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Koran (le Coran): French-English
Thread poster: Victoria Britten
Dec 6

Hi all,
I'm subtitling a French film that includes passages from the Koran. Two questions, really:
- It seems obvious to me that I should be using a recognised translation, rather than my own: do you agree?
- If so, do you know of any online resources? I tried the term search in, in order to be shown the suras the word I chose appears in, but the result was unconvincing to say the least.

French or English? Dec 6

Do you want the passages in French or English?

I work in Islamic publishing and mostly use the following website for English-language translations:

Yes, I believe you should use a recognized translation rather than attempt one on your own.

Hope this helps.

[Edited at 2018-12-06 12:47 GMT]

Morano El-Kholy
Elif Baykara Narbay
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Victoria Britten
@Amel Dec 6

Thank you so much for that speedy and useful answer!
Unfortunately, my first word search (in French; I'm translating into English) didn't turn up the context I have in the film: if I'm not pushing your goodwill here, may I pick your specialist brain? My question would be whether it's more likely that the filmmaker worked from a different translation, or that the character is using a snippet from the Koran rather than a whole sentence? It's something that's done with Bible quotations all the time, of course, but I'm afraid I don't know whether the Koran lends itself to that kind of appropriation.

Google? Dec 6

Insert your French passage in Google and ask for an English translation. You might be surprised.

If it works, always check the outcome with an English Koran.

I found some translated biblical text this way.

[Edited at 2018-12-06 16:24 GMT]

Elif Baykara Narbay
Victoria Britten
Different translations? Dec 6

I am not a specialist but I recall that Kuran has different translations, as are almost all "books". While the basic idea would be the same, wording and sometimes interpreting would vary greatly among Islamic scholars throughout the ages until today. Arabic is a very rich language and adds to that the culture and language of Islam's early years. Therefore, it is not surprising that you cannot find the phrases. And I just assumed that the translation into French was made from Arabic. If, for example, the source language is Turkish or Persian, you would have a dozen other translations.

I would definitely try to use a recognized English translation (only in the case that the references are neutral, that is, do not play a solid role in the movie). Maybe you could contact someone from the team making the movie so ask for the origin of the verses and/or whether you can use a certain English translation.

Victoria Britten
Hadiths Dec 6

It just occurred to me that maybe the quotations were of Hadiths (hadis, sayings of the prophet Muhammet). There are quoted quite commonly and I don't think that distinguishing between them is a straightforward process, at least not for me. Unfortunately, I cannot cite a reference but you may want to consider this path as well.


Victoria Britten
@Victoria Dec 6

Yes, it is definitely possible (and common) to quote a snippet or word from the Quran rather than a whole verse.

Many of my Arabic-speaking colleagues are fluent/native speakers of French. If you post the relevant text in KudoZ (perhaps in the French-Arabic pair), people should be able to tell you which verses are being quoted or alluded to, which will then allow you to find an established English translation.

Even if you post a "rough" English translation here, however, we might be able to figure it out.

For hadiths, you can check

[Edited at 2018-12-06 16:29 GMT]

Morano El-Kholy
Victoria Britten
Elif Baykara Narbay

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