Translator’s Ideology and Translation Choices in Political Conflict: Do Translators Have Their Say?

Translator’s Ideology, Translation Choices, Political Conflict, Palestinian- Israeli conflict


June 30, 2021


In the context of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, unfaithful translation to the ‘original’ has been a site of resistance among Arab translators against Israeli occupational practices. This paper aims at studying Arab translator’s ideology in translating conflicting identities through answering two questions: First, to what extent can the translator apply his/her own ideology in the translation without compromising ethical principles (as often determined by faithfulness and accuracy)? Second, if the translator does not find it necessary to abide by the conventional requirements of loyalty and faithfulness, then what would be the criteria of his/her ethical responsibility and whom/what is the translator accountable to? I answer these questions in the context of my translation to Dorit Rabinyan’s All the Rivers from English into Arabic set out in appendix A of my Doctoral dissertation published by ProQuest LLC (2020). Answering these questions, I argue that ideology in translating conflicting identities features the co-productive aspect of translators’ act and marks their substantial autonomy on taking their own decisions without submitting to the dictates imposed by the binary opposition between the original and the translation and the author versus translator hierarchical relationship which underpins traditional codes of ethics translators “must” abide by along the translation process. I evidence my argument through annotating my translation choices and decisions I made all the way through my translation of Rabynian’s Novel. These The findings of this annotative study verify that translators’ position is never impartial or reproductive particularly when their task is translating works laden with representations of imbalanced power relations and political tensions between two cultures to which they, translators, belong.