From the Red Keep to Winterfell: Translating Toponyms in High Fantasy Literature from English into Arabic


The recent popularity of the fantasy genre in the Arabic world has seen increased translation activity into Arabic (De Blasio 2019). Despite this interest, scholars have focused their attention on low fantasy, with little attention to high fantasy. This study investigates book five of George R.R Martin’s novel series “A Dance with Dragons (2011), and its Arabic translation رقصة مع التنانين raqsa mc ?ltanani:n (2020) with a specific focus on Toponyms. The study uses textual analysis of the translation of book five of the novel series to determine the translation procedures used, and interviews with the official translator to understand the factors behind the translation choices in the series. The study adopts Aixelá’s 1996 model of culture-specific items (CSI) for the classification of the translation procedures. The results indicate the prevalence of two main translation procedures; conservation and substitution. The two procedures are used to strike a balance between the readability of the text, readers’ expectations, and maintaining the fantasy of the secondary world in which the narrative takes place.


Rabab Mizher and Dana Mahadin


Arabic, high fantasy, literary translation; toponyms; translation