MA Thesis defence, Cecilie Olivia Buchhave: Translating “gender” into Arabic: “jins”, “jinsayn”, “nawʽ” or “jindar”?

15 October 2021 15:15 to 17:00 Seminar

Cecilie Olivia Buchhave in the MA in Language and Linguistics, Arabic/semitic languages, defends her master's thesis "Translating 'gender' into Arabic: 'jins', 'jinsayn', 'nawʽ' or 'jindar'? A study of the translation of 'gender' as a simple and in complex concepts in Muslim feminist knowledge building"

  • Opponent: Dennis Arndt
  • Examiner: Maria Persson
  • Supervisor: Lena Ambjörn

The terms “gender” and “sex” are central to feminist concerns, and in English scholarship “gender” is disputed within and outside of feminism, despite its seemingly political correctness as an alternative to “sex” (Olson 2012; Gunnarsson 2011). The aim of this thesis is to describe how “gender”, complex concepts with “gender”, and the derivative “gendered” are translated into Arabic target texts (TTs) by the transnational Muslim feminist movement Musawah for Equality in the Family, funded by UN Women. The study further investigates if a distinction between “gender” and “sex” in the Arabic data is made. “Gender” is here defined as a simple concept, while considered to enter into a complex concept in constructions such as “gender equality”. Defining “gender” as a simple concept does not indicate that it is simple to interpret, but is based on word quantity in the concept. The method is anchored in descriptive translation studies (Tymoczko 2007), and due to the variation in translations of constructions with “gender” into Arabic, this study also aims at discussing theoretical understandings of equivalence in postpositivist and feminist translation studies (Nida and Taber 1982; Godard 1989; Flotow 1997). A Total of 87 pages of Arabic text was read. “Gender” as a simple concept or in a complex concept, or “gendered” occurred 133 times. The “sex” or “sexes” occurred eight times, hence, 141 relevant cases were identified. Of these, 42 are presented in the analysis, since various similar translations occurred several times. For example, “gender equality” occurred 32 times in the STs, but only two different translation solutions were identified in the TTs, and thus just these two are presented. Concluding, an equivalent to the simple concept of “gender” is unsettled, even within the same movement. The study shows that the movement has constructed nearly consistent equivalents to some complex concepts e.g. “gender equality”. Further it shows that a distinction is occasionally constructed by Musawah between “sex” and “gender” in Arabic. The conclusion is that Musawah uses either “jins”, “jinsayn”, “nawʽ” or “jindar” to denote “gender” in the TTs. Further, “gender” as a term is sometimes dismissed and instead transformed into the specific identity categories “man/men” and “woman/women” or “girl/girls” and “boy/boys” in the Arabic TTs.


About the event:

15 October 2021 15:15 to 17:00

Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/67094529427


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