Debate in Translating Nouns in the Holy Quran

Islam Al Momani, Nibal Malkawi, Mona Smadi, Raed Khasawneh


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the semantic issues and problems related to nouns that some translators in their translation of the Holy Quran, couldn't translate it successfully such as Abdullah Yusuf and Souleymane Kanté. Although they did a great effort and their translation is successful but they fail to convey the meaning to some nouns. The researcher tried to introduce some suggestions to improve translation of nouns in the Holy Quran by explaining some of these issues, and not to undermine these translations.

As the terminology of the Quran reflects the history of the rise of a monotheistic religion in Arabia, the terminology of its translation into Maninka reflects the long history of islamization of the Manding-speaking peoples, Souleymane Kanté's translation as an example.  On the other hand, some Arabic translations to English are also available, Abdullah Yusuf's translation as an example.

The researcher investigated troubles these two translators face in translating the Holy Quran by providing some examples. It was clear that Yusufs' translation based on finding equivalent of nouns of the Quran in the target culture which is not always available, while Kante's translation based on that there are many words in the target language which can stand for any noun in the Holy Quran.

The researcher concludes that Kante's translation is better and more professional because languages develops and translators must always find equivalent words in the target culture to convey the meaning they are seeking to explain.  

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