Translation as 'Trans- Sica' and 'False Compare': Preserving the Future 'Afterlife' of Contrastive Literature

Mounir Ben Zid


It is a common practice for translators to make deletions or additions in a literary work due to personal cultural bias or to avoid embarrassing their countrymen with immoral or obscene images and ideas. This paper questions the role of translation as a critical approach and decries this source text “improvement” as a mistranslation and silencing of the authorial voice. An incorrect translation, rather than being a means of bringing two cultures together, does a disservice to comparative studies and harm to the author and his cultural idiosyncrasies. In addressing distortions arising from cultural and moral bias in Arab translations of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, the paper discusses how Bakri Al- Azzam introduced an oriental undertone, silenced Shakespeare's voice, changed the speaker's gender, and transformed Shakespeare into an Arab classic poet—all to align the sonnet with the cultural outlook of Arabs at the expense of Shakespeare's identity, culture, and Western aesthetics.

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International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

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