Translation of Dialectal Words and Aesthetic Features: Baba Tahir’s Couplets with Implications for Translanguaging in the EFL Classroom

Document Type : Original Article


1 MA in Translation Studies, English Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Ershad-Damavand University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of TEFL, English Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Ershad-Damavand University, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor of TEFL, Department of Foreign Languages, Language Center, Imam Sadiq University, Tehran, Iran



Poetry translation deals with many difficulties as translators need to consider socio-cultural, linguistic, dialect, and aesthetic aspects. The poetry translation involves the interpretation of the real meaning of the main text and creates a readable and enjoyable poem in target language as a literary text. Thus, to address such an important aspect, translators have to consider language standardization and signals to the audience. The do-baytis of Baba Tahir written in Fahlavyiat, have specific dialect and aesthetic features in rhyme and meter. This research analyzed the strategies used in two translations of the traditional Iranian couplets - an English prose by Heron-Allen (1902) and a back-translation of English poetry based on Heron-Allen prose by Curtis Brenton (1902). The analysis was grounded on domestication and foreignization. The results show that the dialect was standardized and foreignized through paratextual references. Upon sharing the results with a group of Iranian EFL students in a translanguaging task, it was revealed that they have limited awareness regarding the translation of literary works from Persian to English.  The findings can raise the awareness of professional translators, translator educators, translation students and teachers and those involved in literary translation. 


1. Introduction

Translation of dialect in various texts and genres is of interest to research community in Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS). While a fairly large number of studies have explored strategies to render dialect in literary works, such an important aesthetic feature is relatively neglected in poetry translation. In the Persian literature, there is a paucity of data on rending dialects represented in poetry. The treatment of dialect in the translation of the couplets into English in terms of the adopted strategies to ascertain the translatability or non-translatability of dialectical words and features in the target text is the primary purpose of this study. Anvari (2003, p. 6309) defines dialect as a language related to his own standard language that “has different words and grammatical constructions”, thus, the compactness in style and uniqueness in wording are significant elements to find the fullness of the poet’s desired idea (Nord2010).

Bonaffini (1997) believes that dialect carries particular meanings and nuances and its omission in translation would be consequential. The scholar believes      that dialect coveys a different level of meaning and if the translator fails to translate a particular dialect, the target text would be regarded as “flattened” (p. 279). Literary translation, including poetry, is of particular importance, especially when the original text is accompanied by a dialect that refers not only to an independent feature but also to a particular literary style as the main component of the text. Bonaffini (1997, p. 285) refers to the dialect of the original text as “non-translatable ness’ due to “its semantic opacity” and believes in such cases, the correct use of colloquial words and specific terms, limited to the custom of a particular place or period, can be of great help to translators. 

The sensitivity of the role of the translator in poetry translation that offers effective methods has been discussed under such headings as the Translator’s visibility (Venuti1995, p. 308), the Translator’s voice (Hermans1996, p. 27-30), and Thumbprint (Leech & Short, 198. p. 11-12). The concept of the translator's voice was first introduced by Venuti (1995) who calls for the use of non-fluent, non-standard, and inhomogeneous language with the original text, instead of localization to highlight the presence and voice of the translator. 

This article aims to focus on translatability and non-translatability of dialectal words. Besides probing the translatability of dialect in the examined translations of Baba Tahir’s selected couplets, two of the authors shared the findings with students in an EFL class to merge the latest trend of language teaching called translanguaging in which the role of translation and L1 cultural and literary heritage of students are foregrounded for the first time in the niche area of translation education.    

For the purposes of this study, the following questions are proposed:  

1.  What are dialectal features at the word, phrase and grammatical levels found in Baba Tahir’s couplets?

2.  What are the strategies used by Heron-Allen (1902) and Curtis Brenton (1902) to transfer dialectal words and features in Baba Tahir’s Quatrains? 

