Translator v. author (2007): Girls of Riyadh go to New York

Marilyn Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay discusses translation practice in the context of recent North American and British marketing of works by Arab and/or Muslim authors, and the strong bias toward “transparent” translation that privileges sociological content over literary texture and the thickness of locale. Taking her recent translation of Raja’ al-Sani’'s Banat al-Riyadh (Rajaa Alsanea, Girls of Riyadh, Penguin, 2007) as a case study, the author argues that revisions made by the press and author to her translation domesticate the text and mute the novel's gender politics, while the author's assertion of the right to make these changes without the translator's involvement, as well as the resulting published text itself, question prevalent notions of the “first-world” translator's power to speak for “postcolonial” texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalTranslation Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Saudi Arabia
  • translation
  • Alsanea
  • al-Sani’
  • Arabic fiction
  • foreignization

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