Strategies Available for Translating Persian Epic Poetry: A Case of Shahnameh

Document Type: Original Article


Allameh Tabataba’i University


This study tried to find the strategies applied in three English translations of the Battle of Rostam and Esfandiyar. To this aim, the source text (ST) was analyzed verse by verse with each verse being compared with its English translations to determine what procedures the translators had used to render the source text. Subsequently, the frequency of usage for each procedure was measured to answer the research ques- tions. Michele Jones’s fourfold classification of poetry translation strategies and Reiss and Vermeer’s skopos theory were used as the frameworks of this study; Jones introduces literal, approximation, adapta- tion, and imitation strategies, ranging from literal which is very faithful to the original form, to imitation that is very free and has little in common with the original. The analyses showed that, regardless of imita- tion not used in this corpus, the translators of this study had mostly rendered the ST using approximation, with adaptation being the least frequently used method. Translators' paratextual materials, including their fore- and afterwords, were used as the sources for identifying the reason for the application of each strat- egy. Moreover, we have concluded that, according to skopos theory, translators use different strategies according to the different functions target texts (TT) will have in the target context.


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