On Translation of Implicatures in Croskery’s English Translations of Morādi Kermāni’s Stories for Children

Document Type : Original Article


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


Implicatures are the implied meanings that people communicate to their listeners. They may differ from one culture to another, making translations more challenging. The purpose of this study was to examine how implicatures were treated in the English translations of Persian texts and the extent of pragmatic equivalence. To this end, implicatures in four Persian children's stories written by Hooshang Morādi Kermāni were identified and compared to their English translations, translated by Caroline Croskery. The Gricean Cooperation Principle served as the theoretical framework of the study, and four maxims of quality, quantity, relation, and manner were used to analyze implicatures. Chesterman’s strategies of pragmatic equivalence were also used to determine the strategies used in translation. According to the results, the translator was largely successful in achieving pragmatic equivalence. Additionally, literal translation, explicitness, equivalence strategy, and illocutionary change were found to be used more commonly than the other pragmatic strategies. The findings of this study could have benefits for translators to deal with pragmatic issues and for syllabus designers to create more practical content.


1. Introduction

The translation of implied meanings or implicatures is one of the most challenging aspects of translation. As implicatures are embedded in cultures, they are understood differently. In other words, it is the situational context that enables listeners to infer and understand them. Misinterpreting implicatures (typically based on source culture) or sometimes literal translation might result in translations awkward for the target audience. This is especially true in figurative language, metaphors, similes, idioms, proverbs, dialogues, and particularly in political speech (Sanatifar2015). Many researchers have widely proposed the Gricean Cooperative Principle and the four maxims of quantity, quality, relation, and manner for studying implicatures and analyzing them in translation (Hatim2006). Yet, others have voiced opposing views on using the Gricean maxims. According to Baker (1992), the Gricean maxims cannot be considered a universal theory applicable to cross-cultural communication; she suggests modifying the theory to make the target text more cooperative with the target readers. Due to cultural variances, she prefers to violate different maxims to transfer the ST Implicatures (Baker1992). Similarly, because of varying pragmatic principles in different cultures, Hatim (2006) argued that preservation of implicatures is recommended, albeit with flouting a different maxim in TT than in ST. Different researchers do not appear to have reached an agreement on how to portray the Gricean maxims and the implicatures they arise. The pragmatic features of language in translation are a neglected area in Persian to English children's literature. As a result, there is a dearth of study on the Gricean implicatures in pragmatic aspects of children's stories. This study investigated quantitatively and qualitatively the strategies used by American translator Caroline Croskery in translating implicatures used in some children's short stories written by Hooshang Morādi Kermāni from Persian to English. Thus, the following research question was raised: What strategies have Croskery used more frequently to render implicatures from Persian into English?

2. Review of the Related Literature 

2.1 Pragmatics and Implicature 

Implicatures have pivotal roles in communications due to their intangible relations between the surface of the utterances and their hidden meanings. The notion of implicature, as implied meanings, was first introduced by Paul Grice in 1989 who distinguished between explicit and implicit meanings, namely what the speaker says and what s/he implies. Implicatures may differ from culture to culture due to their context-based nature making it challenging for a translator to transfer them from one language to another. They are conveyed through language; the audience also needs background knowledge to infer them. Thus, it may be more difficult to render them across languages with different cultural elements. The Persian language is full of cultural elements such as compliments, customs, and religious beliefs; it also contains a great deal of idiomatic and figurative language, thus making it challenging for translators to translate from it into other languages such as English in which people speak more explicitly. 

Grice’s (1989) Cooperative Principle (CP) is one of the pioneering pragmatic theories that deal with implied meanings in which conversations are viewed through the lens of four cooperative categories including some maxims (norms) observed by the interlocutors namely quantity (informativeness), quality (truthfulness), relation (direction of talk exchange) and manner (style) of the utterances. Grice (1989) defined his theory as “Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.” (p.26) He declared that implicatures are hinted meanings suggested by the speakers which are produced by non-observance of the cooperative maxims (Grice1989). The CP consist of four conversational norms that people observe in their conversations. These norms are known as the Gricean Maxims. The Gricean maxims are as follows:

  1. Maxim of Quantity: Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of the exchange) and do not make your contribution more informative than is required.  
  2. Maxim of Quality: Do not say what you believe to be false and do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.  
  3. Maxim of Relation: Be relevant. 
  4. Maxim of Manner: Be perspicuous, avoid obscurity of expression, avoid ambiguity, be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity), be orderly. (p.27)

