-Dr. Asyah Al Bualy
Writing is a great responsibility since the written word remains even after the author's death. Apart from situations of direct quotations: where lines or phrases of a particular reference are put between quotation marks, we come across paraphrasing or summarizing a text, information, subject, or ideas of a book. In scientific or academic research, such mechanisms are commonly used, but applying them are done cautiously. As the responsibility of any information provided in a new manuscript; (The researcher's text) fall on the latter. Therefore, such situations require authenticity in providing all details of resources. Consequently, in case of verifying what is stated, the reader can refer to the original text.
In my opinion, problems of paraphrasing or summarizing of references, appear with other types of writing such as press articles or articles published on line for media purposes. In most cases, when these articles are published, are not far from the interest and objectives of their authors.
As an example of what has been stated above. Nasr Al Busaidi on the 30th of January published on line, an article in Arabic on the website Of Al Shabiba Arabic newspaper ( https://www.shabiba.com/article/225636/ ). The English translation of his article's title is supposed to be "The Omani woman whose circumstances forced her from the Royal Palace to Tanganyika's coup leaders". On seeing this title, the instant meaning of it is that the exit from the Royal Palace was not out of a free personal choice, but as a result of harsh conditions. Therefore, it was a forced one.
Nasr Al Busaidi on publishing this Arabic article footnoted in its margin that the source of his article's information was the Arabic version of my book named "Reminiscences from a Golden Past. By Dr. Asyah Al Bulay. First issue, May 2015". Al Busaidi in his Arabic article paraphrased and summarized what appeared from his point of view, the most prominent and important parts of the long interviews that took place between myself and the late Fatma Jinja - May God rest her soul in peace- ( 1930 – 2017) ; the subject of the book . I will not dwell on these interviews, as they are not the purpose of my article, besides the book is available in: Arabic and English.
Nasr Al Busaidi on one hand, was relatively genuine in documenting my book as a source or reference for his article. On the other hand, he was not careful enough to clarify that not all details contained in his article were extracted from my book. Starting with the title of his Arabic article which did not appear in my book neither literal nor content wise . By my evaluation, this title is consistent with Al Busaidi 's aims and media inclinations . He wanted to assert from the very beginning of his article that the woman mentioned in the article was one of the 1964 Zanzibar's coup victims. Actually, Nasr Al Busaidi was honest and courageous enough to admit on Al Shabiba radio that, not all which came in his Arabic article had emerged from my book. This broadcasted was live on March 14, 2019 when he interviewed me in an Arabic radio program named "Oman through Time ".
Al Busaidi 's Arabic article was translated into English. In the English translation, the title and parts of the article took different path in meaning. " The Omani woman who went from the Royal Palace to Tanganyika's coup leaders(https://timesofoman.com/article/867670)( Times of Oman 20thFebruary 2019 ). Contrary to the meaning of the Arabic article's title, the English translation states clearly that the exit from the Royal Palace was not an inevitable one imposed by harsh circumstances or conditions, but was out of a personal choice.
Once again, I would say this translation came in agreement with the translator's media intentions. This was clear to me from the irresponsibility of the translating processes. Despite of the book's versions (Arabic and English) which were well covered media wise on the day of its inauguration under the auspices of the H.E the Minister of Information , and despite the translator's work in media and press he or she did not even bother to read the book in English. Because of this neglect, the errors of translation did not merely fall on the title or parts of the article but shamefully even on the name of the book as reference and on the name of it's author! With consideration, reading the English version would have facilitated a lot in translating the Arabic article. On discussing the issue with Nasr Al Busaidi I came to know his standard of English language unfortunately, did not allow him to evaluate the English translation of his article, starting with the title ending up with the text.
As a result of Al Busaidi's both versions of his article which were circulated and well read, I got many phone calls, all enquiring if the information that was added especially in the English translation of the article was true? And was excluded from my book?! The answer from my side was a denial "No". Additionally, I affirmed that : “ What was published in my book was exactly what the late Fatma Jinja herself uttered, and any information which come beyond the range of my book, was not my responsibility. Moreover and most important, it has no ground of veracity or authenticity.” Furthermore, the late Fatma Jinja died on May 2017 but my book had been published in May 2015. Subsequently, it was published during her life time with her approval. After the book was published she read it, commented on it, and even gave it to some of her friends and acquaintances.
The conclusion of my article is that there is no harm in using any book as a reference for any type of writing, provided references to meanings are highlighted. Recklessness in publishing is a great responsibility, with legal consequences.