24.350, Calls: Arabic, Translation/Morocco

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LINGUIST List: Vol-24-350. Mon Jan 21 2013. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 24.350, Calls: Arabic, Translation/Morocco

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Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 10:32:55
From: Hassane Darir [h.darir at uca.ma]
Subject: 4th International Conference on Religious Texts and Translation

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Full Title: 4th International Conference on Religious Texts and Translation 
Short Title: STTC 

Date: 05-Mar-2014 - 06-Mar-2014
Location: Marrakech, Morocco 
Contact Person: Hassane Darir
Meeting Email: h.darir at uca.ma

Linguistic Field(s): Translation 

Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard (arb)

Call Deadline: 30-Apr-2013 

Meeting Description:

Dar Al-Hadith Al-Hassania Institute, Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Rabat 
The Research Laboratory for the Holy Quran Translation, Faculty of Letters, Marrakech
Faculty of the Arabic Language, Al Qarawiyyin University, Marrakech
Organize the 4th International Conference on Religious Texts and Translation on the theme ‘Problematics of Translating Qur’anic Stories: Stylistic, Structural and Semantic Aspects’

The Almighty says:

‘We narrate to you the best of narratives in revealing this Qur’an to you, even though before it you [too] were certainly unaware’ (012:003).

He also says:

‘Verily in their narratives is a [significant] lesson for people of understanding. This [Qur’an] is not a fictitious tale but a confirmation of that which was sent before it [of earlier divine Books], a detailing of everything, and guidance and a blessing for those who believe’ (012:111).

There is no doubt that stories constitute a prestigious and ancient art in that they enable the narrator to transmit a narrative, be it real or imaginary, spoken or written and get the emotional involvement of the reader or listener. Irrespective of the diversity of their cultures, different nations produced narratives. Such narratives, however, are different in their aesthetic values and text manifestations.

The subject of Qur’anic stories has been investigated by specialists in the field of Qur’anic sciences as well as orientalists as part of their general interest in the field of Qur’anic studies, which includes the Holy Quran and its Sciences. It has also been explored by researchers in the field of literature, who attempted to extract characteristics of Qur’anic stories in the light of concepts from narratology and reflect on ways of rebuilding such concepts. Despite all these efforts, there are still obstacles due to the fact that Qur’anic stories have not always been investigated as a genre, the fact that they overlap with other narrative types in the Arabic literature and the fact that Qur’anic language requires contextual and extra-contextual considerations.

Themes of the conference focus on narratives as an essential component of many chapters in the Quran and as an effective discourse mechanism advocated by Islam unlike its stance on poetry. The conference addresses important issues such as: How do we translate narratives that are scattered throughout the Quran? What is the role of argumentation in Qur’anic dialogues? What are the temporal and spatial features Qur’anic narratives and how are they structured? What are the characteristics of Qur’anic characters and what are their roles? Should we limit ourselves in the translation of Qur’anic stories to the evident text or should we resort to interpretation and exegesis? What are the pros and cons of alternative decisions in the translation process? What are the difficulties that result from its translation? In a nutshell, how do we translate this divine text, which is inimitable in its eloquence and Arabic language and at the same time preserve its impact when transmitting it to the receiver? 

We hope that this conference will enable us to broaden our understanding of Qur’anic stories and advance us on the way of overcoming some of the problems faced by translators.

Call for Papers:

In our opinion, this interest in Qur’anic stories stems from several factors, which can be summed up in the following:

First: Stories - as informative texts - occupy a significant portion of the Holy Qur’an just like other purposes such as commands, prohibitions, argumentation, preachment, parables and the like.

Second: Qur’anic stories serve multiple purposes: some of these are general; others are unique, such as revealing the divine historical origin of religious messages.

Third: A Qur’anic story is characterized by its technical aspects especially in its stylistic and rhetorical structure. It embodies intensive and structured narrative mechanisms, and a qualitative use of spatial and temporal contexts beyond the capacity of human beings. Awareness of all of this necessitates its integration within the common perceptions about art and literature.

Fourth: The Qur’anic story has a historical dimension and contributes moral lessons related to the subject of the origin of man, and his presence on earth.

If these features characterizing Qur’anic stories make them appealing to the linguist and literary writer alike, what could be said about the translator? What theoretical models and practical mechanisms could be used to transfer the Qur’anic story to other languages?

