The Application of Juliane House’s Model of TQA in Persian Translation of the Book Persian translation jobs
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The Application of Juliane House’s Model of TQA in Persian Translation of the Book "Pride and Prejudice"

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This study aims at applying a model of translation quality assessment (TQA) on a translation of a literary book. Firstly, the House’s model will be elaborated. Then, it will be utilized on a literary text.

Key words: translation quality assessment, House’s model

Javad Heidary photoGholamhossein Bahrami photoIntroduction

Theoretically, there are many definitions for translation from various points of views. However, all these definitions are categorized in one way or other. Naturally, it is a must that all classifications are written on the basis of either similarities or differences. In the same way, translational definitions are taxonomized based on these elements. One view towards the translation definition is Juliane House's view which is a rather interesting model in the realm of translation.

Juliane House (2001) regarded almost all translational theories in her paper. She defined most of theories according to meaning and divided them towards meaning into 3 kinds. Mentalist view, Response based view, and discourse and text – based views. She stated that her view is a part of discourse – based theories and she elaborated on her model later on. House (1976) suggested a model for assessing of translation.

In her paper, she started with the purpose of translation which is the preservation of meaning. She regarded three sorts of meaning, semantic, pragmatic and textual meaning. Her own definition of translation was as follows: It is the replacement of a text in the source language by a semantically and pragmatically equivalent text in the target language. In her study, she considered another main aspect in translation which was equivalence. The concept of equivalence was highly important for her. At the some time, she referred the scholars of translation to function of a text. The ultimate goal was functional equivalence. To get to functional equivalence, situational dimensions and linguistic materials were defined. Afterwards, she concluded that if a TT wants to reach functional match with an ST, two important mismatches must be considered. One is overtly erroneous error and another one is covertly erroneous error. From these above – mentioned elements, finally, she introduced two types of translation which were suitable for different texts based on their situational dimensions and functional equivalence. These two translational types were overt and covert translations. Overt translation is a kind of translation in which TT addresses are not directly addressed. It is overtly a translation. It is also tied to the source language and culture. It should remain as intact as possible. It is a straight forward translation. Overt translation has got less cultural problems than covert one. It was added by House that STs in overt translation were divided into two important types. The first one was overt historically – linked ST which is tied to specific occasion and special source language audience is being addressed. The second one is overt timeless ST which belongs to a particular period of time and particular culture because of addressors who are the products of time and culture such as aesthetic works. On the other hand, Covert translation has other specific features.

The definition of covert translation indicated by House is as follows: It is a kind of translation that enjoys the status of an original ST in the target culture. This translation type is directly addressed to a target culture audience. In a covert translation, ST and TT are pragmatically of equal concern for source and target language addressees. Covert translation needs cultural filter; hence, there are two kinds of cultural filters. Justified cultural filter is a cultural filter in which the translator thinks that a TT addressee does not share any knowledge of ST culture. Unjustified cultural filter is a cultural filter in which a translator makes some changes in the dimensions of social role, attitude, and participation of the addressor vis-a-vis his addresses.

Finally, it is vivid that covert and overt translation types include almost all existing texts. Overt translation includes political, simplified, literary, religious texts, etc. On the other hand, covert translation consists of business circulars, scientific texts, journalistic texts, advertisements and information booklets.


Based on the aforesaid model, this study is going to assess the Persian translation of the English book “pride and prejudice" written by Jane Austen and translated by Shamsolmolok Masaheb. The yardstick for measuring this Persian translation was defined perfectly in the previous introduction. As such, according to House the literary texts like “pride and prejudice" should be translated overtly. Therefore, the translator had to use overt translation to translate this book from English into Persian. Now, based on the features of overt translation, this translation of the "pride and prejudice" will be evaluated.

To do so and to examine the House's model, some sentences were selected from the English original book of "pride and prejudice”. Then, both translational models which are overt and covert are considered. After that, the parallel translation of English selected sentences will be extracted from the Persian translation. We start to evaluate the part or parts of sentences while we know this presupposition that, since the original English book is a literary work, it is tied to ST or English language and it must be translated overtly based on House's model of translation quality assessment.

