One Step Closer to the Theorization of Berman’s Retranslation Hypothesis: Analysis of Farsi (Re)translations of The Little Prince

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Section of Translation and Interpreting Studies, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

2 English Language Department, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Imam Reza International University, Mashhad, Iran

Abstract

The widespread phenomenon of ‘retranslation’ that has become prevalent in the world refers to subsequent translations of a text or part of a text, carried out after the initial translation that introduced this text to the ‘same’ target language. Translation Studies scholars have strived to formulate hypotheses for re-translation. In 1990, Berman put forward the Retranslation Hypothesis in which he hypothesized that the earlier re-translations of a work depart from the source language and are more in line with the target language and culture over time. This hypothesis, in some cases, has been confirmed or partially confirmed, and in some others, disapproved. Thus, to confirm or reject the Retranslation Hypothesis more significantly, and push it forward to theorization, it must be (re)examined in different languages. Therefore, this study aimed to revisit the hypothesis by examining the Persian re-translations of the novel The Little Prince. The results of the study were largely in line with the hypothesis and proved that earlier translations follow more closely the norms of target language and culture, and later ones are closer to the source text and culture. The study ultimately serves as another piece of the puzzle for the Retranslation Hypothesis to approach a theory.

Keywords

1. Introduction

Retranslation denotes second or later translations of a single source text into the same target language (Koskinen & Paloposki, 2010). It normally occurs by a different translator and at a different time. The period between the initial translation and the re-translations may vary from a few years to decades or hundreds of years. For instance, Don Quixote was translated into Farsi by Mohammad Ghazi in 1338/1959 before the Islamic Revolution and retranslated by Zabihullah Masouri 52 years after that in 1390/2011. Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, for instance, has been translated into Persian by at least 16 different Farsi translators (Kamali-Dehghan, 2017).

This widespread phenomenon, the assumptions, and the motives behind it, positive and negative views toward it as well as the relationships between the earlier and newer translations need to be studied systematically. Researchers have proposed a variety of hypotheses in this regard, looking at Retranslation from different perspectives. The “Retranslation Hypothesis” originally suggested by the French translation scholar Antoine Berman in 1990 is one such hypothesis. According to that, the previous translations tend to be target-oriented while re-translations are source-oriented. The reason is that culture is often hesitant to accept a foreign text, so for the foreign text to be welcomed into a target culture, it should be modified to the target culture. After that, since the text has already been presented to the target culture, some of its foreignness is uncovered, and the source text can be translated again with a more source-oriented tendency (Brownlie, 2006, p.96). Although the Retranslation Hypothesis has been tested by several subsequent scholars, it still lacks a systematic theory so that Poucke (2017, p.111) claims that “the twenty first century could not only become the Age of Retranslation but also the Age of Retranslation Research.” There seems to be no substantial body of evidence either in support of or against the retranslation hypothesis.

This article aims at examining the Retranslation Hypothesis in translation and re-translations into Persian of one of The Little Prince. The novel, as the most translated and read books in the world after the Bible, was written by the French writer Antoine Saint-Exupéry and published in English and French in 1943 in the US and France after his death. It is amongst the most translated books in the world. The novel was first translated into Farsi by Ghazi (1333/1954), and re-translated 130 times by other well-known Iranian translators among them Ghazi, Shamloo, Najafi, Rahmandoust, and Rastegar. For this research, other re-translations of the novel by Shamloo (1358/1979) and Najafi (1379/2000) were selected to be compared with Ghazi’s translation. All the three re-translations are from French (see National Library and Archive of the I. R. of Iran)[1].

To test Retranslation Hypothesis empirically, purposive samples of the English version of the novel were systematically chosen and compared with the corresponding segments in three translated versions using Pym’s (2018) typology of source or target-oriented translation solutions. To carry out the analysis, the selected translations were examined by the researcher according to Pym's pedagogical typology of translation solutions tabulated in several tables.

2. Literature review

2.1 Retranslation 

In Translation Studies, the term ‘retranslation’ may have three denotations. Traditionally, it refers to an ‘indirect’, ‘intermediate’, ‘relay’ or ‘second-hand’ translation (Shuttleworth & Cowie, 1997, p.76) whereby a text is translated through a mediating source language or a language other than either the source language or the target language. In Iran, many great French, Italian or Russian works were translated into Persian from their English versions. For example, Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment was translated into Farsi from English. (Re)translations might have been more widespread and accessible than the texts in their original languages. The second denotation can be termed a “back translation”, which refers to a target-language text that is translated back into the language of the source text (ST) for comparison and correction. Sometimes back translation occurs when a translated version is published first because the original text or manuscript was lost before it ever went to print. Years later, when the need or wish arises to publish the original text, a back-translation becomes the only option. However, the third most common denotation of the term “retranslation” on which the present study will focus refers to “the act of translating a work that has previously been translated into the same language” (Gürçağlar 2009, p.233). This is Berman’s (1990) perspective toward re-translation. It refers to a text that is translated more than once into the same target language or different target languages. Here, Retranslation is usually related to canonical literary texts.

