Topicalization in English Translation of the Holy Quran: A Comparative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Foreign languages, Islamic Azad University; Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of English Language Teaching, Islamic Azad University; North Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran


The Holy Quran, as an Arabic masterpiece, comprises great domains of syntactical, phonological, and semantic literary patterns. These patterns work as the shackle of translators. This study examined the application of the most common shift strategies in Catford‟s linguistic model for translation of topicalization in chapter 29 of the Holy Quran. The topicalized cases were compared to their counterparts in the three English renderings accomplished by Shakir, Nikayin, and Arberry. The study adopted Widdowson‟s classification based on syntactic, phonetic, and semantic features of the literary devices as the main framework and Halliday strategy for the exemplification of topicalization as the second framework. The findings of the study depict that, Arberry, Shakir and Nikayin have shown a considerably greater tendency towards employment of Category Shift than Level Shift. Among the category shifts, unit shift and Literal translation respectively enjoyed the highest frequency in the translation of topicalization. All the current translators preserved topicalization into target texts (un)intentionally. Finally, since the unit shift and literal translation proved the most frequently applied types of shifts in translation of syntactic patterns of religious texts from Arabic into English, the mentioned strategies may be considered as the part of schedule of translation workshops. Moreover, since syntactic literary devices includes parts of the meaning of source text, so translators should pay more attention to preserve this phenomenon in translation procedure.


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