3.   What are the perceptions of 10 Iranian EFL students on challenges to translate Baba Tahir's poetry?  

2. Review of the Related Literature

Baba Tahir lived in the ancient Persian capital of ‘Ecbatana’ (Hagmataneh) or present-day Hamadan in the late fourth century AH (11th century AD). Fahlavi or Pahlavi poems are couplets, songs, or melodies that are important in terms of poetic meter. This is a statement emphasized by Malek al-Sho’arai Bahar in his research article “Poetry in Iran”, and Jalaluddin Homayi in his lecture entitled “Rudaki and the Invitation of the Quatrain.” Quatrain and couplet (Ruba’I and do-bayti) are often folk tunes, poems and the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of society were passed down from generations by word of mouth. The language of the couplet is simple and unaffected, and the composers of these songs have a simple worldview. The poetic formats of couplet and quatrain were common in the Sassanid era and both differ in terms of meter (Kadkani1991). 

As noted by Shams Qais (1935, p. 129), the meter of ‘do-baytis’ are written in a straightforward variety of ‘hazaj’ (hazaj mosaddas maḥḏūf   هزج مسدس محذوف) to distinguish from ‘ruba’i’, which is formed in another meter (hazj mussamn maqsoorهزج مثمن مقصور). He refers to the linguistic similarity of the examples from Fahlavi’s couplets with many couplets attributed to Baba Tahir indicating the dialect of the poet was very close to Fahlavi (ibid: 1935, p. 131). The attention of Baba Tahir’s poem is to the tenderness of his feelings, which at that time was yet to been molded into Sufism sayings and works. Innovative and metaphorical similes and metaphors, as well as simple and unaffected expressions, along with local condiments, create qualities that are desirable and pleasing to the audience. Citing information on Baba Tahir in the book ‘Rahatu‘s-Sudur wa Ayatu’s-Surur’ kept in the Schefer Collection in Paris, E. G Browne as noted by Heron-Allen and  Browne (1902in its introduction acknowledges through unpublished information that the poet’s life was in the middle of the 11th century AD. 

Geographical deviation as a structural art in Baba Tahir couplets leads to stylistic individuality. It is noteworthy that the original version of the couplets has changed over time and is closer to Persian.  Until now, researchers have expressed different views on the main roots of Baba Tahir’s dialect. While Heron-Allen and Browne (1902) mention in its introduction, some of them, there is still no consensus over the poet’s dialect. Referring to Baba Tahir’s dialect, which is rooted in the ancient literature of his homeland, Heron-Allen and Browne (1902) acknowledge in its introduction that incomplete collection of poems and a table of phonetic equivalents as well as the transmission of the dialect by different people over the centuries, has not diminished its attractiveness and beauty among readers. In his translation, Heron-Allen has tried to recreate a literary text in prose, relying on the introduction and footnotes.

In an age of union and globalization, where a common language is used to encourage communications among nations and boost homogenization, and where the features and characteristics of minority and scattered groups may be eliminated by global and larger communities, dialects have a special role in the culture. When a dialect is considered in the written language as a variant ‘other’ of national language, the concept of the author’s mystical, historical, and social identity cannot be expressed by the uniformity of ‘standard language’ (Bonaffini 1997, p. 279). 

3. Methodology

For the purposes of this study, an English prose by Heron-Allen (1902and a back-translation of English poetry based on Heron-Allen prose by Curtis Brenton (1902) were investigated to find traces of the poet’s dialect. This study adopts a descriptive-analytical approach, examining the corpus through Venuti’s (1995) strategies of domestication and foreignization.  

 Figure 1

The movement of foreignization and domestication (Venuti, 1995, pp. 19-20) and strategies applied by the translator

In the first phase of the study, lexical, grammatical and phrasal elements representing Baba Tahir’s dialect were identified in the source text. Subsequently, their English equivalents were mapped and tallied with references to paratexts, including the footnotes, introduction, parenthetical notes and glossary entries. Next, the strategies used to render the Persian poet’s dialect were analyzed by Venuti’s approach and further expanded through standardization and contextualization of dialectical words, phrases and grammar.  

