The Translation of Qur’an Non-Existent Cultural Elements in Malay Culture: An Analysis on Borrowing Approach

  • Arnida A. Bakar Faculty of Major Language Studies, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)
  • Sulhah Ramli Faculty of Major Language Studies, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)
Keywords: Translation approach, non-existent cultural elements, target culture, unseen elements, compensation strategies


Many translation scholars have proposed various approaches when dealing with culture-specific items. It shows that to achieve a good quality and successful translation work, suitable and functional translation approach should be applied by the translator. Borrowing is one of the approaches applied in various texts’ genre such as sacred text which has culture-specific items. It becomes frequently used in translating word with no equivalent in target language. However, it resulted in some of translations which have applied this kind of approach did not supply adequate meaning and fallout the irrelevant text towards readership. The reason is that borrowing approach stands alone without providing compensation strategies. Therefore, this present article investigates the functionality of borrowing approach in translating Qur’an non-existent cultural elements in Malay culture. This study is qualitative, and the data are analysed descriptively using document analysis by adopting Relevance Theory initiated by Sperber and Wilson (1986). It is suggested that the relevancy of translated text can be achieved not only through borrowing as an approach, but at the same time providing adequate meaning by means of compensation strategies. Thus, the study assumes that the less the effort processing is produced to understand the meaning, the higher the contextual effect of meaning is sufficiently provided. On the other hand, if the effort processing is less produced and the contextual effect is highly provided, the optimum relevancy of translated text can be achieved. It is concluded that the combination of borrowing approach and compensation strategies can help better understanding the meaning of non-existent religious cultural items in Malay culture.

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How to Cite
A. Bakar, A. and Ramli, S. (2021) “The Translation of Qur’an Non-Existent Cultural Elements in Malay Culture: An Analysis on Borrowing Approach”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 6(4), pp. 202-211. doi: