAT ‘(marked ( ( Shuaib ,2008 : 95-96 )
سُوْرَةُ مَرْيَم : 44 ( يَا أَبَتِ لا تَعْبُدِ الشَيْطَانَ إِنَّ الشَيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلْرَحْمَانِ عَصيَّاً )
Ya abat la t6budil shaytaan inna ashaytaan kaan lilrahmaani asyaa
O my father , do not worship As-Shaytan ; surely As-Shaytan has been most disobedient to The All-Merciful .( Ghali , 2002 : 308 )
On closer inspection , one can notice that in the above underlined word ( أبتِ )the caller drops the possessive pronoun for some rhetorical purposes. The speaker attempts to call his father metaphorically .He uses the word ( أب ) and attached to it the ellipted accusative pronoun (الياء )to prove his high respect and intimacy towards his father . It is of crucial significance to point out power and the degree of affection in the kinship term ( أبتِ ) . The feelings of kindness also can be touched more in the classical Arabic form ( أَبَتِ ) than , for example ( أَبَتَاهُ) which includes a sense of lamentation . Al-Samara’ai ( 2010 , Vol.4 : 277 ) states ellipsis is rhetorically used for briefing .
The proposed renderings :
A( أبتِ ) could be rendered into : O my dear Daddy .
(قَالَ رَبَنَا الَذِيْ أَعْطَى كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَى ) سورة طه : 50
Qala rabanaa alathee a6taa kula shayin khalqahu thuma hada
He said , ” Our Lord is He Who gave everything its creation and thereafter guided ( it ) .
( Ghali , 2002 : 314 )
In such above-mentioned formula , actually the one who invocates is the prophet موسى), Mussa ) and he is a singular noun , but he utilizes the plural possessive pronoun( ( نا in the formula to show Allah’s highest power and also to express his honour through the annexed pronoun ( نا ) . He broke the normal rule ,i.e. using plural pronoun in the place of the expected singular one ( ياءُ المخاطَب ) to enrich the formula with some rhetorical purposes through such syntactic deviation .The above formula ( ربنا ) is issued from the singular lower rank ( موسى ) to the singular highest rank . On the contrary , in English , when the speaker is a singular person , it is not preferred to syntactically deviate in the formulas of ‘ My God , O Gosh ‘ since they are more widely used than the formulas of syntactic deviation such as , Our God , Our Gosh . The active act the translator is quite better to play is to pay due attention to these ranks during the act of translation . For example , the translator could insert the word ‘ own ‘ to convey a sense of intimacy .
The Proposed Rendering is as follows :
O Our Own Lord .
سورةُ طه : 14 (إِنَنِي أَنَا اللهُ )
Innanee ana Allah
Surely I , Ever I , am Allah . ( Ghali , 2002 : 313 )
It is crystal clear that the above –mentioned pronoun ( أنا ) is redundant , but it gives great emphasis of power to the whole sentence . Thus , translator needs to look for an appropriate equivalent to render this sense of power into English .Translator can make of the concept of markedness in Theme / Rheme .
Verily I am the ONE WHO is ALLah .
Theme ( marked ) Transition Rheme
This analysis relies mainly on what Ping Ke ( Ping Ke , 2019 : 155) states in the following :
In cinders slept Cinderlla
Theme ( marked ) Transition Rheme
8.Overlapping of Ranks in the Verb ( اهدنا)
سُورَةُ الفَاتِحَةِ : 6 ( اهْدِنَا الصِرَاطَ المُسْتَقِيمَ )
Ihdina al siraat al mustaqeem
Guide us ( in ) the straight Path . ( Ghali , 2002 : 1 )
Here , in the above-mentioned ayah , the verb ( اهدنا ) does not function as an imperative verb because it is issued from low rank to the highest rank . Therefore , it is suitable enough to call it an invocative verb ( فعلُ دعاءٍ ) . If the same verb ( اهدنا) issued from high rank to low one , it will be called an imperative verb . It is to be noted that both the imperative and vocative verbs express power . But when the verb (اهدنا ) is utilized between equal ranks , i.e. high to high or low to low , it shows solidarity . In English , there are certain strategies to be followed by the translator to render these meanings .( Al-Subkee , 2003 : 462 )
a. ( اهدنا ) as a vocative verb can be rendered into : May Allah guide us .
b. ( اهدنا ) as an imperative verb can be rendered into : GUIDE US .
c. ( اهدنا) as an imperative verb also can be rendered into : Guide us .
It seems that there is an overlap between ( b ) and ( c ) but one can distinguish between them through the intonation of the speaker in spoken communication or through the capital letter in written communication .
On the basis of what has been mentioned so far, some conclusions can be drawn as follows:
1.It is not always true that there is no one-to-one correspondence between the concepts of power and solidarity in Arabic and English.
2.The formulas of plurals in Arabic are more widely utilized than English to address singular persons of power, i.e. whether the power of status, or the power of knowledge.
3.Vocatives in Arabic can be used to express some semantic purposes such as abstract nearness (not only nearness in distance) which can be represented by affection, intimacy, friendship, etc. and abstract remoteness (not only remoteness in distance) such as remoteness in love or status and so on.
4.Interpreters can make more use of the intonational features of spoken interaction than translators do in recognizing the course of communication whether solidarity or power.
5.In Arabic, it is preferred to utilize diminutives to establish power and solidarity with a sense of affection and intimacy, whereas English does not tend to such usage.
6.Inflectional markers, in Arabic, plays an active part in the meaning of power and solidarity and pose a great challenge on the part of translators, since English does not contain inflectional marks.
Al-Radhee , M. ( 1996 ). Shareeh al-radhi ala al –kafiya. Bengazi: Publishings f Tunisia University .
Al-Samara’ai , F. ( 2010 ) . Ma6an Al-nahu. Jordan: Dar ulsalateen .
Al-Subkee , M. ( 2003 ) . 6roos Al- ‘fraah fi sharih talkhees al-miftah .Beirut : Shareef Al-ansaree’s Boys Co.
Al-Zayaat , A. ( 2006 ) . Tarkh al-adab al-6rabee . Beirut. Lebonan : Darul Ma’arifa .
Brown , R. and Gilman , A. ( 1960 ) . The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity . Sebeok : MIT Press .
El-Farahaty , H. ( 2015 ) . Arabic – English –Arabic Legal Translation .New York . Routledge.
Finch , G. ( 2000 ) . Linguistic Terms and Concepts. United States of America: MARTIN’S PRESS , INC.
Ghali , M. ( 2002 ). TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING THE EVER-GLORISY Egypt : Dar al-nashur Lil Jaam6aat .
Hasan , A. ( 2007 ). Al-nahu ‘al-waafee . Beirut .Lebanon : Maktabatul Muhamadee
Ibn Malik , M. ( 2004 ) . Sharih Alfiyatu Ibn Malik . Rhiayd : National Library .
Munday , J. ( 2012 ) . INTRODUCING TRANSLATION STUDIES . USA and Canada: Routledge.
Paltridge , B.( 2012 ) . Discourse Analysis . London : Bedford Square .
Pink Ke . ( 2019 ). Contrastive Linguistics. China: Springer and Peking University Press.
Shuaib , A. ( 2008 ) . M6jam al-adwaat al-nahwaya . Beirut. Lebanese and Algerian Co.
Tannen , D. and Kakava , C. ( 1992 ) . Power and Solidarity in Modern Greek Conversation: Disagreeing to Agree . From Journal of Modern Studies .