Complications of Translating the Meanings of the Holy Qur’an at Word Level in the English Language in Relation to Frame Semantic Theory

Asjad Ahmed Saeed Balla, Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek


The present study is an attempt to investigate the problems resulting from the lexical choice in the translation of the Holy Qur’an to emphasize the importance of the theory of “Frame Semantics” in the translation process. It has been conducted with the aim of measuring the difference in concept between the two languages Arabic and English. In order to find out this difference two words have been chosen from the Qur’an to see how the different English frames can affect the translation of the Holy Qur’an. In addition to that the paper aims to reveal the strategies used by translators to avoid such effect.  We also intended to see which factors that can mostly affect the translation of the Qur’an: the linguistic background or the cultural knowledge. Four hypotheses were coined to deal with the difference in frame knowledge (conception) between Arabic and English. The analysis of the data showed that the linguistic background contributed more to the translators’ ability than the cultural knowledge. A rank ordering for the five translations performed in the present study resulted in that the first rank (completely appropriate) was assigned to Yusuf Ali’s translation and the second position was booked by Pickhall’s translation.


Quran, Islam, translation, lexical choice. Cultural background, linguistic background

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