Some norms are assumed to be observed normally by the interlocutors in every communication. They include the informativeness, truthfulness, related direction, and style of the utterances of the conversations. According to Grice (1989), by failing the speaker to fulfill these maxims, implicatures occur during conversations. In conversational implicatures, the context of the speaker’s utterance determines the speaker’s intention which is beyond the surface of their utterances. Sometimes the speaker blatantly deviates from observing these norms or namely s/he flouts the maxims that result in particularized conversational implicatures. Particularized implicatures that are produced on a specific occasion in a special context are not normally considered as the same type of implicature in other cases (Grice1989). Their implied meaning is inferred only in the context of them by having a special background knowledge; it also occurs in conversations very frequently. 

The current study has used Chesterman’s (1997) pragmatic translation strategies to find the strategies applied by the translator to render the STs’ implicatures. These pragmatic translation strategies, according to Chesterman (1997), are defined as below: 

  1. Cultural filtering: It describes how SL items, particularly culture-specific items, are translated as TL cultural or functional equivalents so that they conform to TL norms.
  2. Explicitness change: It refers to how translators add inferable information explicitly in the TT, information which is only implicit in the ST.
  3. Information change: It is either the addition of new (non-inferable) information which is deemed to be relevant to the TT readership but which is not present in the ST or the omission of ST information deemed to be irrelevant.
  4. Interpersonal change: It alters the formality level, the degree of emotiveness and involvement, the level of technical lexis, and the like: anything that involves a change in the relationship between text/author and reader.
  5. Illocutionary change: They are changes within particular classes of speech acts. For example, within the class of acts known as representatives (such as stating, telling, reporting), a translator may choose to shift from direct to indirect speech.
  6. Coherence change: It has to do with the logical arrangement of information in the text, at the ideational level.
  7. Partial translation: This covers any kind of partial translation, such as summary translation, transcription, translation of the sounds only, and the like.
  8. Visibility change: This refers to a change in the status of the authorial presence, or the overt intrusion or foregrounding of the translatorial presence. For instance, the translator’s footnotes, bracketed comments (such as explanations of puns), or added glosses explicitly draw the reader’s attention to the presence of the translator, who is no longer transparent.
  9. Trans-editing: It refers to the radical re-editing that translators have to do on badly written original texts: it includes drastic re-ordering, rewriting, at a more general level than the kinds of changes covered by the strategies so far mentioned.
  10. Other pragmatic changes: One example would be layout; another one is the choice of dialect. (Chesterman1997, pp.104-109)

2.2 Implicature and Translation 

Several researchers have used the Gricean maxims in translation studies. Margala (2009) investigated implicatures in some examples of the English translation of Bohumil Hrabal’s literary works in the Gricean framework and concluded that if the translator fails to identify and misunderstands the original implicatures, their rendering will be ineffective in the target text (Margala2009). Machali (2012) conducted a study to find the problematic elements such as the politeness principle not included in the Gricean maxims. She examined some examples between English and Indonesian languages and concluded that it is not sufficient in translating to high polite cultures. Hassani Laharomi (2013) analyzed conversational implicatures in two English plays and their Persian translations to find translation strategies for translating them based on Desilla’s (2009) classification. She found preservation, modification, and explicitation as the most frequently used strategies in order. 

Some researchers attempted to examine the Gricean conversational implicatures in holy books. Ansari (2013) compared conversational implicatures of the holy Qur’an with some of its translations to find which translation strategies were adopted by translators to render the implicatures. He concluded that there are five common translation strategies used by translators to render these implicatures, including literal translation to translate them implicitly or other strategies such as addition, parenthesis/brackets, footnote, and dynamic equivalence to translate them explicitly. The footnote strategy was a noticeable strategy among them. Khademi (2013) examined conversational implicatures in Persian translations of three English novels. He tried to find to what degree Persian translators were successful in translating these implicatures and also to see what translation strategies they have used. To this end, he first utilized the Gricean conversational implicatures and then used Gutt’s (1992) relevance theory to define the quality of the translations of conversational implicatures. He used Newmark’s (1988) translation strategies to determine the strategies used by translators to render the conversational implicatures. He concluded that literal, functional equivalent, expansion, transposition, reduction, and modulation are the most useful translation strategies to translate conversational implicatures. Fatimah (2014) tried to see how implicatures can be maintained in translation leading to make pragmatic equivalence from Indonesian to the English language. It was found that most of the utterances containing flouted maxims are translated literally to show the religious and cultural beliefs of the original text in the target language; however, the implied meanings were transferred to the target textSanatifar and Kenevisi (2017) carried out a study to adjust the application of the Gricean maxims to the translation act leading translator to reproduce a faithful translation. They used Gutt’s (1992) Relevance Theory and Clark’s (1996Ground Theory and claimed that faithfulness should be added as another submaxim to the Gricean maxims to make them more applicable to translation. Finally, they summed up their proposed model as below:

