Friday, March 30, 2007

Can someone who doesn't speak Arabic be trusted with the task of *translating* the Quran?

New Translation Prompts Debate ...
excerpts from an article on what is being erroneously touted as 'the first translation of the meanings of the Quran by a woman' in The New York Times.
Laleh Bakhtiar had already spent two years working on an English translation of the Koran when she came upon Chapter 4, Verse 34.Ms. Bakhtiar spent three months translating a verse that addresses treatment of a rebellious woman. She nearly dropped the project right then.
The hotly debated verse states that a rebellious woman should first be admonished, then abandoned in bed, and ultimately “beaten” — the most common translation for the Arabic word “daraba” — unless her behavior improves.
“I decided it either has to have a different meaning, or I can’t keep translating,” said Ms. Bakhtiar, an Iranian-American who adopted her father’s Islamic faith as an adult and had not dwelled on the verse before
When she reached the problematic verse, Ms. Bakhtiar spent the next three months on “daraba.” She does not speak Arabic, but she learned to read the holy texts in Arabic while studying and working as a translator in Iran in the 1970s and ’80s.
well said: SunniSister's analysis: Saved by Bakhtiar

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