The Self-translator as Cultural Mediator: In Memory of Jabra Ibrahim Jabra

Nibras A. M. Al-Omar


The present paper investigates the self-translation action as practiced by a bilingual writer: Jabra Ibrahim Jabra who has rendered a chapter of his novel Hunters in a narrow Street, written originally in English, back into Arabic. It is based on the assumption that the shifts or changes made in the Arabic text can hardly be attributed to the poetic licence or the creative potential of the self-translator. They should be seen in the light of bicultural competence of the self-translator as cultural mediator. This competence unfolds in his knowledge of the disparities between the readerships, socio-political structures and censorship rules of both the source and target languages and cultures. Consequently, the self-translator is also expected to designate and maintain the skopos of the target language text. Unlike the translator per se, the self-translator has the privilege of access to the intention of the source language text prior to its production . All these prerequisites contribute to the self-translator's decisions of introducing shifts and changes in the target language text through cultural mediation. Being written in English, the source language text is seen to have undergone cultural mediation too: a fact that leads to a conviction that Jabra was a 'double mediator '.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)    Email: 

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