The translator’s interest in Qur’anic stories stems from various dimensions:

First: Since the Qur’anic text is related to a specific cultural, historical and religious background, its transfer from Arabic into other languages raises great difficulties and challenges. Maintaining the references of the translated text and understanding the context with which it is associated occupies a high priority in the translation act. It is impossible to translate Islamic texts in the absence of an Islamic awareness. Furthermore, given the close relationship between translation and interpretation, the translator is required to fully grasp the meanings of the text to be translated, and consider the contexts and requirements of the target language lest there be confusion and misunderstanding, especially when it comes to the inimitable Qur’anic text.

Second: Qur’anic stories present all the stylistic features peculiar to the Qur’anic text such as brevity, rhetorical figures and repetition, all of which represent a real challenge to the translator. The translation act is already complex but it is even more so when it comes to the Qur’anic text, which could cause loss of purposes, distortion of meaning and form.

Third: Qur’anic stories constitute an independent literary genre unlike novels and short stories. Irrespective of differences of culture, the latter genres tend to be similar for all nations as far as techniques are concerned, which makes their translation relatively easy. The peculiarities of Qur’anic stories make them particularly difficult to translate given the differences in readers expectations.

Fourth: Many names and events can be found in the Holy Qur’an and in other Scriptures. The believer finds in this evidence and confirmation of the same divine origin. The non-believer interprets this with suspicion. All this raises questions like: how do we translate proper names in the Quran? Are contextual clues to be provided for the benefit of the target language reader or does the supply of such contextual clues contradict the Qur’an as a timeless and place-free text?

Generally, when approaching the Qur’anic text, it is helpful to bear in mind that the text is miraculous in its language and the arguments that it provides to prove its divine origin. It remains, nonetheless, open to interpretation and addresses people of different cultures, races and colors, which proves that there is something else to it in addition to its rhetorical inimitability and the uniqueness of its narratives.

Some of the proposed themes:

- Methodological problems in translating Qur’anic stories
- Semantic problems in translating Qur’anic stories
- Stylistic problems in translating Qur’anic stories
 -Time of the Qur’anic text / time of the corresponding translated text: conflict of identities
- Qur’anic stories: editing and re-translation
- Qur’anic narratives: technical components, rhetorical strategies and problematics of translation
- Narrative components of Qur’anic stories: repetition, argumentation, history, the unseen and problematics of translation
- Translators perspectives in generating parallel texts to the original
- The role of technology in visually accompanying the translated text
- Translating Qur’anic stories: loss and gain
- Conciseness and repetition in Qur’anic stories and the challenges of translation
- Narrative discourse in the Quran: its importance, its aims and ways of preserving it in the target language
- Specificity of the character and narrator in Qur’anic stories
- Aesthetics of Qur’anic stories between the original language and the target language
- Aspects of inimitability in Qur’anic stories

The conference papers can be presented in three languages, viz. Arabic, English and French.


The paper should be original and should go beyond merely criticisizing previous Quran translations. Models and theories should be explored.

The paper must have a sound methodology reflecting the features of real scientific research.

The abstract should be 300-500 words on A 4 size paper, double spaced on MS-Word and sent as an attachment. 

The paper must be 15 up to 20 pages of A4 format in MS-Word format using Times New Romans size 12 in text and size 10 in the margins.

Notes referred to in the text should be typed in the same font and numbered consecutively.

Use The APA documentation style throughout the paper with parenthetical in-text citations (the author’s last name, the date of publication, and where relevant the page number from which material is borrowed) instead of endnotes and footnotes and use references for the list of all sources at the end of the paper. The use of op. cit. is to be avoided. All quoted material should have full location reference. 

For those who opt to transliterate Arabic words, a standardized transliteration system is to be followed such as the one adopted by the Library of Congress and the American Library Association (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/arabic.pdf).

Once a paper is accepted, a summary of the proposed paper exposing key ideas, conclusions and recommendations should be submitted for presentation during the conference sessions.


The organizing committee will provide full-board accommodation during the conference period.

The time allotted for presentations in the conference: 15-20 minutes

The New Books Universe for publishing and distribution in Irbid - Jordany (managed by Bilal Aabidat) will be in charge of publishing the conference papers of which copies will be distributed during the conference.

Important Dates:

The abstract, participation form and CV must be submitted no later than 30/04/2013.
Confirmation of abstracts/ acceptance of topics: 15/05/2013
The deadline for the submission of the whole paper is 30/09/2013.
Final selection of papers by the Academic Committee: 30/10/2013
The conference will be held in March, 05-06, 2014.

Abstracts and completed research papers should be sent to Dr. Hassane Darir to the following email: 

qurantranslation at hotmail.fr

Participation Form:

First Name:
Family Name:
Home Address:
Fax / Telephone:

I would like to attend the conference / I would like to participate in the conference with a paper.

Title of Paper:

A Short Bio:

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