The Translation of Modern English Poetry into Arabic: Treating the Idiosyncrasies of Content and Form

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جرّاد, سماح عبد الحكيم فريد
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An-Najah National University
The difference of modern poetry from other poetic movements in English has made it the central focus of many researchers and scholars leading many of them to write about the ‘distinction’ of this type of literature. This study tackles the translation issue of modern poetry in view of the idiosyncrasies of content and form. The study investigates the issue of foregrounding following Leech’s (1969) linguistic deviation theory with special focus on lexical, grammatical and semantic deviations with the assumption that the idiosyncrasies in the language of modern poetry are a result of the distrust modern writers demonstrate of the ability of language to convey meanings and the lack of communication that mars the modern realities. Leech’s model is further refined by adding paralinguistic deviations to the basket of idiosyncrasies of modern poetry with special emphasis on the graphological features of text shape, letter case and punctuation. Through examining the various examples, one could infer that some translators who were sensitive to the importance of these deviations opted for retaining them often by utilizing compensatory methods since it is difficult to replicate the exact same idiosyncrasies, especially in a language that belongs to a different family and does not have much in common with English, while others were heedless of the implications of these deviations and decided to change them, or to translate them in harmony with their reading and Arabic language structure and norms. Nonetheless, the researcher claims that there is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ translation; there is always a better translation or a translation that is closer to the source text. Each translation offers a different reading of a translated text that is influenced by the translator’s metaphysics of presence and by his/her spatiotemporal realities. The study concludes that these deviations are essential in augmenting the texts’ meaning potential and obviating the fallacious notion of a ‘transcendental signified’ in addition to being a fundamental aspect in the formulation of a comprehensive reading of any modern poetic text, thusly making faithfulness in translating modern works imperative since any deviation from its modes of expression will blur the map of this forceful trend in the history of poetic evolution.