Retranslation of Arabic Novels into English:The Case of Ahlam Mosteghanemi’s‘Thākiratul-Jasad’

Rania al-Waleed MustafaTamimi
رانيا وليد مصطفى التميمي
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Al-Quds University
‘The phenomenon of retranslation’ (Chesterman, 2000; Brownlie, 2006) is perceived as an old phenomenon, probably as old as the translation itself (CHOUIT, 2017, p. 181). Yet, the motives behind it remain quite unknown (Deane, 2011, p. i). One of the major hypotheses formulated to justify the act of retranslation is suggested by Antoine Berman (1990) proposing that "later translations tend to be closer to the source text" than the first translation (Chesterman, 2000, p. 23; 2004, p. 8). This move (on different levels) from flawed first translation toward an improved retranslation is referred to as the ‘RH’. This thesis investigates the validity of RH by presenting a case study of two English translations of Ahlam Mosteghanemi’s Arabic novel ‘Thākiratul-Jasad’. The novel ‘Thākiratul-Jasad’, which was originally published in Arabic in 1993 in Beirut, was first translated into English in 1999 by the American University in Cairo Press under the title ‘Memory in the Flesh’. It was retranslated later in 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing in Great Britain under the title ‘The Bridges of Constantine’. The main body of the analysis, applying methods of Product-Oriented (DTS) and concepts of Venuti’s domestication and foreignization, first examines the validity of RH at the macro-structural level (e.g. titles, covers, and prefaces, etc.) and the micro-structural level (e.g. cultural expressions, social expressions, and political expressions, etc.). The analysis then moves on to identify the nature of both translations (domesticated or foreignized) based on their closeness to the source text and link them to Algerian national identity. These findings reveal that the RH is valid to a large extent when applied to the retranslation of ‘Thākiratul-Jasad’. Additionally, they reveal that the retranslation process plays a significant role in restoring the national identity of the original that was missing or distorted in the first translation. Keywords: Retranslation, RH, national identity, domestication, foreignization.