Cultural Issues in the Translation of Tourist Guidebooks in Iran: Problems and Solutions from a Skopos Theory Perspective Persian translation jobs
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Cultural Issues in the Translation of Tourist Guidebooks in Iran: Problems and Solutions from a Skopos Theory Perspective


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Abstract

Forogh Karimipur Davaninezhad photoThe aim of this study is to see whether ignoring or not paying deserved attention to the translation of cultural issues in tourist guidebooks in Iran is the reason behind failure in communication and therefore, inadequacy to attract tourists. These books with the communicative goals embedded in them are greatly in hand of culture because of their nature and the culture needs a medium like translation to be able to move to a new context, a cross-cultural movement. The translation in its own right needs to be at the service of the communicative goals of such books. This very qualification, acting as a pass, is acquired only if the goal of the source text is determined primarily and is reproduced with the same power, effect, appeal, and apprehension in the target text. This study has tried to demonstrate that determining the goal of the original properly and using appropriate translation procedures can be better achieved from a Skopos theory perspective which acts on behalf of the customs in this transit and checks the translator several times during this process. Therefore, within a descriptive study, three Persian tourist guidebooks and their English translations were compared at word, phrase, and sentence levels to find the cases of inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural issues and present solutions from a Skopos theory perspective.

Key words:

Translation, Adequate Translation, Translation Procedures, Communication, Culture, Tourist Guidebooks

1. Introduction

1.1 Theoretical Background: Translation of tourist guidebooks in a country like Iran is of great importance. Tourist guidebooks with the communicative goals embedded in them are greatly in hand of culture because communication is obviously possible by means of language and language can’t exist unless it is steeped in the context of culture. Culture itself needs a medium like translation to move to a new context. Translation, as a cross-cultural communication agent, should have its own qualifications. It should move beyond linguistic and cultural barriers and act as a bridge between source and target language and culture (House, 2009).

In each communication which is the exchange of ideas, and information between two or more people there's usually at least one sender, a message which is transmitted, and a person for whom this message is intended-the receiver (Richards, 1985). On the one hand, both parties are affected by the culture of the society in which they are living. On the other hand, much of the lexis of a language which constitutes the message has a cultural referent and is thus specific to a speech community. The meaning of culturally marked words is often difficult to grasp without some cultural knowledge and poses translation problems, particularly when the words are associated with cultural domains (Nida, 2001). Therefore, in a cross-cultural communication success or failure is in hand of the translation.

Some studies have been done on translation of guidebooks and cultural elements embedded in them. But they have rarely been about Iran or suggested solutions for the current problems. So this study is going to find the cases of inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural elements and suggest solutions from a Skopos theory perspective.

1.2 Statement of the Problem: World Tourism Organization (WTO) statistics show that the ratio of domestic tourists to inbound tourists in Iran is ten to one! (Nobakht& Piruz, 2008) The problem to some extent traces back to inadequate translations of Tourist guidebooks which don’t communicate with the TR because of blindness to cultural differences.

1.3 Purpose of the Study: This study aims at showing dramatic effect of cultural issues on the communication process in translating tourist guide books, suggesting Skopos Theory as the guaranteed foundation in selecting proper translation procedures, and providing guidelines for Iranian MA students of translation to translate tourism texts adequately.

1.4 Research Questions: There are two main questions to be investigated in the present study:

Q1: Is ignoring or not paying deserved attention to the translation of cultural issues in tourist guidebooks in Iran the reason behind failure in communication and therefore, inadequacy of guidebooks to attract tourists?

Q2: Can the cases of inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural elements in tourist guidebooks in Iran be identified and solved from a Skopos theory perspective?

1.5 Research Hypotheses: To find answer to the above questions, following hypotheses have been formulated:

H1: There is no relationship between inadequate translation of cultural elements in tourist guidebooks in Iran and the failure of communication and tourist attraction.

H2: There is no relationship between the Skopos theory, identifying and solving the cases of inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural elements in tourist guidebooks in Iran.

1.6 Organization of the Study: The present study is organized in five parts including introduction; review of the related literature; methodology; analyzing translation procedures to find inappropriate ones used for cultural elements in tourist guidebooks, discussing the reasons and offering solutions based on the Skopos theory which meets the communicative goals of guidebooks.

2. Review of the Literature

Rreview of the related literature demonstrates that the main concern of previous case studies was to introduce an especial site and remove obstacles. They all emphasized the cultural elements and communicative goals of these books. They also referred to the present translation problems in these books. Examples of such case studies are: Tackling cultural identities in tourism texts (Dybiec, 2008), A talk on the translation of tourism advertisements (Nan, 2005), Tourist guidebooks and the image of Sicily in translation (Smecca, 2009), and Skopos theory and translating strategies of cultural elements (Su-zhen, 2008).

