This study attempts to show how translation contributes to the Orientalist project and to the past and present knowledge of the Orient as it has been shaped by various disciplines such as anthropology, history and literature. This study, which also looks at the translation shifts that the Arabic tales underwent in Galland and Burton''s translations, was born out of a personal interest in the way Arab culture and Islam have been portrayed in Western discourse. The events of September 11 and the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine have endowed the traditional Western discourse on Islam and the Orient with an immediate currency and relevance. All these elements combined were behind my attempt to analyze French and English translations of The Arabian Nights in order to show that today''s biased and fragmented images of the Orient are but the natural outcome of a centuries- long scholarship of which translation is an essential part. In other words, this study tries to locate translation within the vast movement of Orientalism and to draw a parallel between translation and imperialism.