In order to match some dialectal words in the case of meaning and spelling, Azkai’s book “Baba Tahir Nameh (Azkaei,1996), Common Pahlavi words in Luri, Laki and Kurdi Languages (KaramianGh. 2015), Vahid Dastgerdi (1976 cited in Azkaei, 1996, pp. 255-292), Muhammad ibn Ibrahim known as Khatib Vaziri edited by Javad Maghsoud (1975, cited in Azkaei1996, pp.255-292), Alaeddin Pazargadi (2003), Dehkhoda Dictionary (Dehkhoda, 1931), Moin Dictionary (1972), and the book Borhan Qate (Khalaf Tabrizi, 1652) were used. Additionally, the transliteration of the couplets is based on the general signs of Persian transliteration, with references to the book Phonetic Construction of Language, a Discussion about the Sounds of Language and its System (Meshkat-Dini1985).

4. Data Analysis

It was revealed that in the process of translation, Heron-Allen attempted to increase the audience’s understanding of Baba Tahir’s social dialect by using hypertextual elements embedded in some parts of the translated texts including footnotes, parenthetical note and the translator’s introduction. The detailed analysis of dialect translation in Baba Tahir’s poetry is presented in the following subsections.

4.1. Dialectal Representation at the Lexical and Phrasal Levels 

Table 1

The Equivalents of dialectal words at the word, phrase, & grammatical levels

Dialectal words


Standard SL






Frequency of occurrence (Total 62)





pp. 23, 25, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 51, 52, 56, 60, 62





pp. 31, 32, 35, 48, 51, 56

پوته (بوته)

elimination of خ



p. 26

(سخون) کرن


talk (p.67)

who hang upon (words)

pp. 21


هشتن/ هلیدن

neg. imp.

do not leave me

keep me not

p. 51

سوته دلون

سوته دلان



pp. 26, 28




who live in the sight

pp. 21, 32, 33, 46



که مرا


if Thou

p. 23




grows naught

p. 36




has suffered grief

p. 26


کیان (که) شوم


whom shall I   apply

p. 24

ه (سیاهه)



is (so black)

p. 47

Table 1 shows the dialectal words identified in the analyzed corpus. In the following samples, lexical items bearing dialectical feature are in bold.

Sample A: The dialectal words ‘مو/دیرم’ are in the standard SL ‘من/دارم’, standardized in the TT as ‘I’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘I’m/hast’.

                               از قالو بلی تشویش دیرم مو

mo az qâlu balâ tašviš diram (p. 23)

That phrase “They said ‘Yes!’” fills me with alarm (p. 68)

In some dialectal words used in Baba Tahir’s couplets, including ‘مو’, consonants have become vowels. Azkaei (1996) believes that the singular subject pronoun ‘مَه’ written as ‘مو’ must be correctly pronounced (ma). Otherwise, it lacks the Fahlavi features of the northwest such as Jabal, Lori, Kurdish, and Hamedan. The point is that in most couplets of Baba Tahir there is an interaction between a servant and God in which the poet himself has participated in the discourse alone, he describes his thoughts and worldview as the sender of the message, thus, the focus is on the poet in the couplets. Hence, the dialectal word ‘مو’ (mo) or ‘I’ should be regarded singularly in the sentence structure. Nevertheless, in the two couplets of the translator’s collection (pp. 60 & 62) the dialectal word ‘مو’ was foreignized as ‘ما’ (mâ) and even domesticated as ‘us’ (p. 85).

Sample B: The dialectal word ‘شو/سوجم’ are in the standard SL ‘شب/سوزم’, standardized in the TT as ‘night/-’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘night/burn’.

همه شو سوجم و گریم همه روز

hame šo suJ̌am-o geryam hame ruz (p. 56)

All night I burn, throughout the day I weep (p. 83)

In some dialectal words used in couplets, sometimes the reader encounters the conversion of a consonant into a vowel or another consonant, from the standard language to the dialect in question such as the changing the consonant ب (b) to the vowel اُ’ (o) in the word شو and ز (z) to another consonant ج (J̌) in the word سوجه.