Berman’s Retranslation Hypothesis has been vastly studied and tested in different contexts and language pairs. Paradoxically, some studies have confirmed or partially confirmed the Hypothesis and some others have disconfirmed it. While criticizing the Hypothesis as overlooking the influence of two important factors in the formation of retranslations: text type, and the potentials of multiple (re)interpretations of texts, in their meta-analysis, Mousavi and Tahmasbi (2019) studied a representative sample of fourteen empirical studies regarding the Hypothesis carried out in different settings and between different language-pairs over the past three decades. The results of their meta-analysis demonstrated that empirical data has failed to confirm the Hypothesis as roughly 60% of the studies have refuted it while the remaining 40% have lent support to it. For example, as Koskinen and Paloposki (2004) argued, although many retranslations do conform to Berman’s model, “there are no inherent qualities in the process of retranslating that would dictate a move from domesticating strategies towards more foreignizing strategies.” (p.36) Cipriani (2019) empirically examined the modernist features of Woolf’s novel to test Berman’s Retranslation Hypothesis. The results of her study only partially confirmed Berman’s Hypothesis. In another study, Vahid Dastjerdi and Mohammadi (2013) also partially supported the Hypothesis. They demonstrated a more source-text oriented nature for re- translations in an attempt of the translators to keep the original stylistic features intact. Thus, it can be claimed that the Hypothesis is valid to some extent in this respect. Based on the analysis of the examples from the selected chapters in his case study, Feng (2014) verified the Hypothesis as true, though not all items compared (such as titles of chapters and vocabulary) support it. Likewise, Desmidt (2009) examined 52 German and 18 Dutch versions of a children’s classic book with respect to the Retranslation Hypothesis. She argued that, though some more recent versions were oriented toward the original, a clash of norms ultimately did not allow the Hypothesis to hold good. She concluded that the Hypothesis does not have a general value, and might be valid to some extent, but only if it is not formulated in absolute terms. 

2.2 Motivations behind retranslation

Several motives have been hypothesized for re-translation. In some cases, re-translations are due to a lack of communication or information, i.e. the translator does not have the knowledge of a pre-existing translation and may not be aware of the presence of an earlier translation (Feng, 2014). This is what Pym (1998, p.82) termed as “passive retranslations”. Gambier (1994 as cited in Koskinen and Paloposki, 2004) states that “[…] a first translation always tends to be more assimilating, tends to reduce the otherness in the name of cultural or editorial requirements […] The retranslation, in this perspective, would mark a return to the source text” (p.414). “Active retranslation” stands against “passive” and forms the motives discussed in the present research. One such motive is ‘aging’. Generally, retranslations are associated with the ‘aging’ and expiration of translated texts. If a translation is very old, and the language and style become outdated, a new translation (especially of a classic work) will be necessary for a contemporary readership. Mokhber (1388/2009), a senior Iranian professional translator, in an interview with Mehr News Agency claimed that there is a continuous necessity for the retranslation of classic works matching the taste of a variety of generations. Poucke (2017) is also in favor of retranslations of classic works due to the aging of the earlier ones and that they need to be updated. Payandeh(1394/2015) asserts that some of Shakespeare’s plays were first translated into Farsi in the late Archimedes Era in Iran; after almost a century, now the language of those translations may be weird to the contemporary readership. He believes that this would gradually weaken the classic literature due to the hardship of reading the works. Berman (1990) suggests that “while originals remain forever ‘young’, translations will age with the passage of time, thus giving rise to a need for new translations” (p.1).

Another motive behind Retranslation is ‘perfection’. Re-translations exist because ‘great translations’ of these texts are so rare. Retranslation will be an improvement on the previous translations (Mathijssen, 2007). Berman (1990) claims that initial translations reduce the ‘otherness’ of the source text and re-translations are considered to be more efficient in conveying the previously reduced ‘otherness’ of the source text because the target audience becomes acquainted with the text through the ‘introduction-translation.’ For example, Payandeh (1394/2015) refers to Manoochehr Badi’ee’s Farsi retranslation of the famous novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce which came to the market years after Darioush Ashouri’s first translation of the novel. As Payandeh (1394/2015) put it, although Ashouri’s translation was great, Badi’ee’s translation was much perfect in terms of equivalences and paratextual additions for a better understanding of the cultural and (Catholic) religious background of the novel.

