The Influence of Translators’ Cultural Backgrounds on their Performance: Translation of the Quran as a Case-study

Translation, The Quran, Culture, Ideology, Manipulation and influence.


August 14, 2022


It is in the nature of central religious scriptures to be open to endless interpretations and to be utilised to justify all shades of opinion. The Quran, in this regard, is no exception. In order to cope with the progress of time and avoid place constraints, the Quranic text relies on the technique of generality. Unfortunately, this generality has left the door open for different interpretations, some correct but many wrong, which in turn leads to extremist groups twisting the Quranic text to suit their own beliefs and attitudes, especially since the openness and comprehensiveness of Quranic wording give translators the chance to interpret the same Quranic passage differently and, hence, sometimes to ideologically manipulate the text in a way that suits their misguided beliefs. This paper deals with Quranic discourse according to translators' cultural profiles and their intentions when translating the Quran, in terms of whether those dealing with such an authoritative text remain invisible (as required) or whether they have fallen victim to the influence of their cultural ideologies. In a larger context, it will focus on translators’ variables, such as the degree of professionalism (loyalty in particular) employed from a cultural perspective; religious background, and ideological attitudes, in order to discover to what extent the cultural background of translators, in terms of whether their religious background has influenced their translational works. This hypothesis is based on the view of Lefevere's (1992: 15) patronage patterns issue and his ideas on ideology. Of particular relevance to this study are the constraints of translators’ cultural backgrounds and hence their ideologies, i.e., the translators’ personal set of values and attitudes.