  1. Quantity: Add enough communicative clues to the TT to make it faithful to the ST concerning the amount of information required;
  2. Quality: Do not mislead the target readers; make the TT faithful to the ST concerning the truth of the information required;
  3. Relation: Make the TT faithful to the ST closely enough in relevant aspects if (part of) the text is not contextually shared between the translator and the target readers;
  4. Manner: Communicate the author’s message in a way that is faithful to the ST in style and manner as the original author intends it. (Sanatifar, & Kenevisi2017, pp.78-79)

They concluded that translators can justify their selected strategies when transferring the ST messages to TT by replacing the violated maxim in ST with a different one in TT to convey the same implicature to be faithful to the ST and also to be cooperative with the target reader. 

2.3 Pragmatics-based Studies on Children’s Literature 

The pragmatic aspects of children’s literature have been addressed by many researchers. Ladegaard (2004) conducted a study on Danish pre-school children to find their pragmatic competence and level of using politeness. He recorded their dialogues while playing with each other and found that there is no significant difference between boys and girls in using politeness. He found that contextual and social norms influence children’s pragmatic competence. Papafragou (2006) explored the interface between semantic and pragmatic interactions and the development of children’s comprehension to distinguish between them. She has experimented on Greek five-year-old children to find how they interpret the expressions containing aspectual expressions and quantifiers. It was found that they are more successful in scalar expressions than in the former; they are also able to comprehend the scalar implicatures than interpreting their pragmatic aspects. EskrittWhalen, and Lee (2008) conducted a study on children aged three to five to define at which age they start to recognize the flouted Gricean maxims. It was found that pre-school children understand the maxim of relation better than the other two maxims. Halaman (2010) investigated the Gricean maxims in a children's collection and concluded that the reasons for its flouted maxims were due to stimulating their imagination, conveying the message, producing special situations, doing characterization, and indirect quotations. Pertiwi (2013) analyzed conversations in a collection of children’s literature to find the flouted Gricean maxims and their functions. His study revealed one basic function stimulating the readers’ imagination along with six other functions: generating specific situations, developing the plot, enlivening the characters’ utterance, implicating message, indirectly characterizing characters, and creating the ambiguous setting. Nanda (2015) investigated the types of implicatures in an English novel to reveal the implied meanings of its conversations according to their related maxims. He found that there are two kinds of implicatures divided into ten generalized implicatures containing five types of maxims and fifteen particularized implicatures including four kinds of maxims. Karini (2015) analyzed conversational implicatures in an English children's novel Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton and compared them with their corresponding statements in its Indonesian translation to evaluate their translation quality. It was found that the translator had rendered most of the implicatures literally.   