Although some scholars have criticized Retranslation as ‘wasteful’ (Almberg, 1995, p.926), it is still there. He argued that retranslation is necessary even if a good translation of the same work already exists. He maintained that the re-translator could benefit from the older translations and try to achieve ‘perfection’. For example, Najafi explains that despite the existence of re-translations of The Little Prince by great Iranian translators, Ghazi and Shamloo, he decided to re-translate it to complete their translations due to non-observance of linguistic ranks and errors.

Some scholars also suggest that “changing social contexts and the evolution of translation norms” (Brownlie, 2006, p.150) contribute greatly to the motives for retranslation. This motive follows Pym’s (1998) concept of ‘active retranslation’. He argues that a possible reason for active retranslation is in “disagreements over translation strategies” or the norms for translation and is a symptom of conflicts between people or groups within the target culture. Pym excludes, however, passive retranslations (for the reason of ‘aging of translations’), or those separated by synchronic boundaries (for geopolitical or dialectological reasons), that constitute no conflict and only reflect the changing attitude of (a part of) the target culture and may confront the beliefs of two cultures set apart in time or space. As Desmidt (2009) put it, “retranslations result from the wish to meet the requirements of the receiving culture, requirements that are not (no longer or not entirely) met by the existing translation(s). As cultures continuously change, every generation may take a different view on what is a good, i.e., functional, translation and may ask for the creation of a new translation” (p.670). Snell-Hornby (1988) argues that literary translation is an act of communication” and the initial translation “loses its communicative function as a work of literature within a continually shifting cultural system” (pp.113-114). Then, the need to create new translations arises. This can be reflected in the Farsi translations of the world’s literary works before and after the Islamic Revolution of Iran. For example, the initial translation of the novel “Tin Tin” was first published in 1971 before the Islamic Revolution. The second translation appeared in 1980 after the Islamic Revolution when a different cultural system was adopted. Furthermore, Almberg noted that language is changing all the time, so a work deserves as many as seven or eight translations or retranslations. Good literary works are written in a powerful language and are psychologically penetrating. Different translators may have different interpretations of the same work, no matter the time or historical periods and in their attempts to re-translate the work into a different language, their word choice and writing style may also be different. This is beneficial for both readers of the re-translations, who are offered an opportunity to choose from a variety of versions to read, and TS scholars, who will have different versions of a translation to conduct their research. As concluded by Mousavi and Tahmasbi (2019), all the studies on Retranslation shared one finding: apart from ‘aging’ of the translations, there are more important motives giving rise to retranslation including source and target literary norms, translational norms, ideology, socio-political relations, translators’ attitude and experience, and so forth.

2.3 The three Iranian translators’ motivations for re-translating the novel

Three of the most typical and known translations and retranslations of The Little Prince as judged by reviewers are those of Ghazi, Shamloo and Najafi. These three great translators of the novel stated their motivation for (re)translating it in the following way).

The first principle that Ghazi has used in his translation is consistency among various parts. In other words, he has employed sentences and expressions correctly and delicately. To make it understandable to readers, he also has added material that was never mentioned in ST. It can be argued that the level of language and the style of the ST have been transferred correctly. He has translated words and sentences in line with TL culture and with a more slang style in his translation. He sought to convey the concept and meaning while adhering to a simple and understandable style. He has used more obsolete words in his translation, that’s why it is more classical.  

Shamloo has used his specific style in translation. His translation is considered free. The remarkable point is that, not only he was not faithful to the Exupéry style, but also has used words and expressions which are far from their original concept. He also has brought the language of translation very close to the TL. In his translation, the level of language has changed a lot and dropped to the level of colloquial language. In his translation, we are dealing with a kind of colloquialism. Moreover, there is no semantic error in his translation and only in some cases, minor mistakes are visible. He has used spoken language and strategies which cause to create the product which is keeping the naturalness according to Persian sentences. 

Najafi has used a more formal style than the other two translators. He has used written language for transferring the meaning. If the sentence structure of his translation is investigated, it can be seen that he employed all sentence elements in their correct place in written Persian as the verb is used at the end of the sentence and place of the sentence components such as subject, object, and other components have been observed in wording by Najafi whereas Shamloo and Ghazi have used the spoken language which people use in their daily interactions.

3. Methods

3.1 Retranslation Hypothesis

The Retranslation Hypothesis was originally proposed in 1990 by the French translation scholar Antoine Berman. This hypothesis, which was called as such by Chesterman in 2000, refers to Berman’s contention that retranslations mark progress in translation because by bringing the translated text closer to the source text, they ‘restore’ the deficiencies in initial translations. In other words, as Skibińska (2015) put it, “retranslation is a process of improvement from one (re)translation to the next” (p.1). Thus, retranslations emerge because of the assimilated and defective status of first translations.