Evaluation of the Sentences

1) English Sentence: Some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of the next week.

Persian translation:

عده‌اي از مستخدمينش در اواخر هفته آينده در خانه‌اش خواهند بود .

Correct overt translation:

عده‌اي از ملازمين (همراهان) او تا اواخر هفته آينده در خانه‌اش خواهند بود.

2) English Sentences: Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley.

Persian translation:

آقاي بنت در زمره كساني بود كه زودتر از ديگران به ديدن آقاي بينگلي رفتند.

Correct overt translation:

آقاي بنت در زمره كساني بود كه بيشتر از ديگران منتظر آقاي بينگلي بود .

3) English Sentences: You began the evening well, charlotte, said Mrs. Benet with civil self- command to Miss Lucas.

Persian translation:

خانم بنت كه خيلي هم مي‌خواست جانب ادب و نزاكت را در گرفتار و رفتار خود مراعات كند به شارلوت لوكاس گفت : شما عصر را خوب شروع كرديد .

Correct overt translation:

خانم بنت خيلي مؤدبانه كه انگار به خودش دستور مي‌داد گفت : دوشيزه لوكاس شما امروز عصر كارتان عالي بود .

4) English Sentences: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Persian translation:

اين حقيقت مورد قبول عموم است كه هر مرده مجرد ثروتمندي ناگزير بايد نيازمند به ازدواج باشد .

Correct overt translation:

اين‌حقيقت‌موردقبول‌عموم‌است كه هر انسان مجردخوش شانس بايد ازدواج كند.

5) English Sentences: Mrs. Long cried impatiently that Netherfield is taken by a young man from the North of England.

Persian translation:

خانم لانگ با بي‌صبري گفت كه نزرفيلد پارك و را مرد جواني از اهالي جنوب انگلستان اجاره كرده است .

Correct overt translation:

خانم لانگ با بي‌صبري داد زد كه نزرفيلد پارك را مرد جواني از اهالي شمال انگلستان اجاره كرده است

6) English Sentence: when a woman has five grown up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty. He will be a good thing for our girls.

Persian translation:

وقتي زني پنج دختر دم بخت داشته باشد ، ديگر نبايد از خوشگلي خود بنازد . او تكه خوبي براي يكي از دختران ما خواهد بود .

Correct overt translation:

وقتي زني پنج دختر دم بخت داشته باشد بايد خوشگلي خود را ناديده بگيرد .

او انگيزه خوبي براي دختران خواهد بود .

7) English Sentences: We are not in a way to know what Mr. Bingly likes, said her mother resentfully, since we are not to visit, but Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply.

Persian translation:

مادرليزي متغيرانه گفت : در صورتي كه ما به ملاقات بينگلي نمي‌رويم ، از كجا بفهميم كه او از چه چيز خوشش مي‌آيد ؟ اما خانم بنت از روي بي‌اعتنايي جوابي نداد .

Correct overt translation:

مادر ليزي بارنجش خاطر گفت : چون ما به ملاقات بينگلي نمي‌رويم ، پس نمي‌فهميم كه او از چه چيز خوشش مي‌آيد . با اين حال خانم بنت از روي تواضع و فروتني جوابي نداد .

8) English Sentence: Lady Lucas was a very good kind of woman, not too clever to be a valuable neighbor to Mrs. Bennet.


Persian translation:

ليدي لوكاس زن خوبي بود ولی آن قدرها باهوش نود كه نتواند همسايه خوبي براي خانم بنت باشد .

Correct overt translation:

ليدي لوكاس زن خوبي بود ولي آن قدر باهوش نبود كه بتواند همسايه مطلوبي براي خانم بنت باشد .

9) English Sentences: At five oُ clock the two ladies retired to dress, and Miss Long, sleeping and indifferent, was almost never amicable to the party met for the man.

