Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Application of Lefevere's Seven Strategies in English Translations of Sohrab Sepehri's Poems

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Application of Lefevere's Seven Strategies in English Translations of Sohrab Sepehri's Poems

Article excerpt


Amid translation subjects, poetry translation is the most controversial issue caused by the existing conflict between form and content and also high figurative language of poetry. Poetry interested translator needs more effort and creativity to translate the structures and the figurative language involved in poetry (Boase Beier, 2009). The main aim of the present study is to apply Lefevere's seven proposed strategies for poetry translation in the English translations of poems written by Sohrab Sepehri, a contemporary Persian poet and the final purpose is to find out which strategy is more frequently used. The corpus of the study contains 17 poems which are selected from three books translated by three translators. After the process of data analysis and calculating the frequency of each strategy, the researcher arrived at the conclusion that the second strategy named literal translation was the most frequently applied strategy (63%) by the three different translators. The results confirm that all the translators have translated the poems as word for word rendering.

Keywords: Translation, Poetry, Blank verse, Poetry translation

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1. Introduction

In the process of translation two languages are involved: source and target language. The translator tries his/her best to find the best equivalents for each word, phrase and sentence in the target language. Many different definitions have been proposed by different scholars for the word "translation". Munday (2001) proposes that in the translation process the translator changes an original written message into original verbal language and then transfers the original verbal version into a different verbal languages. So, in Munday's view in the act of translation, written and spoken language of both source and target languages are of great importance. Bell (1993) looks at translation only as a replacement of a text in one language by finding an equivalent text in another language.

One of the famous linguists, Jacobson (1959, p.35), defines translation as "whole message transference from source language into target language, rather than the substitution of single separate code unit." In the above definition, the whole message means a combination of all the components in the text, meaning, form, content, semantic and physical features.

Nida (1975, p.95), asserts that "translation is reproducing in the target language the closest natural equivalent of the message of the source language; First in terms of meaning and second in terms of style." So, in Nida's word, in the process of translation meaning is prior to the form or style.

Newmark (1981, p.7) asserts that "translation is a craftin which the translator tries to substitute a written message in the source language for another written message in the target language." He also adds, during the act of translation, translator must take into account a number of constraints such as context, the syntactic rules of the two languages, their writing conventions, and the figurative language of them. Beside language which is the significant issue, there are other important elements involved in the act of translation such as the creativity of the translator, faithfulness, choice of words, form, content and etc (Newmark, 1981). Therefore, according to Newmark (1981), in the process of translation different factors are engaged and the translator should pay sufficient attention to the structure of both source and target language.

Since the current research deals with poetry translation and poetry is one of the subcategories of literary texts it is worth to say that, in translating literary texts specially poetry there is a great tension between form and content and the act of literary translation is indeed a challenging act in which a poetry translator's main concern is whether to prefer the form over the content or vice versa. In fact, translating poetry is a controversial issue and there is a major debate on this challenging task in translation studies. …

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