2.4 Pragmatics-based Studies on Children's Literature in Iran

As for the pragmatic aspects of children’s literature in Iran, many studies have been conducted. NematzadehMahdizadeh, and Asi (2017) carried out a study on the application and effects of Grice’s maxims in essay writings of grade eight students to find their frequencies. They tried to find to what extent these maxims are used and affective to their writing styles. They found that the students utilized relation maxim, quantity maxim, quality maxim, and manner maxim in order. They concluded that applying one maxim also impacts other maxims, so they overlap. Tabaraki (2009) conducted a study to examine translated children’s literature from English into Persian in terms of the five universal systemic changes, introduced by Shavit (1981), which occur while translating from one language to another. She wanted to see whether these systemic changes were applied to these translations and to add some others if possible. She found that these five systemic affiliations exist in these Persian translated stories and some new ones were identified. This means that English literature including its language and culture is changed when translated into Persian and is adaptive to our society’s norms. Abbaspour and Mahaadi (2015) analyzed the translator’s choices in handling culture-bound elements in the original text including socio-cultural norms in English-Persian translation. They compared the different translations of the two classic children’s stories of Alice’s adventures in wonderland and Grimm Brothers’ Fairy tales to find whether these translations are based on domestication or foreignization strategies. They concluded that food and drink cultural items were translated according to the target culture and it showed that during the recent 70 years, domestication strategy still is dominant in some cases. Hasanvandi, et.al. (2015) identified the two skopos and equivalence paradigms in three Persian translations of the Little Prince. They revealed that the skopos paradigm is dominant in Persian translations. They showed that children’s literature is a specific genre that its specific target audience defines which translation strategy to be applied. Asghari and Salmani (2016) examined 80 cases from Anderson’s fairy tales and brothers Grimm’s short stories to compare different adaptation procedures based on Klingberg’s (1986model. They concluded that adaptation can sometimes be a useful strategy to solve cultural differences, but it sometimes can remove the child from the values of the source culture and ruin their sociocultural views. This finding implies that translating children’s literature needs a great deal of attention because of its certain audience. Ghoreishi and Aminzadeh (2016) compared three Persian translations of Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland based on Catford’s (1965) translation shifts to find their effects on the level of readability of their translation by children. They found that these three translations had different levels of readability due to their various structural and lexical differences. They included an empirical part in their study to explain the readability of translation. They first calculated the level of a selected group of readers by Fog index formula and then gave them some cloze tests to fill the blanked spaces with appropriate shifts. They concluded that the shifts applied in translations affect the level of readability of the target readers. As regards to above-mentioned studies, few studies have been done on the pragmatic aspects and particularly implicature in the translation of children’s literature from English into Persian.  

3. Methods and Materials

3.1 Corpus 

The corpus of the study consisted of four Persian stories written by Hooshang Morādi Kermāni, the Iranian eminent children’s writer whose works have been awarded several times and have been translated to many languages. The stories were randomly selected and included Nakhl /نخل/, Khomreh /خمره/Morabbāy-e Shirin /مربای شیرین/ and Shomā ke Gharibeh Nistid /شما که غریبه نیستیدpublished by Moein Publications in Tehran. These stories have been translated into English by Caroline Croskery, the American famous translator and interpreter. The English versions of these stories translated as The Date Palm, The Water Urn, A Sweet Jam and You’re No Stranger Here, respectively, are published by Candle & Fog Publishing House in England. 

3.2 Design 

The study has a comparative-descriptive design. The data consisted of the Persian texts of the selected children’s stories and their corresponding translations in English. According to Taylore, Bogdan, and Devault (2016) “qualitative research generates descriptive data such as people’s own written or spoken words and observable behavior” (p.7). Bottom-up analysis has been used to analyze the flouted maxims and implicatures in both STs and TTs. 

3.3 Procedure 

The four Persian stories were studied thoroughly and 68 implicatures resulting from the flout of the four Gricean maxims were identified. To verify the truth of the analyses of implicatures in Persian, the researchers took into consideration the contexts in which the implicature-loaded statements occurred and further sought the advice of a professor of Persian language and literature at the Imam Reza International University, Mashhad. Then, the English translations of these stories were studied to compare and analyze how the translator has treated the corresponding implicatures. Next, the strategies used by the translator to render the implicatures into English were identified and classified according to Chesterman’s (1997) pragmatic strategies. For this article and due to the journal’s word limit, a representative sample of examples was randomly selected. Thus, a total of 14 examples was analyzed and discussed for each of the four maxims.

4. Results

The implicatures generated as a result of flouting the Gricean maxims of quantity, quality, relation, and manner in both STs and TTs are described, compared, and analyzed in this section. The statements containing implicatures are underlined in both STs and TTs for clarity. The analyses are followed by an argument of the translator’s strategies for conveying the implicature into English.

4.1. Maxim of Quantity

The following section contains some examples of quantity maxims that have been flouted as a result of providing more information than is required or providing a response to the hearer that is not sufficiently informative by the speaker in a conversation. The translation strategies for transferring implicatures were then discovered.

Example 1

مراد: بیداری درویش؟

درویش: می بینی که. تو چرا نخوابیدی؟  (مرادی کرمانی، 1381، ص .21)


Morad: “Are you awake, Dervish?”

