Literary Translation, Translating Culture: The Case of Shahriyar, the Famous Iranian Azeri Poet

Sajjad Kianbakht


A literary translation is a device of art used to release the text from its dependence on prior cultural knowledge (Herzfeld, 2003). The present research investigates the use of pragmatic equivalence in two translations of the Azeri Turkish long poem "Haydar Bābāye Salām" by "Shahriyar". Based on Koller’s theory of equivalence (2001) four elements were assigned for the pragmatic equivalence: 1) domestication rather than foreignization, 2) naturalness of the expressions, 3) focus on target-text reader, and 4) content-based product. Thirty six stanzas from the initial, middle and final part of the poem were selected and then their two translations were analyzed according to the aforementioned elements. Moreover, based on Newmark’s model (1988) it is also investigated that whether a translation with all the four elements of pragmatic equivalence is a good one or not. According to Newmark’s model (1988) three markers of a good translation are: 1) utilization of pragmatic equivalence, 2) naturalness, and 3) not sounding like a translation. The results suggest that a translator who has utilized all the elements of pragmatic equivalence is also successful in reproducing a better translation for the target language readers.

Keywords: Equivalence theory, Literary translation, Poetry translation, Pragmatic equivalence

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