Translation, Culture and Controversy Lady Chatterley’s Lover into Arabic

Al-Mubarak, Amina Shaikh Ebrahim Naser (2021) Translation, Culture and Controversy Lady Chatterley’s Lover into Arabic. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis]
PDF (Thesis) - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.



The key purpose of this research study is to conduct a comparative analysis of two translations of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) by D.H. Lawrence (1885 - 1930) into Arabic. The in-depth examination will potentially help translation practitioners and students majoring in translation studies to better gain an appropriately useful understanding of how literary translation is practised across a wide range of Arab translators, with a special focus attached to the translation of potential controversies relating to sexuality, class, dialect and gender. The novel carefully chosen as a case study is rich in controversial and sensitive cultural references, making the two translations rendered by Hanna Abboud (1991) and Rehab Akkawi (2006), along with the investigative analysis carried out and the comparison drawn, a good springboard for translators to revisit and reconsider many previous translations of literary works. Given the fact that the works of D.H. Lawrence have been prolifically translated into, and researched in, other languages, the paucity or dearth of translation-related research into Arabic is glaringly noticeable. With the findings revealed, and the fitting recommendations arrived at by the current research study, it is hoped to contribute to bridging the existing gap, particularly the premise of retranslation theory posited which has almost come into play.

Against a backdrop of sociocultural, socioeconomic and socio-political milieu some years following the vicissitudes resulting from the industrial revolution, the novel represents almost the whole gamut of key controversial cultural issues and themes. With this in mind, the research study approaches the novel from a purely cultural perspective to better investigate whether, and how, such cultural specificities are reflected back in the two translations. With the Victorian moral punctiliousness yoked together with fastidiousness, Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley's Lover snowballed into the 20th Century as a loud cry, calling for freedom from the shackles of Victorian social constrains.
The research study adopts the qualitative research approach, which focuses on the data culled from the source text of the novel (English) and the two translations (Arabic) for comparative and analytical examination. Key to the research is the attention placed on how successfully or unsuccessfully the two said translators reflect textual and contextual controversial cultural themes in their translations. This includes the bi-cultural and bilingual translation of subtle nuances at the word-level, sentence-level and meaning-level. Admittedly, translating Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley's Lover is the acid test which the two translators were put through. In other words, a comparative reading of randomly selected segments and snippets of the source text and target text can assess how well the readers can sense and feel much of Lawrence-ness, or whether the two translators maintain much of the bilingual content, while they veer off the bi-cultural context, diluting or downplaying the messages loaded and couched in Lawrence-specific language and culture.

The research study also brings to focus how stylistic and aesthetic elements are maintained or watered down in translation. Equally importantly, it also compares the models of translation prescribed by translation scholars, and tests the applicability and completeness of such models and strategies of translation. It aims to provide a comparative account and an analytical critique of these translation models by providing cogent evidence, compelling justifications and telling examples taken from the two target texts.
In light of Ivir’s seven strategies, Venuti’s two-way translation dichotomy and Newmark’s two-different approaches, the findings revealed show that Abboud’s translation adopts literal translation, making it more foreignised and the translator is too much visible due to an awkward flow of the target text, taking the target language readership to D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley's Lover. Akkawi’s translation – seemingly domesticated – is unfaithful to the source text due to the many partial and total omissions and the heavily paraphrased sections and segments, as if the output is a co-authored publication. The two target texts fall short of conveying all the source text cultural controversies.

Repository Staff Only: item control page