Berman suggests that earlier translations differ from later ones in that they tend to be domesticating compared with the latter which tend to be closer to the source text. They are closer to the source text because they “do not need to address the issue of introducing the text: they can, instead, maintain the cultural distance” (Koskenin & Paloposki 2004, p.27). That is to say, retranslations are more “efficient in conveying the previously assimilated ‘otherness’ of the foreign material because the target audience will have become acquainted with the text through the ‘introduction-translation’” (Mathijssen, 2007, p.17). Thus, the first translations are not 'true' or 'good' translations because they serve to introduce foreign works at the expense of the peculiarities of the foreign text.

Berman highlights the role of this hypothesis in translation criticism because it sheds light on the defective nature of first translations, paving the way for retranslations. Criticizing foreign works and their translations in the receiving culture help to pave the way for more literal translations of the foreign text. This is only possible if there is a distance between the first translations and retranslations. According to Vanderschelden (2000), this distance is necessary for Berman because it permits a new interpretation of the foreign works and could be used in “support of a more literal translation” (p.10). From this viewpoint, earlier translations tend to be target-oriented, whereas successive retranslations tend to follow a linear development toward source-oriented translation. Berman suggests that an inherent ‘failure’ is at its peak in the first translations. He hypothesizes that the first translations are usually domesticated or target-oriented and re-translations tend to be foreignized or source-oriented. Berman (1990) argued that “the translation of literary works is an ‘incomplete act’, and only through retranslations can it strive for completion” (p.1). By ‘completion’ he means that Retranslation is usually ‘closer’ to the ST. The hypothesis has been tested by several subsequent scholars who have criticized it as being too simplistic. 

3.2 Pym’s typology of translation 

As for examining the source or target orientation of the re-translations used in this study, Pym’s (2018) typology of translation solutions was employed. The typology has one default category (‘cruise mode’ translating, as when an airplane is cruising at altitude; all goes well) and ‘bump mode’ (as when there is a ‘bump’ and something needs to be done). To handle cases of bump mode, eight main solution types can be consciously used by translators for problem-solving. These solutions, as claimed by Pym (2018, pp.43-33) move from close-to-the-text to greater translatorial intervention. A summary of them exemplified by examples between English and Persian follows.

Copying Words: where items from one language are brought across to another. This may be on the phonetic level (e.g. /footbāll/), morphology (e.g. /asemān-xarāsh/ in Frasi for the English ‘skyscraper’) or script (e.g. /Makdonāld/ in Farsi for McDonald).

Copying Structures: Syntactic or compositional structures are brought across from one language into another, as in /havāpeymā miravad ke forood āyad/ in Farsi borrowed from the English structure ‘the plane is going to land’.

Perspective Change: An object is seen from a different point of view including changes between positive and negative or between passive and active structures, as in /ādam-e kāmelan dast-o delbāzi ast/ in Farsi translated into English ‘He is by no means stingy’. 

Density Change: This is a change in which the amount of information available in a given textual space is reduced by spreading it over a greater textual space, using explicitation, generalization, etc., as the English word ‘stampede’translated into Farsi by multiple words /zamin xordan va āsib didan-e goruhi az heyvānāt ya ensānhā hengām-e gozar az yek makān-e bārik/.

Resegmentation: The splitting or joining of sentences; re-paragraphing; generally changing the order of text parts at sentence level or above. For example, translating the English sentence ‘the man in black suit sitting on the corner is my brother whom I told you about’ translated into Farsi as /mardi ke ānja neshaste ast barādar-e man ast. u lebāse mashki pushide ast. Qablan darbāreash bā to sohbat karde budam/. 

Compensation: A value is rendered with resources different from those of the start text and in a textual position or linguistic level markedly different from that in the start text. A classic example is the English word ‘waitress’ translated into Farsi as /pish-xedmat-e zan/ (female waiter) or the Farsi word /u:/ translated into English as ‘he’ or ‘she’ or ‘it’.  

Cultural Correspondence: Different elements in different cultures are presented as carrying out similar functions, as in the case of corresponding idioms such as the English proverb ‘carry coal to Newcastle’ translated into Farsi as /zire be kermān bordan/ or ‘wanted’ translated into English as /āgahi/ or the Farsi /khodāhāfez/ translated into English as ‘see you later’.   

