Ahmed H. S. Alghamdi

Thesis title: The Bible in the ‘Language of the Quran’: Translational and Linguistic Trends in the Arabic Biblical Tradition


After graduating from Umm al-Qura University's Department of English in Saudi Arabia in 2015, I commenced my professional journey as an English instructor at the same university for approximately one year.

Following that, I began working as a teaching assistant in Translation Studies at al-Baha University in early 2017. During my time there, I discovered my passion for instructing translation practice between Arabic and English, enriched by translation theory. I also developed a keen interest in exploring translation contexts within the broader Arabic linguistic culture, particularly in the pre-modern period. This interest has led me to various research projects, including my current PhD endeavour.


My role as a teaching assistant was temporarily interrupted as I pursued postgraduate studies, earning my master's degree in Translation Studies from the University of Durham in 2019. I subsequently embarked on my PhD journey in Translation Studies in 2020, which I am still actively pursuing.

Apart from my academic commitments, I have actively contributed to translation in various settings, which include publications, translation-related initiatives, and and talks, all of which are elaborated upon in the sections below.

Current research interests

My current research focuses on: - Classical Arabic - Literary Translation - Translation-induced Language Change - Religious Translation - Language and Identity in the Context of Translation - Arabic-to-English Translation, with a focus on classic pre-modern works translated by Arabists

Project activity

Rasaif: I initiated the creation of a parallel corpus of English translations of classical Arabic literature, originally for personal use, which subsequently expanded with the collaboration of numerous volunteers into the ongoing development of an extensive Classical Arabic-English corpus; now accessible on the 'Rasaif' website (https://rasaif.com/).

This corpus serves various purposes, such as assisting Arabic learners in mastering high literary Arabic and offering a valuable resource for Arabic-English translators.


From this project, several initiatives have emerged, most notably one currently in development with a team of volunteer AI experts, who are utilising this corpus as a dataset to train an AI model designed to to enhance machine translation of classical Arabic texts into English and the translation of English texts into high literary Arabic - an undertaking in which I have been specifically engaged in data collection.

Thesis title: The Bible in the ‘Language of the Quran’: Translational and Linguistic Trends in the Arabic Biblical Tradition  

My PhD research seeks to investigate the translational and linguistic trends prevalent in the extensive Christian biblical and non-biblical tradition spanning over a millennium. This diverse and heterogeneous tradition is marked by a wide range of linguistic styles and translational approaches that do not appear entirely arbitrary; instead, they are influenced by specific normative forces and by the diverse approaches that Christians take towards these normative forces. My PhD thesis endeavours to unearth and analyse these norms, shedding light on the implications of the diverse linguistic and translational trends within Christian texts. Specifically, it aims to deepen our understanding of Arabic-speaking Christians and their religious linguistic identity, particularly in relation to what some modern scholars have recognised as 'Islamic Arabic.' This exploration spans an extended period marked by continuously changing socio-cultural dynamics. My PhD thesis aims to uncover these enduring norms that could have potentially persisted throughout a long period, characterised by a somewhat static linguistic culture; however, continuously changing socio-cultural dynamics. I seek to explore how comprehending these diverse linguistic and translational trends, as well as the various norms influencing them in Christian texts, can impact our perception of Arabic-speaking Christians and their religious linguistic identity, especially in relation to what some contemporary scholars have identified as 'Islamic Arabic'.

Al-Ghamdi, Ahmed. (2021). Al-Aranjiyya. London: Markaz Takwin (written in Arabic; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59061361): This is an in-depth exploration of the impact of translation on the evolution of Modern Standard Arabic. The book systematically evaluates the extent of English influence on various linguistic aspects, including grammar, vocabulary, and style.

Alghamdi, Ahmed. (2019). Al-Liqa'at al-Mashriqiyya. London: Markaz Takwin (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49323250): This work is an Arabic literary translation of Marmaduke Pickthall's 'Oriental Encounters: Palestine and Syria, 1894-6', which chronicles his fascinating journey to the Levant. It offers valuable insights into the perceptions of some Western writers on the Arab lands they traversed more than a century ago.