Publication details [#11007]

al-Khafaji, Rasoul. 2006. In search of translational norms: the case of shifts in lexical repetition in Arabic-English translations. Babel 52 (1) : 39–65.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Journal DOI


The paper is an attempt, guided by the principles of Descriptive Translation Studies, to ‘detect’ and ‘describe’ the various types of shifts, in the area of lexical repetition, which have occurred in an Arabic–English translation. The study also tries to ‘explain’ the underlying factors which may have prompted the various decision-making processes behind these translation shifts. It is postulated that any translation product represents an intertext which carries the ‘finger-prints’ of the norms of its SL and culture. Moreover, translation as a retextualizing process is bound to be directed by the norms of the TL and its culture. The two poles of SL ‘adequacy’ norms and TL ‘acceptability’ norms have thus been at the background during the description, taxonomy, and explanation of the various types of shifts in lexical repetition detected in the study corpus. Different instances of shifts have been found to fall under three main categories: (a) Shifts which avoid or minimize lexical repetition; (b) Shifts which announce repetition by retaining it, though with some modifications; and © Shifts which emphasize lexical repetition by expanding it. Most shifts, it has been found, belong to the first category. A lengthy discussion of the possible causes which could have motivated the translator to perform these various shifts has come to the conclusion that the textual and cultural norms of the TL seem to play the major role in the operation. In order to ascertain that the above conclusion is not attributable to the ‘hegemony’ of the TL (English), nor to the individual translator or to the type of text being analyzed, a number of follow-up studies is proposed at the end.
Source : Abstract in journal