Since the mentioned studies couldn’t fully cover the communicative goals of tourist guidebooks and their solutions were not backed by a translation theory, this part will briefly review the nature of translation, the relationship between translation theories and translation process, and evaluation of the translation.

2.1 The Nature of Translation

Although translation can be seen as a kind of limitation, it also has the opposite function of overcoming the limitations that particular languages impose on their speakers. Instead of comparing it to hygienic kissing or laying down a carpet bottom-side up, translation can also be compared to building bridges or extending horizons. Translation mediates between languages, societies, and literatures, and it is through translations that linguistic and cultural barriers may be overcome. Translation, of its nature, provides access to something, some message, that already exists, and it is always therefore a secondary communication (House, 2009).

Based on the text type and the translation Skopos, the translator pays more attention to the receiver of the message or the sender of the message. Semantic translation pays more attention to the writer and the translator aims at inspiring the exact message to the receiver which results in unnatural structures in the TL. Communicative translation pays more attention to the TR and the translator aims at communicating with the TR through making natural structures which results in losing the writer’s intention in part. Following example shows the difference between semantic and communicative translations:

  • More catholic than the pope [Sic]
  • Semantic translation:کاتولیک تر از پاپ 
  • Communicative translation: کاسه داغتر از آش/ دایه دلسوزتر از مادر

(Safavi, 1992)

Based on Holmes’s paper, translation is really a perfect inter-discipline, interfacing with cultural studies, linguistics, literary studies, philosophy and language engineering. Holmes’s paper also refers to many key aspects of translation. It talks of translation as:

  • A process: what happens in the act of translating the ST?
  • A product: analysis of the TT.
  • A function: how the TT operates in a particular context.

(Hatim, & Munday, 2004)

Some people argue that translation is a science. Therefore, it should be precise, predictable, and follow scientific rules that work all the time (Berkeley, 1991). Chukovskii confirms that, "translation is not only an art, but a high art." Azizinezhad believes both art and translation are idiosyncratic and based on the intuition of the producer. But art’s defining factor is aesthetic while translation’s defining factor is problem finding and solving. Third group including Newmark believe that the translation is a craft consisting of the attempt to replace a written message or statement in one language by the same message or statement in another language (Azizinezhad, 2006).

2.2 The Relationship between Translation Theories and Translation Process

By help of a special theory, a problem is identified, possible solutions are generated, and one solution is selected. On the selective side, theories can also provide a range of reasons for choosing one solution and discarding the rest, as well as defending that solution when necessary. It’s quite wrong to separate theory from the practice of which it is already a part (Pym, 2010). 

The linguistic theory of translation consists of a series of theses related to the fundamental aspect of interlingual communication. It is concerned with the study of the source and target language words and expressions which can replace each other in the process of translation. Since translations are made from one language to another, we may assume that the translation process is, in fact, a kind of language use in interlingual communication.

While the linguistic theory of translation puts the emphasis on translation equivalence, the cultural theory of translation stresses the profound alliance of language, mind and culture of the speakers. It also reveals that cultural differences create the need for a variety of pragmatic adaptation in translation (Solange Mahi, 1993).

Communication theory holds that a sufficient communicative system transfers the information with the least amount of redundancy and noise (Palmer, 1971).

Communication regardless of its kind may happen between people of the same culture and language or of different cultures whose beliefs, ideas, attitude, customs, behaviours, festivals, cuisine and clothes style differ (Richards, 1985). Thus, in the evaluation of translation as cross-cultural communication, a cultural theory of translation is needed which is in accordance with the communication theory.

2.3 Translation Evaluation

Lauscher introduces two approaches in translation quality assessment: Equivalence-based approaches and Functional approaches. In the former, equivalence is a central concept which defines the relationship of the ST and TT and distinguishes translation from other kinds of texts. Translation reproduces the ST as closely as possible and translating is a bipolar procedure which aims at producing a TT while constantly referring back to the ST. In the latter, translation isn’t so much determined by the ST as by factors regarding to target culture; function, a prospective concept, is determined by translator with regard to target culture. Basis of this approach is the Skopos Theory in which TT and target audiences have the key positions. It focuses on evaluating texts for special purpose which tends to fulfill the same function in source and target culture. A good translation in this approach is one that allows TR to reach a coherent interpretation of the TT (Lauscher, 2000).

2.4 Skopos Theory

Skopos is the Greek word for ‘aim’ or ‘purpose’ and was introduced into translation theory in the 1970s by Hans J. Vermeer as a technical term for the purpose of a translation and of the action of translating. Skopos theory focuses on the purpose of the translation, which determines the translation methods and strategies that are to be employed in order to produce a functionally adequate result. This result is the TT, which Vermeer calls the translatum. Therefore, in Skopos theory, knowing why a ST is to be translated and what the function of the TT will be are crucial for the translator.

The basic underlying rules of Skopos theory are:

  1. A translatum (or TT) is determined by its Skopos.
  2. A TT is an offer of information (informationsangebot) in a target culture and TL concerning an offer of information in a source culture and SL.
  3. A TT doesn’t initiate an offer of information in a clearly reversible way.
  4. A TT must be internally coherent (coherence rule).
  5. A TT must be coherent with the ST (fidelity rule).

An important advantage of Skopos theory is that it allows the possibility of the same text being translated in different ways according to the purpose of the TT and the commission which is given to the translator.

Paying deserved attention to target culture is in line with the principles of Skopos theory. So, with referring to the dichotomy of translation strategies as domestication and foreignizing, the strategy selected by Skopos theory is domesticating (Rahimi, 2008). Following table shows the distinction between foreignization and domestication.

Table 2.1 Foreignization and Domestication (Rahimi, 2008)

Foreignization

Domestication

Being loyal to the form of SL

Using procedures such as

Transcription or transference /Naturalization

Functional equivalent//Shift or transposition

Modulation//Paraphrase/Translation label 

Ethno-deviant /Heterogeneity

Ethno-centric/Homogeneity

Lowly communicative

Highly communicative

Exact/ Ambiguous/ Unintelligible

Natural/ Clear/ Intelligible

Source word order

Target word order

Linguistic /Less fluent

Functional /More fluent

Culturally non-dominant

Culturally dominant

Intertextual

Intratextual

The researcher has made some modifications in the first row of the table (translation procedures) to fit better the goals of the research. While translation methods relate to the whole text, translation procedures are used for sentences and smaller units of language (Newmark, 1988).

3. Methodology

3.1 Design

A descriptive method of research was used to collect data, find possible solutions for the existing translation problems of selected tourist guidebooks and draw conclusions of the study. Therefore, the present study tried to find the cases of inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural elements in these books based on a functional theory of translation (Skopos theory). In interpreting the results, this study took mostly a qualitative approach to research.

3.2 Materials

The materials in the present study consisted of three Persian tourist guidebooks and their English translations:

1.  راهنمای سفر به استان فارس (Yaghubi, 2006)

Translation: Travel Guide to Fars (Beheshti, 2007),

2.  ایران در یک نگاه (Zendehdel, 2007)

Translation: Iran at a Glance (Hakimian, 2007), and

3.  نگاهی کوتاه به اصفهان (Atapour, 2009 )

Translation: Isfahan at a Glance (Atapour, 2009).

These books were selected because of their availability; their recent publication; their reduplication; being among best sellers; covering the cultural features of two salient tourist attractions of Iran (Fars and Isfahan province) in details; containing many cultural elements including beliefs, ideas, attitudes, customs, behaviour, festivals, cuisine, clothes style, architecture, name of scenic spots, historical sites, and religious places of Iran as a whole in “Iran at a Glance”.

The assumption was that the proper translation of cultural elements in these books can result in successful communication with the people of different languages and cultures.

Moreover to have a fair evaluation of the translation of cultural elements, the following books were consulted and frequently referred to throughout the research:

1. Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies (Second ED.). (2009). NY: Routledge.

2. Encyclopedia of Tourism. (2000). NY: Routledge.

3. Dictionary of the American Heritage (Forth Ed.). (2006). NY: Dell Publishing.

3.3 Procedures

The following procedures were used in this process:

First, in data analysis, the three mentioned Persian tourist guidebooks and their English translations were compared at word, phrase, and sentence levels to find examples of different translation procedures used for cultural elements. The above mentioned examples were listed in separate tables.

Next, considering the basic underlying principles of Skopos theory the cases of inappropriate translation procedures were found among those listed in previous part.

Then, the percentage of different translation procedures and their inadequacies were listed in separate tables and pie charts.

After that, in the discussion part, the reasons for inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural elements were given based on Skopos theory, communication theory and cooperative principle which are closely intervowen.

Finally, considering the premise of the study, in cross-cultural communication a successful translation makes slight sacrifice to accuracy of ST in favor of sensitivity to the target reader’s culture (Solange Mahi, 1993), adequate translations were given which are believed to have the least amount of noise and redundancy; hence they highly cooperate with the communication theory.

4. Data Analysis and Results

In this part elicited data were listed in separate tables at word, phrase, and sentence level. Each table includes four columns: 1. the number, 2. Persian text, 3. English translation, and 4. translation procedure. The page number along with the abbreviated name of the book was also given in the corresponding cell.

Abbreviated name of the books:

  1. Travel Guide to Fars (TGF),
  2. Iran at a Glance (Ir G), and
  3. Isfahan at a Glance (Is G)

The cases of inappropriate translation procedures were marked with asterisks in the tables. The percentage of different translation procedures and their inadequacies were also illustrated in separate tables and pie charts.

