A Qualitative Probe Into the Translations of Hyperbole in the Qur’anic Verse 7:40

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Mahsa Raeisi Sattrai, Dr. Hojjat Modarresi, Dr. Mohammad Yazdani


The language of the Qur’an is highly eloquent while being at the same time rich in rhetorical devices and figures of speech including exaggeration and hyper bole, metonyms, metaphors, similes and idioms. Presence of such aesthetic qualities has been considered to be one of the amazing aspects of this holy book of Muslims.

Although throughout history, many knowledgeable Muslim scholars have accomplished prolific productions concerning the translation and equivalents of idioms in the Qur’an, still we face obscurities and conflicting views as to how to understand and convey the sheer message of the Qur’an.

Through the study of the Qur’an, we recognize that on the one hand it includes a restricted range of vocabularies which makes it simple enough to read and understand while on the other hand its huge number of complex idioms demand close attention.  When it comes to the translation of such figures of speech, different translators opt for various ways of translating and elaborating both the content and the form of the word.

 This article aimed to investigate various interpretations and English translations suggested for a purposefully selected idiom from the Glorious Qur’an, which contains a distinguished hyperbole. It also explored different methods of translating Qur’anic idioms into Persian and English. For this reason, the translations of nineteen prominent translators and also the translations of the similar Biblical verse have been compared and contrasted.

The theoretical framework underpinning this study has encompassed the view of Friedrich Schleiermacher; on the basis of his translation strategies, the article has distinguished two approaches of translations for the verse (7:40): 1. An alienating method of translation, in which the values of the source text i.e., the Qur’an are appreciated and its culture and concept are imported into the target language. 2. A naturalizing method of translation, which is reader-focused and so the translation sounds comprehensible for today’s readers through naturalization.

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