Monash University

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The contemporary Saudi novel in english translation: four case studies

posted on 2017-02-06, 03:18 authored by Al-Ghamedi, Najiah Abdulkarim
This thesis examines the contemporary Saudi novel in English translation. Three Saudi authors whose novels have been translated into English are offered as case studies to explore various issues related to the process of transferring the novels from their originating culture to English-speaking readers. The Saudi authors: Turki Al-Hamad, Yousef Al-Mohaimeed and Raja Al-Sanea are characterised as liberal authors in the Saudi literary scene. Their novels were banned in Saudi Arabia because they do not conform to the dominant social discourse. Yet, their novels were translated into English thus gaining wider readership in different cultures. The novels are translated by four translators who come from various professional backgrounds, which are described as “academic” and “professional” respectively. This thesis argues that translators with academic background and experience in teaching translation are more inclined to explain and add to the translation in order to make the translated novels clearer to target readers. On the other hand, translators with a professional background who translate for commercial publishers are more inclined to domesticate and to comply with target culture literary conventions in order to make the translated novel appear as if it is written originally in the target language; thus offering an easy and entertaining read for target readers. Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of habitus is utilised to investigate the different roles translators assume as they approach their translation projects. The analysis of translations is divided into two levels: macro and micro. The macro level involves analysis of paratextual features such as covers, blurbs and reviews. The microlevel comprises the textual analysis of translation strategies employed to render intertextual features such as religious allusions and quotations, in addition to cultural intertexts in names and proverbs. The mediation of place and the different ways in which notions of place are rendered from Arabic into English are also explored.


Principal supervisor

Rita Wilson

Additional supervisor 1

Brian Nelson

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Languages, Cultures and Linguistics


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts

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