Text Tailoring: Semantic or performative material in the start text is deleted, updated, or added on the levels of form and content. For example, the English sentence ‘What could be happening in there, now that for the first time animals and human beings were meeting on terms of equality?’ (with a questioning mood) is translated into Farsi as /mixāstand bebinand dar ānjā ke barāy-e avalin bār basher va heyvān dar sharāyet-e mosāvi kenār-e ham hastand che migozarad/ or the English sentence ‘He was dressed in blue jeans and he carried a big push-broom in his left hand’ translated into Farsi as /shalvār-e li ābi be pa dāsht va parooy-e bozorgi ham dar dast dāsht/.

4. Data Analysis

For ease of comparison, the solutions used by the translators were shown on a continuum with source-oriented and target-oriented translations at each extreme. Similarities or differences in the solutions employed by the re-translators indicated the (partial) approval or rejection of the Retranslation Hypothesis. To evaluate TTs, sentences, and phrases of English text were compared and contrasted against the three translations. Following that, those samples were examined based on Pym’s (2018) category to determine the orientation of the TTs based on a time interval. 

Example 1

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

ساکت در برابر مجموعه ای از بطری های خالی

صم بکم پشت یک مشت بطری خالی

ساکت و خاموش در پشت تعداد زیادی بطری خالی

Settled down in silence before a collection of empty bottles.

Copying words

Cultural correspondence

Text Tailoring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Target-oriented

8

Ghazi

7

Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

 

In this example, Ghazi has added a word /sāket-o xāamush/ which is not mentioned in the original text. One word in ST is split into two words in TT1 which demonstrates that the translator has tailored his translation to the formal style of Farsi language in which synonyms normally occur together. Likewise, he has used /te’dād-e ziadi/ instead of ‘collection’. Shamloo has translated this word (silence) differently and brought his translation closer to the target culture. He has used an Arabic expression /sommon bokm/ which culturally corresponds to what is commonly used by Persian speakers. He also has translated ‘a collection’ as /yek mosht/ which is common in Farsi. However, Najafi in a literal style has replaced every word in the original text with a corresponding word in the target one /sāket dar barābar-e majmooe’I …/. This indicates that the translator is oriented towards the original text.

 Example 2

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

میخواره این را گفت و یکسره به حالت سکوت رفت.

این را گفت و قال را کند و به کلی خاموش شد.

میخواره که به یکباره مهر سکوت بر لب زد، گفت.

The tippler brought his speech to an end and shut himself up in an impregnable silence.

Copying structure

Cultural correspondence

Cultural correspondence

 

 

Target-oriented

8

7

Ghazi & Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

Najafi

1

Source-oriented

The translations presented by Ghazi and Shamloo for the phrase ‘shut himself up in an impregnable silence’ culturally corresponds with the target expressions /mohr-e sokut bar lab zad/ and /qāl rā kand va be koli xāmush shod/ which are more familiar to target readers. These indicate a more target orientation of the translators. However, Najafi has copied the structure of the original text into his translation /be hālat-e sokut raft/.

Example 3

ST

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

And he lay down in the grass and cried. I am so unhappy

و همانطور که روی علفها دراز کشیده بود، به گریه افتاد.انقدر غصه به دل دارم.

رو سبزه ها دراز شد و حالا گریه نکن کی گریه کن چه قدر دلم گرفته.

و روی سبزه ها دراز کشید و گریه کرد. من خیلی غمگینم.

 

Text tailoring

Cultural correspondence

Copying words

 

 

 

 

 

 

Target-oriented

8

Ghazi

7

Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

Ghazi has formally extended his translation /be gerye oftad. Ānqadr qosse be del dāram/ which indicates that he has tailored it to the target style and made it closer to the form used in Farsi. Close to what is used by the Persian speakers, Shamloo’s translation culturally corresponds with their style /hālā gerye nakon kei gerye kon. Cheqadr delam gerefte/. However, Najafi has more literally translated and copied each word in ST with one in TT /…gerye kard. man xeili qamginam/, indicating that his orientation is oriented more towards ST.

 Example 4

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

کسلم می کند. ولی تو اگر مرا اهلی کنی،زندگیم چنان روشن خواهد شد که انگار نور افتاب برآن تابیده است.

خلقم را تنگ می کند. اما اگر تو منو اهلی کنی انگار که زندگیم را چراغان کرده باشی.

اوقات به کسالت می گذرد. ولی تو اگر مرا اهلی کنی، زندگی من همچون خورشید روشن خو اهد شد.