Sample C: The dialectal word ‘پوته’ is in the standard SL ‘elimination of خ’, standardized in the TT as ‘Crucible’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘Assayer’.

عیار زر خالص پوته ذونو

ʔayâr-e zar xâles puteh zuno (p. 26)

As knows the Assayer when gold is pure (p.70)

The spelling of the word ‘پوته’ (pute) is not recorded correctly. The accurate spelling of this word is ‘بوته’ (buteh) which is mentioned in Azkaie book (1996, p. 247), as well as in Borhan Qate (Khalaf Tabrizi1652, p. 313). This word with the correct pronunciation of ‘بوته’ (bute) has several meanings, one of which refers to a vessel made of crushed mud where gold, silver, and the likes are melted. Some Persian words have entered the ancient Arabic language since the Sassanid era, some of which have lost currency in the modern time while others are still widely used. The word بوته (bute) is translated as ‘بوتقه’ (butqe) in the Arabic language meaning ‘crucible’ or melting-pot, and also is called ‘خلاص’ (khalâs) or clearance (Khalaf Tabrizi, 1652, p. 313). 

Hence, the word بوته as a noun in the sentence is an exception to the rule of deleting the letter خ’ (x), which applies to the two verbs سوته (sute) and اندوته (andute). It should be noted that despite a lack of proper equivalence for the dialectal word in the process of foreignization, the intended meaning of the couplet is explicitly stated in the footnotes of its translation.

Baker in her book (1992, p. 12) refers to the “lexical meaning” or lexical units in a specific linguistic system that has the personality or unique value that acquire through usage within that system. In Persian, sometimes one letter is a meaningful unit and such a word in its English translation is represented as a phrase. Some dialectal words are translated in the form of a phrase. The translator must have a completely “personal attitude” toward the text and add his/her features and strategies in the translation to the desired text (Hamad2002, p. 243). 

Sample D: The dialectal words ‘کرن’ ‘/سخون ‘are standardized in the TT as ‘talk’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘who hang upon’.

سخون وا ته کرن وا ته نشینن                                       

soxun vâ te keran  te nešinan (p.21)      

Who hang upon thy words, and dwell with Thee (p. 67)

The letter ر in the dialectal word کرن in the form of present tense and imperative is replaced by ن. The third person plural ‘کنن’ (by deleting the last ‘د) has changed to کرن, and the imperative که’ (by taking the negative letter م at the beginning of the dialectal word) to مکّه (Azkaei1996, p. 69).

Sample E: The dialectal word ‘مهل’ is in the standard SL‘هلیدن’, standardized in the TT as ‘do not leave me’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘keep me not’.

مهل در محنت روز فراقم

mahel dar mehnat ruz farâqam (p. 51)

Keep me not wretched by thine absence from me (p.81)

The dialectal word مهل used in the same way in modern Persian (Azkai1996, p. 68), the negative form of the word هل (hel), means ‘let’ (Khalaf Tabrizi1652). Azkaei considers مهل’ like the dialectal word مکّه, meaning ‘do not’. In the stanza, the negative form of the word by using the letter م at the beginning, in addition to distinguishing it from the Jewish dialect of Hamedan, which uses the letter ن to negate, indicates one of the several dialectal features of Baba Tahir (Azkaei1996, p. 68). 

Sample F: The dialectal word ‘سوته دلون’ is in the standard SL ‘سوته دلان’, standardized in the TT as ‘Burnt-in-Heart’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘Burnt-in-Heart’.

بوره سوته دلون واهم بنالیم

boreh sutehdelon vâham benâlim (p. 26)

Come then ye Burnt-in-Heart, chaunt we laments (p. 70)

Abrahamian (1936) explained that this word this word exists neither in the Jewish dialect of Hamedan nor in any of the central dialects. Yet for the verb بوره’, he has given this dialectal word for the second person singular form of the verb. The dialectal word بوره is a non-possessive verb meaning ‘come’, which is equivalent to the same meaning in most northwestern dialects, especially in all central dialects.