4.1 Results for Translation Procedures at Word Level

This part represents the elicited data for translation procedures at word level, marks the cases of inappropriate translation procedures with asterisks, and reports the results in frequency table and pie charts.

Table 4.1 Elicited Data for Translation Procedures at Word Level

No

Persian Text

English Translation

Translation Procedure

1

قشقایی

Qashqai TGF, p138

Naturalization 

2

شاهسون

 

Shasavan TGF, P138

Transference

3

کرد

 

Kurd TGF, P138

Transference

4

بختیاری

 

Bakhtiari TGF, P138

Transference

5

ممسنی

 

Mamasani TGF, P138

Transference

6

خمسه

 

khamseh TGF, P138

Transference

7

افشار

 

Afshar TGF, P138

Transference

8

بلوچ

 

Baluch TGF, P138

Transference

9

خزر

Khazar TGF, P138

Transference

10

آریایی

Aryan TGF, p 19

Naturalization

11

ماد

Median TGF, p 20

Naturalization

12

پارتیان

Parthian TGF, p30

Naturalization

13

شاهنامه

Shahnameh TGF, p 13

Transference

14

سیاوش

Siavash TGF, p 13

Transference

15

قبله

qibla TGF, P 91

Naturalization

16

محراب

*mihrab TGF, P 91

Transference

17

تکیه

*tekieh TGF, P92

Transference

18

تیمچه

*timcheh TGF, P93

Transference

19

منبر

*minbar TGF, P100

Transference

20

قاجار

Qajar TGF, p 60

Naturalization

21

ترمه

termeh (a valuable fabric produced only in Iran and Kashmir) TGF, P102 

Transference & paraphrase

22

قلم

qalam (a reed pen) TGF, P107 

Naturalization & Literal translation

23

فالگوش

falgush (fortune hearing) TGF,p 123

Transference & Literal translation

24

بادگیر

badgir (wind trapper/catcher) Ir G, p 20

Transference & literal translation

25

آتشگاه

*atashgah (fire temple) Ir G, P 35

Transference & literal translation

26

چهار شنبه سوری

*Chaharshanbeh Suri

(“Wednesday Fire”) TGF, p 122

Transference& Translation label

27

حاجی فیروز

*Hajji Firuz (The traditional herald of the Nouruz season)

TGF, p123

Transference & Paraphrase

28

ساسانی

Sasanid TGF, p32

Naturalization

29

سامانیان

Samanids TGF, p47

Naturalization

30

سلجوقیان

Seljuks TGF, p49

Naturalization

31

ماست

*mast TGF, p 387

Transference

32

فسنجان

Fesenjan (a sweet-sour stew made with chicken or meat ball, walnuts, and sweet pomegranate paste) TGF, p387

Transference & Paraphrase

33

پایتخت

*capital city IsG, p3

Literal translation

34

صفر

*Safar (“the avoid month”) TGF, p121

Naturalization & translation label

35

سیاه چادر

*black tent TGF, p 147

Literal translation

36

ماسوله

Massooleh Ir G, p 58

Transference

37

کمبوجیه

*Kambujia (Cambyses) TGF, P22

Transference & Naturalization

38

کوروش

*Kurosh (Cyrus) TGF, P22

Transference & Naturalization

39

هخامنش

*Hakhamanes(Achaemenes)TGF,P22

Transference & Naturalization

40

داریوش

*Daryush (Darius) TGF, P24

Transference & Naturalization

41

خشایار

*Khashahayar (Xerxes) TGF, P26

Transference & Naturalization

42

اردشیر

*Ardashir (Artaxerxes) TGF, P27

Transference & Naturalization

Table 4.2 The Frequency Table at Word Level

Translation Procedure

The Number of the Found Cases

The Percentage of the Found Cases

The number of Inappropriate cases

The percentage of inappropriate cases

Naturalization

9

21.42%

0

0%

Transference

16

38.09%

5

11.90%

Transference& Naturalization

6

14.28%

6

14.28%

Transference & Paraphrase

3

7.14%

1

2.38%

Naturalization& Literal translation

1

2.38%

0

0%

Transference & Literal translation

3

7.14%

1

2.38%

Transference & Translation label

1

2.38%

1

2.38%

Literal translation

2

4.76%

2

4.76%

Naturalization & Translation label

1

2.38%

1

2.38%

The Total Number/ Percentage of the Cases

42

99.97%~ 100%

17

40.46%

The above table shows that among the 42 cases found for translation procedures at word level, 17 cases (40.46 %) were inappropriate.