I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life

Copying words

Cultural correspondence

Text tailoring

 

 

Target-oriented

8

Ghazi

7

Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

Text tailoring has been used in TT1. Ghazi has translated the adjective ‘bored’into a phrase. This indicates that he has extended his translation /oqāt be kesālat migozarad .zendegi man hamchon xorshid roshan xāhad shod/.According to the definition of cultural correspondence which is mentioned in Pym’s category, different elements in different cultures are presented as carrying out similar functions. Shamloo has translated the adjective 'bored ’to /xolqam rā tang mikonad. Engār zendigam rā cherāqān kardeh bāshi/ which is functionally acceptable and has been translated based on target culture. But in the last one, the structure of the ST has been transferred in a literal translation /keselam mikonad. Engār noore āftāb bar ān tābideh ast/ it indicates that translation orientation is from the target to the source one.

Example 5 

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

فقط با چشم دل می توان خوب دید.اصل چیز ها ازچشم سر پنهان است.

جز با دل هیچی را چنان که باید نمی شود دید. نهاد و گوهر را چشمِ سر نمی بیند.

بدان که جز با چشم دل

نمی توان خوب دید. آنچه اصل است، از دیده پنهان است.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye

Copying words

Perspective change

Perspective change

 

 

Target-oriented

8

 

7

 

6

5

4

3

Ghazi &  Shamloo

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

Modulation as part of the perspective change in Pym’s model has occurred in both TT1 and TT2. Ghazi and Shamloo both have translated based on the negation of opposite so that they have changed the point of view in their products/ nemitavān xoob did/ and / nemishavad did/ by using the negative affix. But the TT3 has been done the same as the ST form /faqat bā cheshm-e del mitavān xoob did/.

 Example 6

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

صدای پاهای دیگرمرا به سوراخم در زیر زمین میراند.

صدای پای دیگران مرا وادار می کند تو هفت تا سوراخ قایم بشوم.

صدای پاهای دیگر مرا به سوراخ فرو خواهد برد.

Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground.

Copying words

Resegmentation

Text tailoring

 

 

Target-oriented

8

Ghazi 

7

 

6

5

Shamloo

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

In TT1, the translator has used text tailoring by making changes, adding or omitting parts of the text. For instance, Ghazi has omitted ‘underneath ground’ and instead, has brought /be surāx fouru xāhad bord/ to transfer the same concept and make the massage comprehensible in the target culture. TT2 has undergone resegmentation. Shamloo has changed the sentence sequence by adding another concept to his translation / tu haft tā surāx qāyem beshavam/. But in TT3, Najafi has used copying and has similarly brought the words of the ST in his translation /be surāxam dar zirzamin mirānad/.

Example 7

ST

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

Shamloo (1358/1979) TT2

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

They are "lucky," the switchman said.

ترجمه ندارد

بخت، یارِ بچه هاست.

خوشا به حال بچه ها!

 

Text tailoring

Cultural correspondence

Perspective change

 

Target-oriented

8

Ghazi

7

Shamloo 

6

5

4

3

Najafi

2

1

 

Source-oriented

       

Ghazi has omitted this part of the ST which is a type of text tailoring. However, Shamloo has appealed to cultural correspondence and translated ‘they are lucky’ into / baxt yār-e…/. Najafi has appealed to a change of perspective, i.e. the particular word ‘lucky’ has been translated into general/ xoshā behāl-e/. This indicates that the translation orientation is from the target to the source.

Example 8

ST

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

That frightens me... I cannot, any more

وا! زهره ام آب شد! دیگر خمیازه ام نمی آید.

آخر این جوری من دست و پایم را گم می کنم... دیگر نمی توانم.

اخر هول شده ام دیگر خمیازه ام نمی اید.

 

Cultural correspondence

Cultural correspondence

Copying words

 

Target-oriented

8

 

7

Shamloo & Ghazi

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

Ghazi and Shamloo have presented a cultural translation of ‘frightens me’ /vā zahr-e-am āb shod/ and / dast-o pāyam rā gom mikonam/ as used in ST. However, Najafi has translated the ST into /hol shodeh-am/ which is more literal and closer to the ST phrase.

Example 9

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

اخر.... وقتی که خیلی غمگین باشی دوست داری که غروب ها افتاب را تماشا کنی.

خودت که می دانی... وقتی آدم خیلی دلش گرفته باشد از تماشای غروب لذت میبرد.

تو که می دانی... آدم وقتی زیاد دلش گرفته باشد، غروب خورشید را دوست می دارد...

You know− one loves the sunset when one is so sad

Copying words

Cultural correspondence

Cultural correspondence

 

 

Target-oriented

8

 

7

Ghazi & Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

Ghazi and Shamloo have translated the clause ‘…when one is so sad’ through finding the cultural correspondence of the clause, thus have translated it as natural as it is used in the Persian culture to make a more tangible product /delash gerefte bāshad/. Najafi, however, has translated the clause more literally by keeping the same form /xeili qamgin bāshi/.