Sample G: The dialectal word ‘وینن’ is in the standard SL ‘بینند’, standardized in the TT as ‘see’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘who live in the sight’.

خرّم آنان که هر زامان ته وینن                                            

xorram ânân ke har zâmân te vinan (p. 21)

Happy are they who live in the sight of Thee (p. 67)

The dialectal word وینن’ means ‘see’ in the Lori dialect, mentioned with the same pronunciation and sound in the Fahlavi writings, as well as in the book of Manichaean literature” “(ادبیات مانوی)” in Middle Persian texts and Parthian language (Karamian2015, p. 121).

4.2. Dialectal Representation at the Grammatical Level 

As Baker (1992) notes, “The most important difference between grammatical and lexical choices, as far as translation is concerned, is that grammatical choices are largely obligatory while lexical choices are largely optional” (p. 84). Thus, to gain a better understanding of syntactical features, some samples for the analysis of dialect at the grammatical level in Baba Tahir’s poetry are presented below. 

Sample A: The dialectal word ‘کم’ is in the standard SL ‘که مرا’, standardized in the TT as ‘-’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘if Thou’.

تو کم از در برانی واکه بوشم

to (te) kem az dar berâni vâ ke bušam (p. 23)

And if Thou failest me, whither shall I go? (p. 68)

Baker argues, “Elements of meaning which are represented by several orthographic words in one language, say English, may be represented by one orthographic word in another, and vice versa” (Baker1992, p. 11). Thus, the minimal formal element of a language, suggested by linguists, cannot be further analyzed or have more than one element of meaning. The dialectal words کم (kem) ‘if me’, کت’ (kat), and نش (naš) are orthographic words consisting of two morphemes with several meanings, changing the class of the word and function as a propositional object (noun phrase), and by which the poet refers to himself as the participant of the discourse. 

Sample B: The dialectal word ‘نرویو’ is in the standard SL ‘نروید’, standardized in the TT as ‘-’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘grows nought’.

ز کشت خاطرم جز غم نرویو

ze kešte xâteram J̌oz qam naruyo (p. 36)

The Meadow of my Thought grows naught save grief (p. 74)

In the dialectal word نرویو, in comparison with standard Persian, the consonant ‘د’ has been removed from this word and a short vowel is replaced. This feature is one of the similarities that convinces Abrahamian in believing that there is no difference between the two dialects of Baba Tahir and the Jews of Hamedan, but according to Azkaei(1996), this commonality can be seen in most of the Iranian dialects. 

Sample C: The dialectal word ‘غم اندوته’ is in the standard SL ‘اندوخته’, standardized in the TT as ‘-’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘who has suffered grief’.

نوای ناله غم اندوته ذونو

navâye nâleh qam anduteh zuno (p. 26)

He who has suffered grief knows well its cry (p.70)

In the above line, the dialectal words غم اندوته is translated as an adjective clause.

Sample D: The dialectal word ‘کیانشم’ is in the standard SL ‘کیان (که) شوم’, standardized in the TT as ‘-’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘whom shall I apply’.

به این بی آشیانی بر کیانشم

be in bi âšiyani bar kiânšam (p. 24)

Homeless as I am, to whom shall I apply? (p. 69)

The word کی (ki), the singular form of the dialectal word کیان, means چه کسی or ‘who’, is the interrogative pronoun used in Laki, Lori, and Pahlavi languages in the same way in writing and pronunciation. This word also appears in Middle Persian and Parthian texts (Karamian2015, pp. 98-99). In the target text, Heron-Allen has translated it as ‘whom’, ‘whither’, or ‘where’.

Sample E: The dialectal word ‘ه’ is in the standard SL ‘است’, standardized in the TT as ‘-’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘is (so black)’.

ز چه خال رخت ذونی سیاهه

ze xâl roxat zuni siyahe(p. 47)

Knowest thou why thy cheek’s mole is so black (p. 79)

The function of the morpheme ه in the dialectal word سیاهه has come instead of the verb است (ast) in standard ST. The letter ه’ is accompanied by various words such as دلربایه’ (delrobâyeh), ‘غمینه’ (qamineh), ‘اینه’ (ineh), which in the target language is sometimes localized as ‘is’ and sometimes with a third person singular and other verbs.

The results in this section shows translation shift at the level of unite and structure was prevalent given that English and Persian structures are different to a great extent. However, in the translated text, standardization was adopted at the grammatical level and there was no trace of dialect translation at the level of grammar. 

4.3. Dialectal Mis-Representation in TT 

      In the analyzed corpus, the authors found some instances of mistranslation in the translated text. Table 2 displays these cases. 

Table 2 

Dialectal words with wrong standardization & mistranslation


Dialectal Words                    at the Word Level

Foreignization    &              Standardization in SL

Standardization in TT

Domestication &         Contextualization

Frequency of                          Occurrence            (Total 62)



با/ به



with/whither/   depart

p. 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 35, 53, 61



faith/ quarter or mercy (p. 69)


p. 26





p. 49





p. 49


درخت نارون

a gallow

a tree

p. 23





p. 33




O Some-one

p. 31

This often occurs due to structural differences between the source and target language. According to Baker (1992, p. 12), “some morphemes have a grammatical function such as plurality, gender, and tense”. The prominence of the geographical word, the most important of the characteristics of Baba Tahir’s couplets, is a kind of dialectal deviation that uses the words and syntactic constructions of the type of speech in the type of writing, which leads to stylistic deviation (Safavi1994).

Below are detailed explanations for two of these mistranslated cases. 

Sample A: The dialectal word ‘وا’ is in the standard SL ‘با/به’, standardized in the TT as ‘to/with/together’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘with/wither/depart’.

بشم وا شم از این عالم بدر شم

bašam šam az in ʔâlam bedar šam (p. 61)

I go, I depart, I leave this world of ours (p. 85)

The dialectal word وا vâ, meaning به to, or با with (Borhan Qate, vol. 4, pp.2240-2243), has been repeated 7 times in Baba Tahir’s couplets, and except for one case, all with their own Persian meaning have been translated. In some cases, the translator has used the strategy of omission, which means that the equivalence of dialectal words has not been done according to the standard of the source language in the target text. The word وا (vâ) was translated with a completely opposite meaning in the target text as depart (first line of the couplet 60, p. 85), while there is no equivalent for it in the standard source language. وا means ‘with’ and ‘mid’, in the writings of ‘Avestan’ and ‘Pazand Shahrzadi Dictionary’, which has the same meaning in luri and laki languages (Karamian2015, p. 117).

Sample B: The dialectal word ‘ایمون’ is in the standard SL ‘ایمان’, standardized in the TT as ‘faith/quarter or mercy’ and domesticated and contextualized as ‘Faith’.

                  اگر مستان مستیم از ته ایمون

agar mastân-e mastim az teimun (p. 25)

Drunkards and drunk though we be, Thou art our Faith (p. 69)

The dialectal word ایمون (imun) foreignized as ایمانFaith’ (p.69) and appearing in the couplet of Azkai edited text (1996, p. 260) تویی مان (to-yi mân), is the dialectal word of the Pahlavi form, associated with the pronoun ‘ایما/ایمه (ēmâ/ēma), the Pahlavi form of the pronoun ما or ‘we’ (Karamian, Gh. 2015,p.37). Nouns, adjectives, and pronouns in ancient Persian, which expresses a person or a number and the state of the word, were used as the verbThe continuous pronoun refers to that a person in association with someone or something and without separate use (Natel Khanlari1972, p.199)Baker (1992, p. 85) believes that a deviant grammatical structure may sometimes be accepted in very limited contexts, for example, to preserve rhyme or meter in poetry. The deviant grammatical configurations limit the scope of the translator’s authority. 