Pie Charts at Word Level

Pie Chart 1

Naturalization 21.42%
Transference 38.09%
Transference & Naturalization 14.28%
Transference & Paraphrase 7.14%
Naturalization & Literal translation 2.38%
Transference & Literal translation 7.14%
Transference & Translation label 2.38%
Literal translation 4.76%
Naturalization & Translation label 2.38%

Pie Chart 2

Inappropriate Naturalization 0%
Inappropriate Transference 11.90%
Inappropriate Transference & Naturalization 14.28%
Inappropriate Transference & Paraphrase 2.38%
Inappropriate Naturalization & Literal translation 0%
Inappropriate Transference & Literal translation 2.38%
Inappropriate Transference & Translation label 2.38%
Inappropriate Literal translation 4.76%
Inappropriate Naturalization & Translation label 2.38%

4.2 Results for Translation Procedures at Phrase Level

This part represents the elicited data for translation procedures at phrase level, marks the cases of inappropriate translation procedures with asterisks, and reports the results in frequency table and pie charts.

Table 4.3 Elicited Data for Translation Procedures at Phrase level

No

Persian Text

English Translation

Translation Procedure

1

دریاچه پریشان

*Lake Parishan TGF, p136

Literal translation & Transference

2

آبشار مارگون

Margun Fall TGF, p 136

Transference & Literal translation 

3

استان اصفهان

*Province Isfahan IsG, p2

Literal translation

4

صنعت های دستی فلزی و چوبی

Metal and wood handicrafts TGF, p 62

Shift (Change in the position of the adjective) 

5

شهر برجسته

*a city leading IsG, p3

Literal translation

6

مهریه و شیربها

*Prenuptial issues TGF, p 144

Functional equivalent

7

میدان نقش جهان

Naqsh-e Jahan Square IsG, p3

Transference & Literal translation

8

مسجد امام

Imam Mosque IsG, p7

Literal translation 

9

مسجد جامع

Congregational Mosque TGF, p 177

Shift (Change in the position of the adjective) 

10

مسجد جامع

*Masjed Jame IsG, p 38

Transference

11

باغ گلها

*Golha Garden  IsG, p37

Transference& Literal translation

12

خانه های چوبی

wooden houses Ir G, p71

Shift (Change in the position of the adjective)

13

سقفهای گنبدی شکل

dome-shaped roofs Ir G, p71

Shift (Change in the position of the adjective)

14

ساحل های ماسه ایی

sandy beaches Ir G, p38

Shift (Change in the position of the adjective)

15

بازار قیصریه

Qeysarieh bazaar Is G, P3

Transference & Literal translation

16

کتیبه های دیوار

*cornices of the wall Is G, P6

Literal translation

17

میدان کهنه

*Meydan Kohneh Is G, P14

Transference

18

تالار طویله

*Tavileh (stable) Hall Is G, P15

Transference & Literal Translation

19

گردشگاه چهار باغ

Chahar Baq Promenade Is G, P20

Transference & Literal translation

20

نان سنگک

*Sangak bread Ir G, p 62

Transference& Literal translation

21

نان لواش

*Lavash bread Ir G, p 62

Transference& Literal translation

22

نان تافتون

*Tafton bread Ir G, p 62

Transference& Literal translation

23

نان بربری

*Barbary bread Ir G, p 62

Transference& Literal translation

24

شهر متمرکز

castellated city Is G, p2

Literal translation

Table 4.4 The Frequency Table at Phrase Level

Translation Procedure

The Number of the Found Cases

The Percentage of the Found Cases

The number of Inappropriate cases

The percentage of inappropriate cases

Shift

5

20.83%

0

0%

Literal translation & Transference

1

4.16%

1

4.16%

Transference & Literal translation

10

41.66%

6

25%

Literal translation

5

20.83%

3

12.5%

Functional equivalent

1

4.16%

1

4.16%

Transference

2

8.33%

2

8.33%

The Total Number/ Percentage of the Cases

24

99.97% ~ 100%

13

54.15%

The above table shows that among the 24 cases found for translation procedures at phrase level, 13 cases (54.15 %) were inappropriate.

Pie Charts at Phrase Level

Pie Chart 3

Shift 20.83%
Literal translation & Transference 4.16%
Transference & Literal translation 41.66%
Literal translation 20.83%
Functional equivalent 4.16%
Transference 8.33%

Pie Chart 4

Inappropriate Shift 0%
Inappropriate Literal translation & Transference 4.16%
Inappropriate Transference & Literal translation 25%
Inappropriate Literal translation 12.5%
Inappropriate Functional equivalent 4.16%
Inappropriate Transference 8.33%

4.3 Results for Translation Procedures at Sentence Level

This part represents the elicited data for translation procedures at sentence level, marks the cases of inappropriate translation procedures with asterisks, and reports the results in frequency table and pie charts.

