Added in Translation: Keywords for the Study of Javanese Islamic Texts

Ronit Ricci*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The idea of keywords was introduced in Raymond Williams' seminal Keywords. A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (1976), and has since had a profound influence on research in multiple fields. This article explores what the idea of keywords might contribute to the study of interlinear translations from Arabic into Javanese. The interlinear translation, which presents an Arabic text with a word-for-word Javanese translation appearing between its lines, is a space where languages, beliefs, and entire histories encounter one another on the page. Taking as my example the 1864 interlinear Babad Maulud (a Javanese translation of the Arabic Maulid Syaraf al-Anām, recited on the Prophet Muhammad's birthday), I suggest that despite the Javanese translator's overall literal translation strategy which attempted to duplicate the original, he or she decided to add "Javanese keywords"at particular points in the translation, with such exceptions revealing contemporary Javanese understandings of social etiquette, identity and genealogy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPhilological Encounters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).


  • Islamic texts
  • Javanese literature
  • Raymond Williams
  • interlinear translation
  • maulid


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