Translation of Culture Specific Items: A Case Study of Persian Architecture Terminology

Esmaeil Bagheridoust, Zahra Mahabadi Mahabad


Architectural texts involve a great deal of CSIs that reflect the culture of a country.  Translating these CSIs from Persian into English seems one of the key issues in the translation of architectural texts.  This source-oriented descriptive study tried to investigate CSIs of the Persian architecture in order to examine the extent to which the translators/writers have succeeded in rendering CSIs, while translating them from Persian architecture into English or writing on the Persian Architecture in English.  In addition, it tried to investigate the most frequently used strategies by writers/translators according to Van Doorslaer’s (2007) model.  To serve research purposes, two textbooks on Iranian architecture (i.e., Introducing Persian Architecture by Pope and Abbasid Guest House by Ouliaienia) were sampled.  The findings indicated that the translator (Ouliaienia) and the writer (Pope) were successful in finding appropriate equivalents for SL architectural terms.  The comparison of Pope’s textbook and Ouliaienia’s translation demonstrated that they had made use of four of the strategies (i.e., Direct Transfer, Word for Word Translation, Interpretation, and Domestication).  Accordingly, in pope’s book, Interpretation was the most frequently used strategy, while Direct Transfer was the most frequently utilized one in Ouliaienia.  On the other hand, Word for Word Translation was the least frequently used strategy in Pope’s work, whereas Domestication was the least frequently utilized one in Ouliaienia’s work.  The findings of the present study may have some significant implications for translation theory and practice.



Translation, CSIs, Persian Architecture, Terminology

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