Table 4.5 Elicited Data for Translation Procedures at Sentence Level

No

Persian Text

English Translation

Translation Procedure

1

 

شواهدی مستدل حاکی از این است که داریوش پیرو آیین زرتشت بود و از هیچ تلاشی در گسترش این آیین در سراسر قلمرو امپراطوری ایران دریغ نکرد.

*There are reasonable grounds to believe that Darius may have contributed to the wide spread of Zoroastrianism in Iran. TGF, p26

Modulation (Nagated contrary)

2

 

ازدواج بین خویشان نزدیک رایج است زیرا عروس و داماد از یکدیگر شناخت نسبی دارند.

Marriage between close relatives is encouraged because bride and groom know each other to some extent.

TGF, p144

Modulation (active to passive)

3

 

این میدان به جای میدان کوچکی که از دوران تیموریان باقی مانده بود احداث شده است.

*This square was made in the place of a small square remaining from Timurid dynasty. Is G, p3

Literal translation.

4

 

این مسجد برای استفاده عموم ساخته شده است و معمار آن استاد علی اکبر اصفهانی بوده که معمار برجسته عصر صفوی است و نام او در سر در مسجد وجود دارد.

 

*This mosque was a public one and Master Ali Akbar Isfahani is its architect who has been very famous at his time. His name is carved on top of the mosque portal. IsG, p 7

Shift (a complex sentence to two simple sentences)

Modualtion (active to passive)

5

 

زنان جوان قشقایی دوست دارند جامه هایی با رنگ های تند و براق بپوشند در حالیکه زنان مسن تر ترجیح می دهند جامه هایی با رنگ تیره بپوشند.

*Although most women prefer very bright, even garish colors, elderly women tend to wear dark clothing.

TGF, p 143

Literal translation

6

در کنار این صنعت باید از صنعت های کوزه گری و شیشه گری نام برد.

Aside from this industry, the industries of poetry and glasswork should be mentioned.  Ir G, p 61

Modulation (active to passive)

7

تعداد این روستاها که هرکدام از نظر تاریخی و طبیعی حداقل یک اثر شگفت انگیز دارند به بیش از 500 نمونه می رسد.

 

*The number of these villages, each of which holds at least one wonderful monument, reaches 500. 

Ir G, p 58

Literal translation

8

زنان قشقایی هیچ گاه موهای خود را کوتاه نمی کنند.

*Qashqai women never cut their hair short.  TGF, p143

Literal translation

9

باغ گلها یکی از مراکز تفریحی  اصفهان بوده که در سال  1375در حاشیه شمالی زاینده رود تاسیس گردیده است.

*This entertaining garden first was established in 1996 in Northern riverbank.  Is G,p57

Literal translation.

10

در جاده نجف آباد اصفهان بر روی تپه سنگی ساختمانی قرار دارد که آتشگاه نامیده می شود.

*The ancient fire temple is on top of a stone hill near the road to Najaf-Abad.  Is G, p35

Literal translation

Table 4.6 The Frequency Table at Sentence Level

Translation Procedure

The Number of the Found Cases

The Percentage of the Found Cases

The number of Inappropriate cases

The percentage of Inappropriate cases

Literal translation

6

60%

6

60%

Modulation

3

30%

1

10%

Shift & Modulation

1

10%

1

10%

The Total Number/ Percentage of the Cases

10

100%

8

80%

The above table shows that among the 10 cases found for translation procedures at sentence level, 8 cases (80 %) were inappropriate.

Pie Chart 5

Literal translation 60%
Modulation 30%
Shift & Modulation 10%

Pie Chart 6

Inappropriate Literal translation 60%
Inappropriate Modulation 10%
Inappropriate Shift & Modulation 10%

5. Discussion

As stated earlier, a number of studies have been done about translation of tourist guidebooks and cultural elements embedded in them. The main concern of these studies was to introduce a special site and remove obstacles. They believed that culture plays a significant role in these books and culture-bound issues need proper attention. They also referred to some translation problems in this respect and suggested cultural transposition, calque, cultural borrowing, and communicative translation as solution. They emphasized the role of a good translation as a medium which is able to meet the expectations of the TR in tourist guidebooks in this cross-cultural movement.

But the mentioned studies have rarely used a translation theory to back their solutions. They have not fully covered the communicative goals of tourist guidebooks. They have seldom been about Iran; and the studies about Iran haven’t been comprehensive enough. So this study suggests Skopos theory as a tool for assessing the adequacy of the translation procedures used for cultural elements in tourist guidebooks and solving the present problems.

In this part, the analyzed data and results from the previous part are discussed in terms of the following research questions of the study:

  1. Is ignoring or not paying deserved attention to the translation of cultural issues in tourist guidebooks in Iran the reason behind failure in communication and therefore, inadequacy of guidebooks to attract tourists?
  2. Can the cases of inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural elements in tourist guidebooks in Iran be identified and solved from a Skopos theory perspective?