Following the analysis section of this study, the results were shared and discussed with 10 EFL students aligned with the translanguaging trend of research in EFL/ESL settings. The following themes emerged after examining the recorded reactions of students. Emphasis on the beauty of the Persian literature, importance of dialect in literature and translation, challenges of talking about Persian poetry in the second language, lack of knowledge regarding English and Persian literature, and the necessity of developing intercultural competence were among the overarching themes produced by Iranian EFL learners.

4. Discussion

The translation of Baba Tahir couplets from poetry to prose and the emphasis on some dialectal aesthetics are of significance in Translation Studies, providing a reliable roadmap to translate dialects in literary translation as a highly neglected research area.  As shown in this study, the strategies of domestication and foreignization can be applied in the treatment of dialectal words and aesthetic features of Baba Tahir couplets in translation. In the translation of the couplets and through standardization, Heron-Allen has been able to use various tools such as explaining and interpreting the poet's dialectal features through the intertextuality. Heron-Allen has tried to be more visible in the strategy of foreignization (Venuti1995) and by adding meta-text factors such as adding an introduction, footnotes to the TT. . For Heron-Allen, translation of dialect in the target text was least attempted, otherwise he would have chosen equivalents reflecting more dialectal features of Baba Tahir’s poetry. 

The “back-translation” (Baker, 1992, p. 7) of Curtis Brenton (1902), is a target-oriented text since she just rhymed the literal interpretation of Heron-Allen who asserted that any misinterpretation in the prose translation of the couplets is entirely due to his misunderstanding of the original text (p. xviii). 

The most obvious problem in the translation of the dialectal words is the translatability or non-translatability in the target language - the achievement of which depends on the translator’s understanding of the text. If these two views were well expressed in one definition, it would be easier for the reader, the translator and even the writer not to consider the translation process as absolute, but evaluate with a degree of flexibility (Sanchez1999). Heron-Allen attempted to translate the source text into the target language by neutralizing and standardizing without a prominent dialect mark, but sometimes the geographical dialect is part of the poet’s unique style (HerveyHiggins & Haywood1995). Thus, its importance in the translated text is essential. The results of the translanguaging task indicate that teacher educators should highlight the role of L1 in pre-service and in-service courses for teachers in a bid to open up new venues for students to acknowledge their own cultural heritage including Persian language literature.  

                                                                                              5. Conclusion

Heron-Allen used the strategy of domestication to neutralize the aesthetic features of the ST, including the dialect and evoke the translator’s invisibility for the reader of the TT. He also made himself visible in the introduction and other para-textual elements of the text. While the approach to translate the dialect can guide translators to render similar texts, mistranslation cases as well as standardization of the dialect failed to convey the overall meaning of aesthetics at the level of form.   

It can be concluded that translation of dialect is considered as a challenge for translators regardless of having native proficiency in the target language. Native and non-native translators may fail to use dialectal words as a substitution strategy in the target text.

One of the solutions that translators suggest in this case is to translate the source text with the closest geographical dialect of the target text. However, this approach is somewhat challenging, because in most cases the concepts of the two dialects are very different and each has its own socio-linguistic context. The authors propose that in the case of translating mystical poems, such as the translation of Baba Tahir’s couplet, a team of multidisciplinary experts should sub-edit the translated text. All in all, translation is a multidisciplinary attempt to render the meaning of the prototext. This study has implications for various agencies in translation, including professional translators, translator educators, translation students and teachers.  It is hoped that translated poetry works will bear some lexical items in the local dialect of the target text to promote its aesthetics and geographical features. Transliteration as a functional tool can also be used by translators to identify the phonetic features and music of literary works. In future studies. sharing the results in literary translation research with EFL students, inspired by the translanguaging approach, would yield a better understanding of students’ perceptions on this type of translation. 

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Volume 7, Issue 2
Pages 97-116
  • Receive Date: 31 March 2022
  • Revise Date: 10 May 2022
  • Accept Date: 15 June 2022
  • First Publish Date: 15 June 2022