Has Henry Softened the War in A Farewell to Arms? A Translational Perspective on Hedging


This paper provides an empirical investigation of shifts in hedges in an Arabic translation of A Farewell to Arms (1929). The results reveal a tendency to add rather than omit hedges. This is associated with several discourse effects, such as a move toward an increased level of awareness of information quality and relevance, greater attenuation/mitigation, more politeness, improved interpersonal relations, increased reinforcement, greater speaker responsibility/commitment, higher cognitive and emotional involvement, and stronger textual relations in the translated narrative. These effects reflect a more cooperation/dynamic role on the (literary) translator’s part during his second verbal materialization and re-narration of the original story. The addition of relevance hedges points to an explicitation pattern that improves the text’s readability and reflects the translator’s mediating voice in the translated narrative. The increased attenuation and reinforcement are indicative of a movement toward standardizing (appropriating) a war novel that has a less emotive style to an emotionally remote (Arabic) reader, pushing for more universalized interpretations and more normalized literary translations. Such movements, which cannot be linked at least in this study to any sociopolitical factors (e.g., language status, power relations), are better regarded as visible traces pointing to the translators’ (conscious or subconscious) orientation toward a greater literary uniformity and more cross-cultural/universal understanding.


Othman Ahmad Abualadas


attenuation, English-Arabic fiction translation, hedges, reinforcement, standardization