5.1 Discussing the Results in Terms of the First Research Question

In order to answer the first research question three English tourist guidebooks and their Persian translations were investigated carefully, different translation procedures along with their inappropriate cases were identified and the percentage of each one was illustrated in separate frequency tables and pie charts. Through the examination of statistical analysis shown in table 4.2, 4.4, and 4.6 the following results were obtained.

Among the 42 cases found for different translation procedures used for cultural elements at word level, 17 cases were inappropriate which constitute 40.46% of the whole results. The highest frequency belonged to inappropriate transference which was used with naturalization (6).

Among the 24 cases found for different translation procedures used for cultural elements at phrase level, 13 cases were inappropriate which constitute 54.15% of the whole results. The highest frequency belonged to inappropriate transference used with literal translation (6).

Among the 10 cases found for different translation procedures used for cultural elements at sentence level, 8 cases were inappropriate which constitute 80% of the whole results. The highest frequency belonged to inappropriate literal translation (6).

Considering the above mentioned percentage of the cases of inappropriate translation procedures used for cultural elements at word, phrase and sentence level in tourist guidebooks in Iran, the claims made by previous studies about the importance of cultural elements embedded in tourist guidebooks, and the communicative goals of these books, the following point can be made: ignoring or not paying deserved attention to the translation of cultural issues in tourist guidebooks in Iran is the reason behind failure in communication and therefore, inadequacy to attract tourists.

5.2 Discussing the Results in Terms of the Second Research Question

In order to answer the second research question the processes of problem identifying, assessing (finding the cases of inappropriate translation procedures and giving reasons for them) and solving (rendering adequate translations) will be directed by help of Skopos theory.

5.2.1 Discussing the Results at Word Level

The following results are related to the cases of inappropriate translation procedures at word level marked with asterisks in table 4.1

No 16-19 (Transference)

Problems: محراب mihrab/ تکیه tekieh/ تیمچه timcheh/ منبر minbar

Transference of the above words isn’t informative enough in the TT. Therefore, the maxim of quantity is violated. They aren’t coherent with the TT receiver’s situation; they don’t allow the TR to reach a coherent interpretation of the TT. They are not functionally appropriate in the TT and therefore, they don’t communicate with the TT receivers.

Adequate translations:

mihrab (decorative panel in the wall of the mosque, showing to the prayers the direction of Mecca)

tekieh (a site for holding religious ceremonies)

timcheh (originally a small caravanserai and now a roofed area inside the bazaar)

minbar (pulpit consisting of a small set of steps from where a sermon is delivered)

Using both transference and paraphrase (in the text) provides the target receiver with enough information and the problem with the maxim of quantity will be solved. Therefore, they will communicate appropriately with the target receiver.

No 25 (Transference and Literal translation)

Problem:  آتشگاه atashgah (fire temple)

Literal translation of the above word is informative enough in the TT. Transferring آتشگاه as ‘atashgah’ is unnecessary and is considered as a case of redundancy. Therefore, it violates the maxim of quantity.

Adequate translation: fire temple

No 26 (Transference and Translation label)

Problem: چهارشنبه سوری Chaharshanbeh Suri (“Wednesday Fire”)

Translation label (“Wednesday Fire”) isn’t informative enough and doesn’t communicate with the TT receiver. It doesn’t result in a coherent interpretation in the TT.

Adequate translation: Chaharshanbeh Suri (the last Wednesday of Iranian calendar which is celebrated by making fire)

Adding paraphrase instead of translation label to the transference will help the TR to have a coherent interpretation.

No 27 (Transference and Paraphrase)

Problem: حاجی فیروز Hajji Firuz (the traditional herald of the Nouruz season)

Nouruz is not a season. It’s wrong information and violates the maxim of quality.

Adequate translation: Hajji Firuz (the traditional herald of the Nouruz)

The word ‘season’ should be omitted.

No 31 (Transference)

Problem: ماست  mast

The above transference doesn’t communicate any information in the TT.

Adequate translation: yogurt

It sounds natural and clear in the TT, and communicates appropriately with the TR.

No 33 (Literal translation)

Problem: پایتخت  capital city

Using city here is a case of redundancy which violates the maxim of quantity.

Adequate translation: capital

It is communicative enough in the TT.

No 34 (Naturalization and Translation label)

Problem: صفر  Safar (“the avoid month”)

The avoid month is not clear enough (avoidance of eating, killing, etc.) in the TT. Therefore, it violates the maxim of manner and can’t communicative appropriately with the TR.

Adequate translation: Safar

It is natural in the TT and can be used alone.

No 34 (Literal translation)

Problem: سیاه چادر black tent

The above literal translation doesn’t communicate accurate information in the TT and violates the maxim of quality.

