Translating for children in the Arab world: an exercise in child political socialization

Sabeur Mdallel


Translating under the Arab dictatorships is a perilous task, as censorship bodies control all means and forms of expression. This is particularly true for children’s literature, which is a powerful tool of political socialisation. Al-Hajji’s Guide to Arab children's literature, translated in the Arab world from 1950 to 1998, shows that no book that undermines the dominant ideology has ever been translated in this geographical context. However, if a book chosen for translation contains some elements that might be viewed as subversive, strategies are adopted that
automatically annihilate any threat. This paper focuses on the Arabic translation of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, published in Syria in 1991, to which elements have been added that were never envisaged by the original author.

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 ISSN 2184-4585