Syntactic & Semantic Deviations in the Qur’anic Discourse: A Critical: Study in Two Classical English Translations

Abstract

Qur’an is highly multifaceted not only because of its syntactic deviations but also because of its semantic choices and has therefore always been exceedingly problematic to translate. For though the Qur’an is often described as “an Arabic recitation,” a great majority of Muslim and non-Muslim translators face a great difficulty in understanding and translating its verses believing that its language is not of this world or does not belong to a specific human being. Still, some translators have internally or externally motivated deviations in its meanings and in its syntactic mechanism when rendering some of its verses. This article teases out such syntactic and semantic shifts and reinforces this argument with examples from two classical translations of the Qur’an: Arberry and Hilali and Khan. The aim is to further examine and find out how the lexical and semantic choices of the two translators manipulate the original text of the Qur’an. The findings reveal that the use of different syntactic and semantic choices of the two translators has changed the ideological stance of the Qur’an. This paper is expected to contribute to both Qur’an translation studies and religious translation.