Dervish: “You can see that I am. What are you doing up?” (Croskery, 2017, p. 22)


The strategy that Croskery has used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘literal translation’ that is not included in Chesterman’s taxonomy. This was determined by the researchers and was included a priori into his category as a novel strategy. In example 1, the speaker is offering an indirect reply instead of ‘yes’ to imply that ‘there is no need to ask because it is obvious that he is awake’. 


Example 2

آقای صمدی: «چرا فرار می کردی؟ کجا می رفتی؟»

کاظمی: «آقا ترسیدیم.» (مرادی کرمانی، 1367، ص. 12)


Mr. Samadi: “Why were you running away? Where were you going?”

Kazemi: “Sir, I was afraid.” (Croskery, 2014, p. 8-9)


‘Literal translation’ is the strategy used in the translation of this excerpt. The speaker tries to satisfy the teacher not to blame him by giving a reply which is not informative enough.


Example 3

فروشنده: «چرا؟ چرا شیشه ها را جمع می کنید؟»

پخش کنندۀ مواد غذایی: «اشکالی پیدا شده.» (مرادی کرمانی، 1381، ص. 35)


The grocer: “Why? Why are you recalling the jams?”

The distributor: “There’s a problem with them.” (Croskery, 2016, p. 46)


The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘literal translation’. The distributor’s reply is not informative enough to say indirectly that there is no need for you to know about the reason for that. 


Example 4

عمو اسدالله: «مرخصی گرفتی؟»

هوشنگ: «در رفتم. گشنه ام.» (مرادی کرمانی، 1384، ص. 289)

Uncle: “Did they let you go?”

Hooshang: “No, I ran away. And I’m hungry.” (Croskery, 2016, p. 322)


The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘explicitness change’. In the ST, the student has used circumlocution instead of saying directly yes.


4.2. Maxim of Quality

In the following section, STs and TTs are compared in terms of the implicatures formed as the result of flouting the maxim of quality which is flouted by using figurative language, when the speaker says an utterance for which he lacks adequate evidence or when the speaker is aware of its utterance’s falsity. Then the examples are described and analyzed and the translation strategies of the produced implicatures are found.


Example 5

عمه رخساره: «چی شده؟ چت شده بود که هوشو رو فرستادی دنبال ما؟»

ننه بابا: «یهو دنیا پیش چشمم سیاه شد. گفتم مردم. خونه دور سرم می چرخید.» (مرادی کرمانی، 1384، ص. 205)

Aunt: “What happened? What happened to you that you sent Hooshoo after us?”

Nanehbaba: “All of a sudden everything went black. I thought I had died. The house was spinning around my head.” (Croskery2016, p. 227)


‘Literal translation’ is the strategy used in the translation of this excerpt. The speaker has used hyperbole and said a false utterance.


Example 6: 

خانم زینلی: «چرا از همکارات یاد نمی گیری، شیر مرغ و جان آدمی زاد می کشند و می آورند خانه برای زن و بچه شان.» ... (مرادی کرمانی، 1387، ص. 57)

Mrs. Zeinali: “Why don’t you learn from your colleagues? They buy and bring home milk, chicken, and everything for their wife and children?” (Croskery, 2016, p. 77)

The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘explicitness change’. The speaker implies that they buy everything their family needs, but this meaning has been explicated in the TT by replacing it with a non-idiomatic language.


Example 7: 

پدر گلرخ: «الان تو آبادی ما آدم گر می گیرد از گرما. آنجا از هوا آتش می بارد. خرما پزان است دیگر.» (مرادی کرمانی، 1381، ص. 51)

Golrokh’s father: “Right now in our village, people burn up from the heatThe weather is as hot as a firestorm! It’s like a date-cooking festival! A date-cooking festival!” (Croskery, 2017, p. 59) 

The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘explicitness change’. The speaker tries to implicitly say that in the Morad’s village no date palm will grow up because of its cold weather.


