Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The translation of the Holy Quran into Hebrew will take over one full year, according to Dr. Mohammed bin Salim al Awfi, the secretary general of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, the Saudi Arabian body authorized to issue and publish translations of the Holy Quran into various languages.
A year has already passed since the complex announced undertaking the translation of the meanings of the Holy Quran into Hebrew, while other translations into Arabic and Hebrew have been published outside of Saudi Arabia, however containing several flaws. Al Awfi confirmed that the translation takes more than a year in various languages, not only into Hebrew. “Any institution that works on the translation and publication of the meanings of the Holy Quran must try to be accurate in order to present correct and valid meanings in terms of theology, Shariaa, language and style. This requires an accurate method,” al Awfi added.
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat, al Awfi pointed out that setting an estimated deadline for the completion of a particular translation is important and is subject to the plans laid out by the various committees and departments, referring to the difference in time between various translations and the importance of fixing a specific timeframe. However, he said, “It is not the most important factor in producing a translation. Rather the copyediting, revision and editing processes are more important. One year is never enough to prepare, revise, copyedit and initially print a translation. It takes time.”
Al Awfi explained that the organization’s methods with regard to the translation of the meanings of the Holy Quran are based on standards set by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran through the scientific councils starting from the translations center board to the supreme authority of the Complex.
According to al Awfi, there are various measures in the translation process that are based on the theological accuracy of a translation, compliance with Shariaa, observance of the [Islamic] fundamentals and principles, refraining from subjecting translations to denominational views, referring to the established interpretation sources and transferring the meanings of the Holy Quran directly into the target language rather than from an intermediary language as well as refraining from adapting the Quranic verses by adding or deleting, compliance with the translation of the meanings of the Holy Quran, avoiding literalism so as to make it a translation of meanings, transliterating untranslatable words and giving their approximate translations between brackets such as ‘Zakat’, ‘Hajj’, ‘Umrah’, and avoiding the term Israelite and narrations that cannot be confirmed.
With respect to the translation team, al Awfi pointed out that translation requires revision and alteration by at least two proofreaders. Proofreaders are required to have sound beliefs, good knowledge of Shariaa, an excellent standard of the Arabic language as well as fluency in the target language.
Asked about the spread of various versions of Hebrew translations of the Quran, al Awfi stated that there are many that contain distorted or unreliable translations of the meanings of the Holy Quran that were prepared by prejudice, anti-Islamic, or incompetent individuals. “Such translations are not limited to one particular language. The distortion of the meanings of the Holy Quran began many years ago. The first such distortion took place under the auspices of Peter the Venerable in 1143. Since then, imprecise translations by orientalists have continued [to be published] until now,” he added, pointing out that such ongoing distortions have resulted from ignorance of, hostility towards, and fear of Islam.