Translation Strategies for Reference Switching (IltifAT) in SURah Al-Baqarah

  •  Najat Ali Muhammad Ahmed Al Badani    
  •  Norsimah Mat Awal    
  •  Intan Safinaz Zainudin    
  •  Ashinida Aladdin    


Reference switching (Iltifat) is a unique style found in the holy Qur’an. It is a rhetorical device in Arabic language. Nonetheless, it is used in an extensive and complex manner in Qur’an. Reference switching is defined as the change of speech from one mode to another. However, reference switching constitutes a problem for translators while transferring reference switches from one language to another, particularly in the Qur’anic discourse. This paper looks at the translation of reference switching in surah al-Baqarah specifically focusing on the translation strategies employed by the translator Yusuf Ali to transfer reference switching that is obvious in the Qur’an to English language. Personal reference switching has been classified into five categories: namely the switch from third to first person pronoun; the switch from first to third person pronoun; the switch from third to second person pronoun; the switch from second to third person pronoun and the switch from first to second person pronoun. Newmark’s translation strategies are used as a basis to explore the translation strategies applied by Yusuf Ali. The study reveals that Yusuf Ali opted for five strategies in translating reference switching in surah al-Baqarah. They are literal, expansion, free translation, compensation and a dual strategy of transposition and footnote. However, the study reveals that these translation strategies are inapplicable in conveying the meaning of iltifat. The findings of this study will hopefully pave the way for more investigations into the translatability of reference switching in other surahs of the holy Qur’an. Additionally, the findings of this study will be a step forward toward improving reference switching translation in future interpretations of meanings in the holy Qur’an.

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