Example 8: 

پسر یدالله قصاب خطاب به جمعیت: «فقط نیش کلنگ مراد کافی است که کوه را از هم بپاشاند. ما دیگر کجا برویم؟» (مرادی کرمانی، 1381، ص. 97)

The butcher’s son to the people: “One chip with Morad’s ax is enough to make the whole mountain crumble down! What do you need us for?!!” (Croskery, 2017, p.118)

‘Literal translation’ is the strategy used in the translation of this excerpt. By saying an irony and saying an utterance which he knows its falsity the speaker implies that Morad is not able to help us


4.3. Maxim of Relation

In the following section, STs and TTs are compared in terms of the implicatures formed as the result of flouting the maxim of relation where the speaker says an irrelevant reply to change the direction of the conversation. Then, the examples are described and analyzed. 


Example 9:

جلال: «مامان، فردا صبح برویم شکایت؟»

مادر: «تو هم وقت گیر آوردی! به درس و مشق ات برس، پس فردا امتحان داری.» 

(مرادی کرمانی، 1381، ص. 59)

Jalal: “Mother, shall we go in the morning to file the complaint?”

Mother: “You’re pushing it too far! Take care of your studies! You have a test the day after tomorrow!” (Croskery, 2016, p. 79)


The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘illocutionary change’. The mother changes the direction of the discussion, but the implicature in TT is different from that of the ST because in ST she implies not now, but in the TT, she means to the reader not to pursue it and stop it.


Example 10: 

معلم: «کجا رفته بودی؟»

احمد: «آقا زود برگشتیم.» (مرادی کرمانی، 1367، ص. 30-31)

Teacher: “Where have you been?”

Ahmad: “Sir, sir, I came right back.” (Croskery, 2014, p.33)


The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘literal translation’. Ahmad’s answer seems to be irrelevant to the teacher’s question to change the direction of the discussion and to offer an excuse for his absence and make the teacher forgive him.


Example 11: 

هوشنگ: «ننه بابا پولامو کی می دی؟»

ننه بابا: «نترس پولاتو نمی خورم. می دم. خدا نکنه آدم طلبکاری مثل تو داشته باشه.» 

(مرادی کرمانی، 1384، ص. 170)

Hooshang: “Nanehbaba, when will you pay me back?”

Nanehbaba: “Don’t worry! I’m not going to not pay you back! God forbid a person to have a creditor like you!!” (Croskery, 2016, p.187)

The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘explicitness change’. The speaker implies Morad not to be worried about it because she will be going to pay him back. The hidden meaning has been rendered to a more explicit utterance in TT.


4.4. Maxim of Manner

In this section, STs and TTs are compared in terms of the implicatures formed as the result of flouting the maxim of manner which occurs where the speaker says an ambiguous utterance that is not clear to understand. Then, how the implicatures are rendered from STs to TTs are described and analyzed. 


Example 12: 

خاله: «به درک که درخت ها خشک شدند. فکر نکردی بزنند بکشنت؟»

شوهرخاله: «اگر درخت ها خشک بشوند باید سرمان را بگذاریم و بمیریم. درخت ها زندگی مان است، زن!» (مرادی کرمانی، 1381، ص. 86)

The aunt: “Never mind that the trees are dying. Didn’t you think that they could beat you up and kill you?!”

The uncle: “If the trees die, then we have to lay down and die. Those trees are our livelihood, woman!” (Croskery2017, p.104)


The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘explicitness change’. The speaker wants to say to his wife that if their trees dry out, they won’t be able to earn money for themselves, because they don’t have any other livelihood. In the ST, the word “زندگی” is ambiguous.


Example 13: 

پسرعمو: «این را چرا آوردی؟»

کاظم: «هر که گو را دوست، گوساله را هم دوست.»

پسرعمو: «اگر ما فقط گو را دوست داشته باشیم، چی؟»  

(مرادی کرمانی، 1384، ص. 182-183)

Cousin: “Why did you bring him here?”

Kazem: “Whoever likes the bull, must also like the calf.”

Cousin: “And what if we only like the bull?” (Croskery, 2016, p.200-201)


‘Literal translation’ is the strategy used in the translation of this excerpt. The speaker’s reply seems to be ambiguous and not perspicuous enough to understand. In both ST and TT, the manner maxim has been flouted to imply that if they want him, they should also want his son.


Example 14: 

معلم: «اگر به خمره سنگ نزدی، چرا در می رفتی؟»

دانش آموز: «آخر هر وقت چیزی می شکند، تقصیر را می اندازند گردن ما. وقتی شما آمدید پای خمره، عبداللهی و جلالی داشتند کج کج به من نگاه می کردند. من هم ترسیدم.»  

