This post addresses the following question. Within the same verse or the same context
, and assuming that the meaning is reasonably preserved,
1. Should we make it a point to translate the same Arabic word into the same English word?
2. Should we make it a point to translate different Arabic words into different English words?
I guess some examples are due. An example of the same word that gets translated into different words is in
The Arabic word "nafs
" appears in two forms in the verse, separated only by one word, and "my nafs
" gets translated into "myself" while "the nafs
" gets translated into "the soul." Legitimate translation, I concede, but the question is should we at least try
to find the same word in situations like this?
An example of different words that can possibly be translated into the same word is in 82:2-4. The word "scatter" was used in the translation of two different words in 82:2 and 82:4
Although technically "scatter" is two different words here (one intransitive, and one transitive), the use of it to translate two patently different Arabic words may convey a correlation between the two in the English translation that is not there in the Arabic text. This led to a deliberate search for a different word in this post
A related question is what are the rules for translating the same word when it appears in different verses or different contexts, assuming that the meaning in those instances is reasonably similar.