Translation Quality from Systemic Functional Perspective:
The Case of Ideational Meta-Functions in Quranic Translated Samples
Divine and aesthetic properties of the Holy Quran and intricate systems of Arabic syntax, orthography, and semantics have rendered Quranic translation a formidable task. Due to these properties of the Quranic language, the customary translation assessment frameworks fail to accurately depict the syntactic and semantic inadequacies of the Quranic translation. Therefore, the current research was an innovative attempt to draw out an analytical framework from systemic functional linguistics and examine some hidden systemic losses in English translations of the Holy Quran. To include both local/non-native and foreign/near-native views of the Quranic translation, Qaraei and Yusuf-Ali’s translations of the chapter Joseph were investigated comparatively wherein the transfer of ideational meta-functions of the Arabic text was examined. Narrative nature of the chapter and preserved local coherence of events- that permitted tracing ideas and systemic processes in the text - served as the main logic behind its selection. The analyses of 111 verses of the chapter revealed that in some behavioral, material, mental, existential, and relational processes of ideational meta-functions, one or both of the translations suffer from syntactic or semantic losses due to inappropriate or missed lexical and grammatical choices. In many cases, the meta-functions of the Arabic text were adequately conveyed in English. Since most of these systemic errors are not revealed by current translation assessment frameworks, these findings have theoretical and practical implications for language instructors, researchers, translators, and applied linguists.
Keywords:Functional Linguistics, Ideation, Meta-functions, The Quran, Translation Adequacy
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Copyright (c) 2023 Sajjad Farrokhipour
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Copyright Licensee: Iranian Journal of Translation Studies. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0 license).