(مرادی کرمانی، 1367، ص 13)

Teacher: “If you did not hit the urn with one of your pebbles, why were you running away?” 

Kazemi: “Because whenever something breaks, they blame it on me. When you came by the urn, Abdollahi and Jalali were looking at me blamefully, and that scared me.” (Croskery, 2014, p.9)


The strategy used in the translation of this excerpt is ‘explicitness change’. The speaker says an ambiguous expression, but in TT it is rendered into its explicit meaning. The descriptive statistics for the flouted maxims in STs and their equivalents in the TTs are shown in Table 1. 


Table 1 

Maxims flouted in the source and target texts 







Source texts  






Target texts  







As shown in Table 1, the number of the flouted quality maxim is reduced from 36 cases in STs to 30 in TTs, quantity maxim from 33 in STs to 31 in TTs, relation maxim from 22 in STs to 20 in TTs, and manner maxim from 31 in STs to 24 in TTs. The total number is reduced from 122 in STs to 105 in TTs which is a result of the translator’s explicating a considerable number of implicatures in the TTs. Figure 1 illustrates and compares the frequency of the flouted maxims in both STs and TTs.   

   Figure 1. The flouted maxims in source and target texts

Table 2 shows the descriptive statistics for the pragmatic translation strategies used by the translator in the translation of implicatures.


Table 2 

Chesterman’s translation strategies (plus two added strategies)

Chesterman’s strategies 



Cultural Filtering


0.73 %

Explicitness Change


13.97 %

Information Change


0.73 %

Interpersonal Change



Illocutionary Change


5.14 %

Coherence Change



Partial Translation


2.94 %

Visibility Change


0.73 %




Other Pragmatic Changes



Literal Translation





7.35 %






As shown in Table 2, among Chesterman’s pragmatic strategies, explicitness change and illocutionary change have obtained the greatest frequencies. In other words, the translator has used explicitation and changed the illocutionary force more than the other strategies. The remarkable point is that the translator has widely used two other strategies not originally included among Chesterman’s strategies, namely literal translation and equivalence. Interestingly, literal translation has obtained the greatest frequency among the other strategies. In other words, literal translation can be used to render implicatures leading to pragmatic equivalence. 

5. Discussion 

The results of the study showed that, in most cases, Croskery has flouted the same maxims to render the same implicatures in her translations. She might have committed herself to the truth, relevance, manner, and quantity of information in STs to render them as faithfully as intended by the author. This finding is in line with the study by Sanatifar and Kenevisi (2017) who helped translators to reproduce a faithful translation by regulating the application of the Gricean maxims to translation and adding a submaxim namely ‘faithfulness’ to all of them. However, in eight cases, Croskery has flouted the same maxims in her translations, but different implicatures were transferred with implications different from those of ST. This may be due to different cultural and contextual knowledge of ST and TT readers. In addition, there are four cases in which Croskery has flouted different maxims in her translations, but the same implicatures have resulted. This may be due to her decision to bring closer the contextual knowledge of ST and TT readers and to be more cooperative with them. Hatim (2006) attributed this to the different principles of pragmatics in different cultures. In addition, Croskery explicated 19 ST implicatures in her translations most possibly due to children’s cognitive ability to work out implicatures, especially when her audience comes from different cultural, social and background contexts (Iranian and American children).

Among Chesterman’s strategies, explicitness change, illocutionary change, and partial translation were most frequently used, respectively. The highest frequency (explicitness change) may be explained by the two languages of English and Persian being related to low-context and high-context cultures as well as the differences in background and cultural knowledge between Iranian and American children. In other words, cultural differences have led Croskery to provide more contextual clues in her translations to make them more inferable for American children. Literal translation, though is not originally included among Chesterman’s strategies, was observed more than all the other strategies (observed in 93 cases). This choice of Croskery may result from cultural and contextual similarities between Persian and American children. In other words, as the translator is a native speaker of English, she has concluded that most ST implicatures were inferable by American children. If she had found out that transferring the implicatures would be ineffective through literal translation, she could have used more explicitation. Therefore, it can be argued that in explicated cases, cultural knowledge may play a more significant role than in literal translations. This finding supports Karini (2015) who proved in his study that implicatures in children's novel Five on a Treasure Island were mostly translated literally from English into Indonesian. The finding confirms Gutt’s (1992) Relevance Theory in which he declares that as long as there are enough contextual clues for the target reader, explicitation will be useless. He prefers direct to indirect translation because in the first case, the inference of the implied meaning will be put directly on the shoulders of the target reader without any distortion of ST intentions resulting from the interpretation of the translator (as cited in Sanatifar2016). In the context of children’s literature, giving unnecessary explication would impose more mental effort on the target children’s minds. This would produce an ineffective and unfaithful translation and make it uncooperative with the target children. 

