Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1598-7647
  • E-ISSN: 2451-909X
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This paper investigated contemporary journalistic English translations of Arabic Islamic terms and concepts in light of the current civil wars in the Middle East and North Africa, and the war on terror as well as Islamophobia and the refugee crisis. It studied the critical role of translation agencies in reframing and renegotiating the Islamic glossary through their own lens, which may be ideologically positioned. The paper further examined the English translations of the Arabic Islamic terms and concepts in the target texts which were published by the Washington-based advocacy group the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). The data were collected manually from MEMRI’s online archive from the years 2013 to 2016. The data selection was based on a designed search that linked (ISIS) and any of its aliases with any of the Islamic terms and concepts which are repeatedly used in media narratives within the context of the ‘war on terror’ and ‘Islamic extremism’. The study employed Baker’s (2006) narrative-informed theory and Newmark’s (1988) translation procedures taxonomy to assist in the data analysis. The findings suggested that transference (transliteration) is a significant procedure used by MEMRI in justifying, legitimizing and normalizing particular narratives to the public and that translators are decisive participants in constituting and informing the social and political reality. The findings also demonstrated that narrativity features, relationality in particular, are significant tools in reconstructing reality in translation. Through translation, MEMRI draws upon the metanarrative of the ‘war on terror’ in promoting its ideologically laden agenda of terrorist Arabs and Muslims.


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