I am a Salafī resident in Italy and I know both Italian and English and now I am studying in a high school of linguistics (first year) (languages: English, French and German) and as such I am mastering English. Can I translate Islamic articles, treatises and books from English to Italian? Can you summarise some essential qualities a Salafi translator must have and offer some pieces of advise in this regard? When is an individual qualified to translate and what are requirements? May Allah bless you!
Jazāk Allāhu khayran, this is a question oft asked. For that reason, we will make a forum response for future references. Over the years, we have received many enquiries regarding translation. Many people are fluent in a Latin-based languages in addition to English and wish to translate articles or audios on troid.ca. Many years ago, we directed this frequently received enquiry to the noble scholar of al-Madīnah, Shaykh 'Ubayd al-Jābirī, who informed us that a translator must:
1. Be fluent in Arabic (assuming the source language is Arabic)
2. Be fluent in the conveyed language (i.e. English, French etc.)
3. Have fiqh (meaning that he/she is a student of knowledge who understands the context of sharī'ah terminology and its implications and historical usage etc.)
These were the conditions explained by Shaykh 'Ubayd, may Allāh preserve him.
This guidance was sought approximately 10 years ago, due to our shortcomings, we did not publish it (as it was a one-off question, not a QA session or lecture, also it was not recorded).
So in the case that the given article, book or audio is Arabic in its original source, we discourage translators from translating from other than the source (as Shaykh 'Ubayd advised). The reason for this being, as experienced translators will note, much is lost in the translation. Unlike English and French or Spanish and Italian (which are similar Latin-rooted languages), Arabic is very different to latin languages in its structure and grammar, words are not as often borrowed or shared. So to translate from Arabic to English and then to Dutch for example, is to take a translated conveyed meaning and interpretation and to dilute it further, taking it 2 steps away from the source language. In short, it is bad practice.
In another scenario, the source language may be English. So the translation would be one step, and likely to another Latin-based language. Even in this case, the translator should still take heed of the following:
1. Consult with the author, it could be that he/she isn't pleased with the works and doesn't want it spread more than it is, it could also be revised or updated from the version you have
2. Make sure that you are qualified to translate
3. Understand that the arabic terms and the Islamic understandings become your responsibility, it is a still writing and authoring, if you are not a student of knowledge, seek help from one to 'sign off' on your work
4. Do not rush to translate thinking: I want the ajr, it could be that you do more harm by producing unqualified works (which is the norm nowadays)
These are some points to ponder as many people are fluent in two or more european languages and are eager to convey knowledge.
Last edit: 5 years 9 months ago by troid.org admin.
The following user(s) said Thank You: UmmSafura, Alee Al-Albaanee