Persian translation:

در ساعت پنج خواهران بينگلي براي تعويض لباس به اتاقهاي خود رفتند و خانم لانگ كه بي‌خواب و بي‌تفاوت شده بود تقريباً هيچ وقت طرافدار مهماني معرفي براي مرد نبود .

Correct overt translation:

رأس ساعت پنج خواهران بينگلي لباسهاي خود را تعويض كردند و خانم لانگ كه خوابيده و بي ميل شده بود به ندرت بابرپايي مهماني براي مرد موافق بود.

10) English Sentences: You began the evening well, charlotte, said Mrs. Bennet with civil self-command to Miss Lucas.

Persian translation:

خانم بنت كه خيلي هم مي‌خواست جانب ادب و نزاكت را در گفتار خود مراعات كند به شارلوت لوكاس گفت : شما عصر را خوب شروع كرديد .

Correct overt translation:

خانم بنت مؤدبانه به خانم شارلوت لوكاس گفت : وضع شما در ابتداي كار خيلي خوب بود .

Results and Discussion

Due to the fact that this book was a literary book, it was highly tied to the source language or English language. In the examples provided by writer, it was shown that in all selected sentences there were some aspects of either English language or English culture. Of course, the problems related to English language preceded the English culture or culture-bound items in those sentences.

Therefore, in the majority of sentences, the specific structure or vocabulary meaning of English language created a problem or problems for translation. These problems were never understood by the translator of the book "pride & prejudice”, because she translated this book in one way or another. However, based on the discussion of this study, this Persian translation was evaluated according to House's model of translation quality assessment. It was proven that the House's model can be helpful in classification and evaluation of translation.

To summarize the study, at the beginning of study the House's translation quality assessment model was explained in details. The origin of House's model and her types of translation errors and cultural filters were defined. The importance of function and equivalence was highlighted in the introduction. Finally, the overt vs. covert category was chosen as a means for measuring the quality of Persian translation of the English book “pride & prejudice”.

In the method part, it was mentioned that since, the translated book is a literary work; it must be translated overtly due to the fact that literary works are classified under the overt translation of House's translation quality assessment model. Then, some sentences and their Persian translations were selected. In fact, these sentences include the language – related or culture – related elements of the source text which was English. Considering factors like, Situational dimensions and function are important. It is obvious that in some sentences like the first two sentences, the difference between the two different English and Persian culture underlies upon the previous deemed factors mentioned by House. They are situational dimensions and functions.

After the translation of the translator, the writer of this study provided the readers with a kind of possible overt translation of a sentence. In this sentence, the errors in the translator’s version was connected and underlined. Therefore, all situations in which the translator did not translate overtly were indicated and underlined. In the third sentence, the correct overt translation was written. These problematic sentences were selected based on the House’s translation quality assessment. Then, the parallel Persian translations of these sentences were chosen. Finally, they were evaluated and it was proven that House’s model can be helpful in translation quality assessment realm.


The most crucial problem in the translation is evaluation or assessment. Scholars viewed assessment differently. One of the effective models of quality assessment of translation is House's model. This model introduces two main types of translations which are overt and covert translations. In this study the House's model was used to indicate the situations in which the translator of "pride & prejudice" wrongly translated some parts of the deemed sentences. The possible method for "pride & prejudice" translation according to House must be overt translation. However, in these sentences, the translator rendered some parts of sentences covertly which were not correct. Due to this fact, these problematic sentences were selected from the book "pride & prejudice”.

Finally, in this research it was proven by evidence and examples that House's translation quality assessment can be useful, helpful, and suitable or adequate for assessing at least literary works or maybe any kind of translation.

The interesting and instructive category of overt and covert translation has a scientific way in assessing different types of translation. The scholars of translation can use these two types of translation to evaluate the quality of various kinds of translation.


House, J.(1977). A Model for Translation Quality Assesment.

Tubingen: Gunter Narr.

Published - June 2009

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