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On Some Issues of Translating Religious Terms

Arpine Arushanyan,

Department of Iranian Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Yerevan State University, Yerevan, Armenia

Perhaps, one of the most important aspects of Armenian religious studies is the problem of the terminology. Despite the more or less elaborated system of terms, even today in scientific literature there are some difficulties with translating Islamic terms into Armenian. If in the case of translating religious texts, the issues concern both vocabulary, prosody, and allegories, then the problems faced by scientific literature are of a slightly different nature, since the researcher must not only translate this or that word, trying to “fit” all the necessary semantic spectrum in the chosen term, but also there is a need to invent an appropriate term for the certain religious phenomenon or to choose a word semantically as close as possible from a completely different linguistic and cultural domain. In the absence of an exact version of a term, it is common to use the name of the same or almost the same phenomenon in another religious system as a term. Thus, the first of the pillars of Islam is the shahada, which is not a translatable term, so in an attempt to find a parallel term, the Christian word “Creed” (“Havato hanganak” in Armenian) is used. We face the same problems, for example, while talking about the ritual “Sar Sepordan” among Ahl-e Haqq sect.  Trying to describe it, there is nothing left to do but choose one of the existing Christian terms, in particular, “ordination”, or “dzernadrum” in Armenian.

Keywords: Translation, Religious Terms, Islamic Terms, Christian Terms, Armenian

The above abstract is a part of the article which was accepted at The Ninth International Conference on Languages, Linguistics, Translation and Literature (WWW.LLLD.IR), 1-2 February 2024, Ahwaz.