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Muslims believe the Qur’an is in its “purest form” when written and spoken in original Arabic holy words. Whereas, translating the Qur’an into other languages would be human words and not God’s. As you may recall, Hindus would agree. They believe the Vedas are holy words and their holiness diminishes when translated into human words. Likewise, translating the Jewish Torah’s Hebrew words into other languages has proven difficult. However, in Buddhism’s Tripitaka and Christianity’s Bible, there have been multiple translations into many languages without too much controversy.
WRITE: a kind, sincere, yet persuasive letter to a local priest, minister, buddha, imam, or rabbi. You pick. Address the person by name.
You may write in personal letter form or make contact and write a transcript of your real conversation ie. (Me:… Imam Aboubadria:… Me:… Imam Aboubardria:…)
In your letter/transcript, discuss the following:
a) Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of translating a holy texts into other formats, interpretations, and languages.
Give two pros and two cons.
b) Does the saying “gets lost in translation” ring true? Give specific examples of events, stories, and scriptures from holy texts to illustrate your point.
c) How important is time and context when translating / interpreting holy texts? Give an example.
d) Who should be allowed to translate or interpret holy texts? Why?
e) Where does Islam stand on the translation and interpretation debate?
If you are multi-lingual or have taken other languages in school, draw upon your own experiences to answer these questions.:
How easy or difficult was it to learn a new language or translate one language to another?
Did words and meanings…become distorted?
Become easier to understand? Become more rich in meaning? Remember the childhood “telephone game”?
What happens when you tell someone a story and they repeat it to someone else?
NOTE: No outside sources are allowed, except for holy texts. I want to know YOUR thoughts.
Submit your 2-3 page letter (use paragraphs) or 2-3 page transcript to the Assignment folder: double-space, size 12, Times font.

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