Example 10

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979) TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

نه!نه! من هیچ خیالی نمیکنم...

ای داد بیداد! ای داد بیداد! نه، من هیچ کوفتی فکر نمی کنم!

نه والله، نه! هیچ خیالی نمی کنم

Oh, no!" I cried. "No, no no! I don't believe anything

Copying words

Cultural correspondence

Cultural correspondence

 

 

Target-oriented

8

 

7

Ghazi & Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

Here, different translations have been presented for the words ‘No, no no’. In TT1 and TT2, the translators have appealed to cultural correspondence. Both translations are more familiar to the target readers as they use them in their culture/ na vāllā na.../ and / ey dād-e bidād/. In TT3, Najafi has employed copying words / na na…/ and his translation is more ST oriented.

Example 11

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979) TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

حیرت زده نگاهم کرد: کار جدی!

هاج و واج نگاهم کرد و گفت: -مساله ی مهم!

هاج و واج به من نگاه کرد: کارهای جدی!

He stared at me, thunderstruck. Matter of consequence

Copying words

Cultural correspondence

Cultural correspondence

 

 

Target-oriented

8

 

7

Ghazi & Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

Here, for the adjective ‘thunderstruck’, Ghazi and Shamloo have used cultural correspondence and their translations are carrying out similar functions / hāj-o vāj/. In TT3, Najafi has brought words from ST to TT / heirat zadeh/, indicating that his translation is closer to the ST.

Example 12

ST

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

But I was too young to know how to love her

ولی من بسیار خام تر از

آن بودم که بدانم چگونه باید دوستش بدارم.

اما خب دیگر، من خام تراز آن بودم که راهِ دوست داشتنش را بدانم

ولی من بسیار جوان بودم و هنوز نمیدانستم که چگونه باید او را دوست بدارم.

 

Cultural correspondence

Cultural correspondence

Copying words

 

Target-oriented

8

 

7

Ghazi & Shamloo

6

5

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

As for the translation of the phrase ‘I was too young’, TT1 and TT2 are functionally more acceptable in the target culture, and the sense of the ST / xām tar az ān boodam/ has been transferred. In TT3, copying words has been used / javān boodam/.

Example 13

Najafi (1379/2000)

TT3

Shamloo (1358/1979)

TT2

Ghazi (1333/1954)

TT1

ST

ولی خاطرم اسوده نبود. به یاد روباه افتادم . اگر کسی تن به اهلی شدن بدهد بسا که باید کمی هم گریه کند.

منتها من خاطر جمع نبودم. به یاد روباه افتادم: اگر آدم گذاشت اهلیش کنند. بفهمی نفهمی خودش را به این خطر انداخته که کارش به گریه کردن بکشد.

اما من خاطر جمع نبودم. به یاد حرف روباه افتادم آدم اگر تن به اهلی شدن داده باشد، باید پیه گریه کردن را به تن خود بمالد.

 

But I was not reassured. I remembered the fox. One runs the risk of weeping a little if one lets himself be tamed.

Copying words

 Resegmentation

Cultural correspondence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Target-oriented

8

 

7

Ghazi

6

5

Shamloo

4

3

2

1

Najafi

Source-oriented

As for the phrase‘One runs the risk of weeping a little’, Ghazi’s translation can be categorized as cultural correspondence /piy-e gerye kardan rā be xod bemālad/. In TT2, Shamloo has employed resegmentation by changing the sentence sequence. To do so, he has added another concept and replaced the second sentence with the last one/ kārash be gerye kardan bioftad/. It can be understood that both TT1 and TT2 are target-oriented. However, in TT3, the translator has used the copying words strategy and the words in ST have been directly carried to TT / gerye konad/.

5. Discussion

The total number of cases selected and analyzed from the source text (The Little Prince) and their (re)translations by Ghazi, Shamloo and Najafi revealed that earlier translators (in our case Ghazi and Shamloo) had been largely oriented toward the target language and culture in their translations which appear to follow the latest typologies of Pym’s (2018) translation solutions. The results reversely showed that the later translator (in our case Najafi) was to a large extent oriented towards the source text and culture following the initial typologies of Pym’s translation solutions. 

The most possible reason refers to Ghazi or Shamloo’s writing style or the stylistic norms of the time. At his time, it was not customary for translators to be faithful to the author. Ghazi or Shamloo were not exceptions, thus in his translation of The Little Price he was more faithful to the target language style and readers’ expectancies and had his translating style. However, after the Islamic Revolution, as maintained by Mousavi and Tahmasbi (2019), more important motivations gave rise to retranslation in Iran including a shift toward source text literary norms. Translators’ were committed to the literary norms of the source text and the style of the original author as required by publishers and translation agendas. Najafi (at least in his post-Revolution translations) was an instance of this style of translation, thus his translation of The Little Prince is regarded as more source-oriented, and has kept committed to the Exupéry style.

