The Violence of Translation in the Arab World: A Sociological Perspective


AbstractThe present article examines the role of an aspect of translation in the Arab World. It hypothesises that translation can engage in violence against the other group. This engagement is the result of the translation ‘habitus’ that translators accumulate. To check the validity of such assumption, the live simultaneous interpreting of two presidential speeches by Barack Obama broadcasted by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia were scrutinized. Attempts were made to find interventions that are deployed to ‘reframe’ the source text. It has been found that there are motivated deletions, additions, and substitutions that composed certain patterns. A close reading of these patterns showed that they contribute to two kinds of violence: sectarian and political. Therefore, much needs to be done, such as the design of intensive training programmes and the establishment of independent monitoring institutions, in order to lessen translators’ involvement in sectarian and political conflicts.