Translating Polysems in the Noble Qur’an: A Comparative Morpho-Semantic Analysis of 21st Century Translation


    Translating the Noble Qur’an into other languages requires a lot of effort by translators, and one major semantic phenomenon that requires even greater effort to translate is polysemy, due to the multiple meanings involved. Different translators render Qur’anic polysemy differently in an attempt to capture the specific meaning of the polysemous term. A few researches on translating Qur’anic polysemy have been conducted on selected polysemous words about some well-known translations like those of Yusuf Ali, Muhsin Khan & Hilali, J. Arberry, and Emily Assami, Marry Kennedy & Amatullah Bantley etc. This study focuses on the translation of a Qur’anic polysemy of the word “rijs” in four translations of the 21st century. The aim is to examine the selected translations and compare them to determine how each of them succeeds in capturing the specific meaning of the source text, or to what extent each translation attempts to avoid meaning loss in translating the investigated. The comparison is based on the interpretations of three famous commentators; Al-Qurtubi (2006), Ibn Kathir (1997) and At-Tabari (2001). The study applies the Qualitative Comparative Analysis approach in analyzing the four translations. The findings of the study reveal that translating Qur’anic polysemy is a difficult task and that all the selected translators are aware of that fact. It also reveals that in some instances, the translations succeed in conforming to the target meaning of either of the selected interpretations and that in most cases where specific meaning is not determined, the translations resort to the primary meaning of the lexeme under study. 

    Keywords: Polysemy; Lexeme; Rendition; Morpho-semantic; Qur’an translation


    author/Aliyu Okuta Ahmad

    journal/Tasambo JLLC | 15 June 2023 |  P. 11-21