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Translatological Remarks on Rendering the Qur’an into Latin (Robert of Ketton, Mark of Toledo and Egidio da Viterbo): Purposes, Theory, and Techniques

José Luis Alexis Rivera Luque


This paper presents a preliminary approach toward a modern transla tological analysis of the first three full translations of the Qur’an: the ones by Robert of Ketton (1142-1143), Mark of Toledo (1210), and the version translated by Juan Gabriel de Teruel (1518) and corrected by Leo Africanus (1525) for the cardinal Egidio da Viterbo. Our analysis, in accord mostly with functionalist translation theories (see Nord, 2005; 2018), describes and comments on three phases of the translation process: (1) identification of the purpose of the translation and the problems to overcome in order to provide a proper rendering of the text; (2) formulation of a translating theory that serves as a general approach for translating the text; (3) choice and application of translation procedures. This approach toward the analysis of these aspects of the aforementioned translations of the Qur’an is an effort to account for the relative lack of attention that has been paid to the systematic analysis of the actual procedures by which these renderings were produced. A main point of contention of our analysis is that, while it would be misleading to state that the quality of the translations increases over time (for the quality fluctuates from fragment to fragment), nevertheless it is quite possible to assert that the overall zeal for fidelity seems to increase over time, meaning that the more the time passes, the more the translators feel compelled to preserve more features of the text.

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