Reading between the Lines A World of Interlinear Translation

Ronit Ricci*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Interlinear translations from Arabic into Malay and Javanese have been produced in Southeast Asia since at least the sixteenth century. Such translations included an Arabic original with its lines spaced out on the page and a word for word translation appearing between the lines, attempting to replicate the Arabic down to the smallest detail. This essay engages with the theme of World Literature and translation by (1) considering the interlinear text as microcosm: A world of intent and priorities, of a transfer of meaning, of grammar and syntax in translation, of choices and debates, and (2) by thinking of Arabic writing during an earlier period as a world literature sought after in many regions, whose translation in diverse forms and tongues had a vast impact on languages and literary cultures.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)68-80
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of World Literature
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Copyright 2016 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


  • Arabic
  • Interlinear translation
  • Javanese
  • Literary culture
  • Malay
  • Southeast Asia
  • Translation metaphors
  • Van ronkel


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