In the review of related literature, only one study (Khademi2013) addressed the translation of implicatures in the context of Persian literature. The findings of this study confirm Khademi's (2013) findings, indicating that literal translation is used more often when the utterances are not culturally diverse. He concluded that literal and functional equivalents were the most frequently used among Newmark's translation strategies after conducting a study to determine the degree of effectiveness of Persian translations of implicatures in three English stories and the strategies used in their translation. Khademi (2013) employed Gutt's (1991) Relevance Theory and Zhonggang’s (2006) diagram of graded relevance to defining the level of effectiveness of the translations and discovered that the majority of implicature translations were rendered effectively, resulting in qualified translations. He further concluded that literal translation, in conjunction with other strategies, could help render implicatures as a complementary strategy especially when the two utterances have a considerable degree of cultural similarity.

The high frequency of the equivalence strategy (observed in ten cases) could be related to variations of cultural knowledge and background. This finding is consistent with Gutt’s (1992) notion that when there is a cultural and contextual gap between ST and TT, the translator is required to provide enough contextual clues for the target reader. As such, Croskery has used the equivalence strategy to work more cooperatively with American children, make her translations more equal to the original texts, and render them more optimally relevant to American children. In 114 cases (out of a total of 122 observed cases), the same ST implicatures were rendered into TTs effectively, demonstrating that Croskery has achieved pragmatic equivalence in her translations. This finding is in line with Khademi (2013) who found that the ST implicatures were effectively rendered into TT, although a majority of them were translated literally. Based on the two additional strategies (literal translation and equivalence) and supported by Gutt’s (1992) cognitive account, the two strategies lacking from Chesterman’s pragmatic strategies can be added to the original category. This can be regarded as an added value of the present study. 

6. Conclusion  

The present study investigated the pragmatic aspects of English translations of four famous children’s stories in Persian to see if the English translator has achieved pragmatic equivalence. It is one of the fewest of its kind in that it examined the rarely researched implicatures in children’s literature especially from Persian into English. Most research, as reviewed, has been conducted from English into Persian. It was concluded that most of the ST implicatures have been transferred effectively to the target texts making a qualified pragmatic equivalence. Furthermore, it revealed that literal translation has the highest frequency among all the other strategies. Chesterman’s (1997) pragmatic strategies proved to be insufficient in translation between Persian and English, therefore, literal translation and equivalence strategies were added to it. Regarding the theoretical implication of the current study, the two strategies, literal translation, and equivalence which have been added to Chesterman’s pragmatic strategies can help translators and translation students handle pragmatic issues. From a practical point of view, the added strategies can be used by translators particularly in the translation of children’s literature. The added strategies could be taught to translation students. Overall, this study demonstrated that Croskery has done well to achieve pragmatic equivalence in the translation of implicatures in Moradi Kermani’s children’s stories from Persian into English.    

The present study was bound to several limitations. First, due to the scarcity of Persian into English translated children’s literature, the corpus of this study has been restricted to four stories written by Moradi Kermani. Besides, this study has been limited to English translations of the mentioned works while this study could examine how implicatures are translated into other languages. Second, the researchers did not have access to the target native readers, so they sought advice from a literature instructor to verify the truth of the analyses. The study was conducted in a descriptive framework to compare implicatures with their translations based on the Gricean maxims. Other pragmatic frameworks such as the cognitive accounts of Gutt’s (1992) Relevance Theory can be used to analyze the implicatures. This study focused on literary translation, while other studies could explore the Gricean implicatures in translations of audiovisual materials including movies, social media, documentaries, TV or radio programs, local films, or newscasts from Persian into English or vice versa. In addition, the current study analyzed conversations in literary fiction, while future researchers may analyze the people’s conversations in real situations in translation.  

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