Intercultural relations between Arabs and Israeli Jews as reflected in Arabic translations of modern Hebrew literature

Mahmoud Kayyal

Abstract

Contacts between Arabic and Israeli Hebrew cultures have taken place in the shadow of a prolonged and violent political conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. The intercultural dialogue between them has, therefore, been antagonistic, polemical, and fraught with stereotypes and prejudices. This antagonistic dialogue is also reflected in Hebrew–Arabic translation activity, since the elements involved in this activity and the considerations which guided them both before and in the course of the translation were, first and foremost, political. The translations themselves were not accepted as literary creations, but rather as documents reflecting the culture of the other. Neither the presence of an ethnic Arab minority in Israel nor the peace agreements between Israel and certain Arab states brought about any significant change in the nature of translation activity. Clearly, therefore, in a state of violent national conflict translation activity will produce translations whose purpose is ideological rather than literary.

Keywords
Table of contents

In this paper I shall attempt to trace the influence of intercultural contacts between Jews and Arabs on the translation of Modern Hebrew literature into Arabic. My basic assumption is that in a situation of violent national conflict, antagonistic dialogue, with its implications for the character of translation activity between the two parties, will increase: in effect, translation activity will cease to be a vehicle for fruitful intercultural dialogue, and will become an arena [ p. 54 ]of struggle between political and ideological viewpoints. The considerations of translators, editors and publishers in the selection, translation and publication of literary works will no longer be purely literary; they will be primarily political and ideological, whether the purpose of the translation is to advance the cause of peace and understanding between the peoples concerned, or whether it is to “know one’s enemy”. Ideological considerations will also influence the translator in the course of the translation process. Thus, the integrity of the translated text, the stylistic level of its language, the degree to which the source language is introduced into the translated text and so forth will, in the main, express the ideology under whose influence the translators work.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Amara, Muhammad Hasan
1999Politics and sociolinguistic reflexes: Palestinian border villages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Amit-Kochavi, Hannah
1999Tirgum sifrut caravit le-civrit: ha-reqac ha-hisṭori-tarbuti šelahem, me’afyenehem u-macmadam be-tarbut ha-maṭara [Translations of Arabic literature into Hebrew: Their historical and cultural background and their reception by the target culture]. Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University. [Unpublished PhD dissertation. Hebrew.]Google Scholar
Bahī, cIṣām
1986al-Šakhṣīyah al-širrīrah fī al-adab al-masraḥī [The evil character in dramatic literature]. Cairo: al-Haī’ah al-Miṣrīyah al-cāmah lil-Kitāb. [Arabic]Google Scholar
al-Baḥrāwī, Ibrahim
1977al-Adab al-sihīūnī baīn harbīn: huzayrān 1967 wa-tišrīn 1973 [Zionist literature between two wars: June 1967 and October 1973]. Beirut: al-Mu’asasah al-cArabīyah lil-Dirāsāt wal-Našr. [Arabic]Google Scholar
[ p. 67 ]
1994al-Thaqāfah al-carabīyah wa-thaqāfat al-sirāc al-isrāe’īlīyah [Arabic culture and the Israeli conflict culture]. Cairo: Dār al-Zahrā’. [Arabic]Google Scholar
Ben Dor, Israel
1981 “Tirgum ‘Ahavat Tsiyyon’ le-caravit le-rabbi Salīm (Šalom) al-Dāwūdī z”l be-sof ha-me’ah ha-qodemet” [The translation of Ahavat Tsiyyon into Arabic by Salīm (Šalom) al-Dāwūdī at the end of the 19th century]. Ba-macrakhah 21:250. 26–27. [Hebrew]Google Scholar
Darwīš, Maḥ mūd
1979Yaūmīāt al-ḥuzn al-cādī [Diaries of the usual sadness]. Akko: alAswār. [Arabic]Google Scholar
Ghanāīym, Muḥammad Ḥamzah