Another possible reason is that in earlier translations (as with Ghazi’s translation of The Little Prince), translators are normally concerned with the reception of the translation in the target community and by target readers; hence, they deploy a transparent, fluent style to decrease the foreignness of ST and make it familiar to the target readers and their culture. As for later translations, translators have no such concern as it has already been introduced to the target community and perhaps received by them. These arguments confirm Berman’s (1990) claim that earlier translators naturalize the ST and create a target-oriented translation, and later ones serve to introduce the foreign works at the expense of the peculiarities of the foreign text, thus foreignize the ST and create a source-oriented translation. The above line of argument also confirms Koskenin and Paloposki’s (2004) claim that earlier translations differ from later ones in that they tend to be domesticating compared with the latter which tend to be closer to the source text. Later translations are closer to the source text because they “do not need to address the issue of introducing the text: they can, instead, maintain the cultural distance” (p.27) and Mathijssen’s (2007) claim that retranslations are more “efficient in conveying the previously assimilated ‘otherness’ of the foreign material, because the target audience will have become acquainted with the text through the ‘introduction-translation’.” (p.17)

The findings of the study can also be rationalized in the communities’ concern (both by translators and readers) that earlier translations are not ‘true’ or ‘good’ but are deficient ones or even are aged. As Ghazi and Shamloo (and many other first translators of a work) knew that he was the first translator of The Little Prince, it can be maintained that he was very careful not to have deficiencies and present a ‘good’ and ‘true’ translation of the novel. However, Najafi (and other translators of the same novel) was aware that the great translation of the novel has already been offered, and did his best to improve on the deficiencies, thus kept committed to the source or original text. This argument also confirms Berman’s (1990) claim that retranslations mark progress in translation because by bringing the translated text closer to the source text, they ‘restore’ the deficiencies in earlier translations and Skibińska (2015) claim that “retranslation is a process of improvement from one (re)translation to the next” (p.1). Thus, retranslations emerge because of the assimilated and defective status of earlier translations. As stated by Mousavi and Tahmasbi (2019), apart from aging and improvement, several other reasons might have given rise to retranslations of The Little Prince including translational norms, ideology, socio-political relations, translators’ attitude and experience, and so forth.

Importantly, the results of the study are partially consistent with Mousavi and Tahmasbi’s (2019) meta-analysis that only forty percent of research has confirmed the Retranslation Hypothesis. The results also are in partial support of the findings by Vahid Dastjerdi and Mohammadi (2013) who revealed a more source-oriented nature for retranslations in an attempt of the translators to keep the original stylistic features intact.

6. Concluding Remarks

This study largely supported Berman’s Retranslation Hypothesis that earlier translations are more target-oriented and later retranslations are more source-oriented. The hypothesis was confirmed by a great majority of the selected cases analyzed. Taken together, it was shown that Shamloo and Ghazi have used their specific target-oriented and fluent style of translation, but Najafi has committed himself more to the source text and Exupéry style. 

Retranslation is a process that occurs in time to restore the deficiencies in the first translation(s). For this reason, retranslation constitutes progress, an improvement, and an accomplishment. This accomplishment is made possible because of the increasing awareness of the defects and assimilated aspects of a first translation which becomes clear through the process of retranslating itself. Retranslations, as Berman argues, are a form of translation criticism because they shed light on the poor status of the earlier translations.

From the above-mentioned discussion, the following points can be speculated. In terms of necessity, Retranslation is not only necessary but also important, as they add value to the original work (ST). In terms of motives, changing social contexts play a key role, and both the re-translator and the publisher intend to establish the difference from the pre-existing (re)translations. In terms of the relationships between the initial translation and the re-translation, the former tends to be more domesticated, while the latter tends to take a foreignizing approach. These differences are mainly guided by social or ideological premises. Thus, it can be claimed that the Hypothesis is valid to some extent in this respect.

The findings of this study not only can help to identify the inclination of the re-translations of the novel toward the source or target languages and cultures but also can help professional translators to understand the motivation. The findings further prove to be useful to the translators of foreign works in that they show the approach applied by the first and later translators. In addition, the findings can be of great help to the publishers and editors of literary translations, in terms of the necessity of producing retranslations over time or reprinting first translations to achieve a better publishing market for young adults and adults. 

 



[1] http://opac.nlai.ir

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