A Comparative Study Of Martin Luther’s Bible Translation And Arberry’s Qur’an Translation

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Alzghoul, Musa A. , Alazzam, Tahani S. , Allababneh, Abdelkarim


A large number of translators have translated the Qur’an from Arabic into English. However, most of their translations fall short of carrying out the mission successfully. Most of these translations favor the rigid style and archaic vocabulary to preserve the rhythm of the source text. The main argument of this study is that Arthur Arberry’s translation of the Qur’an, The Koran Interpreted, is comparable to Luther’s translation
of the Bible in the sense that both of them target the reader of the translating language. Unlike other translators of the Qur’an, Arberry avoided the archaic language, verse structure, the rhythms of the original in favor of producing a target language text that reflects the meaning of the Qur’an in simple and direct English which makes it readable for all kinds of readers. The First Section of this paper is an introduction to the translation of sacred texts in general. The Second Section discusses Martin Luther’s Bible translation, within a short historical overview the Bible translation, and his views of the Qur’an and why he was interested in translating the Qur’an. The Third Section surveys the Qur’an translations and explains how political or sectarian affiliations may affect the interpretation of the Qur’an. This leads the study to the conclusion that the best Qur’an translation so far, according to assessments by some critics, is Arberry’s translation. Section Four is a discussion of Aberry’s translation and a comparison of his translation methodology with that of Luther. This section also includes some examples from other studies that exemplify how Arberry’s translation is readable by all because it is done with the aim of being accessible by all English language readers.

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