1997 “Asṭuḥ thaqāfīyah sākhinah” [Hot cultural roofs]. al-Karmil (Ramallah) 50. 246–250. [Arabic]Google Scholar
Goitein, Shelomo Dov
1974Jews and Arabs: Their contacts through the ages. New York: Schocken Books.Google Scholar
Ḥijāzī, Aḥmad
1995 “Thaqāfat ummah... am thaqāfat afrād?” [Culture of nation... or culture of individuals?]. Ibdāc 12:1. 4–5. [Arabic]Google Scholar
Horowitz, Donald L.
1985Ethnic groups in conflict. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Jacquemond, Richard
1992 “Translation and cultural hegemony: The case of French–Arabic translation”. Lawrence Venuti, ed. Rethinking translation: Discourse, subjectivity, ideology. London and New York: Routledge 1992 139–158.Google Scholar
Kayyal, Mahmoud
2000Normot šel tirgum ba-tirgumim min ha-sifrut ha-civrit ha-ḥadašah la-safah ha-caravit ben ha-šanim 1948–1990 [Translational norms in the translations of modern Hebrew literature into Arabic 1948–1990]. Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University. [Unpublished PhD dissertation. Hebrew.]Google Scholar
Landau, Yakov
1993Ha-micuṭha-caravi be-Yisra’el 1967–1991, hebeṭim poliṭiyim [The Arabic minority in Israel 1967–1991: Political aspects]. Tel-Aviv: Am Oved. [Hebrew]Google Scholar
Lefevere, André
1981 “Translated literature: Towards an integrated theory”. Bulletin: Midwest MLA 14:1. 68–78.Google Scholar
Mazcal, Ghānim
1985al-Šakhs»īyah al-carabīyah fī al-adab al-cebrī al-ḥadīth [The character of the Arab in modern Hebrew literature]. Akko: al-Aswār. [Arabic]Google Scholar
Morris, Benny
1999Righteous victims: A history of the Zionist–Arab conflict, 1881–1999. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
Ramraz-Raukh, Gilah
1989The Arab in Israeli literature. Indiana: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Robinson, Abraham
1998 “Israeli market needs for Arabic translations”. Meta 43:1. 95–97.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Said, Edward
1992The question of Palestine. New York: Vintage books.Google Scholar
Shaked, Gershon
1998Ha-Siporet ha-civrit 1880–1980 V: be-harbeh ešnabim be-knisot tsdadiyyot [Hebrew narrative fiction 1880–1980 V]. [Tel-Aviv]: Ha-Kibbutz ha-Meuchad and Keter. [Hebrew]Google Scholar
Šammas, Anṭūn
1985 “cal yamin u-smol ba-tirgum” [On right and left in translation]. citon 77 64–65. 18–19. [Hebrew]Google Scholar
Shohamy, Elana and Smdar Donitsa-Schmidt
1998Jews vs. Arabs: Language attitudes and stereotypes. Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University, The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research.Google Scholar
Snir, Reuven
1990 “‘Petsac eḥad mi-ptsacav’: ha-sifrut ha-caravit ha-falesṭinit be-Yisra’el” [One of his wounds: Arabic Palestinian literature in Israel]. Alpayim 2. 244–268. [Hebrew]Google Scholar
[ p. 68 ]
1991 “‘We were like those who dream’: Iraqi–Jewish writers in Israel in the 1950’s”. Prooftexts 11. 153–173.Google Scholar
1995 “‘Hebrew as the language of grace’: Arab–Palestinian writers in Hebrew”. Prooftexts 15. 163–183.Google Scholar
Somekh, Sasson
1989 “Cold, tall buildings: The Jewish neighbor in the works of Arab authors”. The Jerusalem quarterly 52. 111–125.Google Scholar
1998 “Nirmul cim mah še-eno normali: tarbutah šel Yisra’el be-cenayim mitsriyyot” [Normalization with the abnormal: Israeli culture in Egyptian eyes]. Alpayim 16. 158–177. [Hebrew]Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1985 “Aspects of translating into minority languages from the point of view of Translation Studies”. Multilingua 4:1. 3–10.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
1993 “‘Translation of literary texts’ vs. ‘literary translation’: A distinction reconsidered”. Sonja Tirkkonen-Condit and John Laffling, eds. Recent trends in empirical translation research. Joensuu: University of Joensuu, Faculty of Arts 1993 10–23.Google Scholar
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and beyond. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Usṭah, cādil
1993al-Adīb al-Filasṭīnī wal-adab al-sihīūnī [The Palestinian author and Zionist literature]. Bāqah al-Gharbīyah: Manšūrāt Šams. [Arabic]Google Scholar