The role of social agents in the translation into English of the novels of Naguib Mahfouz


This research investigates the field of translation in an Egyptain context around the work of the Egyptian writer and Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz by adopting Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological framework. Bourdieu’s framework is used to examine the relationship between the field of cultural production and its social agents. The thesis includes investigation in two areas: first, the role of social agents in structuring and restructuring the field of translation, taking Mahfouz’s works as a case study; their role in the production and reception of translations and their practices in the field; and second, the way the field, with its political and socio-cultural factors, has influenced translators’ behaviour and structured their practices. In this research, it is argued that there are important social agents who have contributed significantly to the structure of the field and its boundaries. These are key social agents in the field namely; the main English language publisher in Egypt, the American University in Cairo Press (AUCP); the translators: Denys Johnson-Davies, Roger Allen and Trevor Le Gassick; and the author, Naguib Mahfouz. Their roles and contributions are examined and discussed through the lens of Bourdieu’s sociology. Particular focus is given to the author Mahfouz and his award of the Nobel Prize, and how this award has influenced the field of cultural production and its social agents. Also, it is argued that socio-cultural factors in the field, in the period between 1960s and 2000s, affected the translators’ practices in terms of modes of production of Mahfouz’s works. To investigate the influence of these factors on translators’ practices in the field, empirical examination is conducted, at the textual level, on a corpus of six translated novels written by the same author, Mahfouz. It is shown that the translators have an increased tendency, over time, towards applying a foreignising approach in their translations of culture-specific items. The translators’ behaviour, which is a result of their habitus, is correlated to political and socio-cultural factors in the field of translation. That is, based on interviews conducted with the translators, it has been found that there are particular factors influenced their translational habitus and, thus, their practices during the production process of the translations.

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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: literary translation,Pierre Bourdieu,social agents,culture-specific items (CSIs),Naguib Mahfouz
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 08:49
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 15:00
Completed Date: 2014-09-03
Authors: Alkhawaja, Linda


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