Adequate translation: ‘nomadic tent’

No 37-42 (Transference and Naturalization)

Problems:

کمبوجیه Kambujia (Cambyses)

کورش Kurosh (Cyrus)

داریوش Daryush (Darius)

خشایار Khashayar (Xerxes)

اردشیر Ardashir (Artaxerxes)

هخامنش Hakhamanesh (Achaemenes)

Words used in the parentheses are natural in the TT. Using transference along with the naturalization hinders the process of cross-cultural communication.

Adequate translations:

کمبوجیه Cambyses

کورش Cyrus

داریوش Darius

خشایار Xerxes

اردشیر Artaxerxes

هخامنش Achaemenes

Naturalization alone is communicative enough in the TT.

5.2.2 Discussing the Results at Phrase Level

The following results are related to the cases of inappropriate translation procedures at phrase level marked with asterisks in table 4.3.

No 1 (Literal translation and Transference)

Problem: دریاچه پریشان  Lake Parishan

It follows source word order and isn’t natural in the TT.

Adequate translation: Parishan Lake

Following target word order solves the problem and communicates appropriately with the TT receiver.

No 3 and 5 (Literal translation)

Problems: استان اصفهان  Province Isfahan/ شهر برجسته a city leading

The above cases follow source word order. They aren’t natural in the TT.

Adequate translations: Isfahan Province / a leading city (shift)

Following target word order solves the problem.

No 6 (Functional equivalent)

Problem: مهریه و شیربها prenuptial issues

Prenuptial issues as culture free words are too general to be understood.

Adequate translations:

Mahrieh (property which groom is assigned to give to bride as a sign of his affection)

Shir Baha (a gift to bride’s mother for nursing her)

Using transference and paraphrase together communicates coherently in the TT.

No 10 and 17 (Transference)

Problems: مسجد جامع Masjed Jame / میدان کهنه Meydan Kohneh

The above phrases are rarely communicative in the TT.

Adequate translations: Congregational Mosque (shift)/ the Old Square (shift)

If ‘ Jame’ is the name of the mosque , it can be used considering the source word order. Jame Mosque

No11 (Transference and Literal translation)

Problem: باغ گلها Golha Garden

Golha isn’t a proper name; there is no need to transference it.

Adequate translation: The Flower Garden

Literal translation is informative enough in the TT.

No 16 (Literal translation)

Problem: کتیبه های دیوار cornices of the wall

Cornice is completely different from کتیبه; it results in misunderstanding in the TT.

Adequate translation: inscriptions of the wall

It results in coherent interpretation in the TT.

No 18 (Transference and Literal translation)

Problem: تالار طویله  Tavileh (Stable) Hall

Stable is informative enough; using ‘Tavileh’ along with stable is a case of redundancy.

Adequate translation: Stable Hall

No 20-23 (Transference and Literal translation)

Problems:

نان سنگک  Sangak bread

نان لواش  Lavash bread

نان تافتون Tafton bread

نان بربری Barbary bread

The above translations don’t communicate appropriately with the TR.

Adequate translations:

Sangak (thin bread which is baked over gravels)

Lavash /Tafton (thin crispy unleavened bread)

Barbary (hard bread with lines on the surface)

Using both transferences and paraphrase communicates appropriately in the TT.

5.2.3 Discussing the Results at Sentence Level

The following results are related to the cases of inappropriate translation procedures at sentence level marked with asterisks in table 4.5.

No 1 (Modulation)

شواهدی مستدل حاکی از این است که داریوش پیرو آیین زرتشت بود و از هیچ تلاشی در گسترش این آیین در سراسر قلمرو امپراطوری ایران دریغ نکرد.

There are reasonable grounds to believe that Darius may have contributed to the wide spread of Zoroastrianism in Iran.

Problem: Unnecessary addition and deletion of the underlined parts result in the lack of intertexual coherence and fidelity rule is broken.

Adequate translation: There are reasonable grounds to believe that Darius may have contributed to the spread of Zoroastrianism in Iran’s Empire.

No 3 (Literal translation)

این میدان  به جای میدان کوچکی که از دوران تیموریان باقی مانده بود احداث شده است.

This square was made in the place of a small square remaining from Timurid dynasty.

Problem: Using the verb ‘make’ for ساختن بنا is inappropriate and unnatural in the TT and doesn’t communicate appropriately with the TR.

Adequate translation: This square was built in place of a small square remaining from Timurid dynasty.

No 4 (Shift and Modualtion)

این مسجد برای استفاده عموم ساخته شده است و معمار آن استاد علی اکبر اصفهانی بوده که معمار برجسته عصر صفوی است و نام او در سر در مسجد وجود دارد.

This mosque was a public one and Master Ali Akbar Isfahani is its architect who has been very famous at his time. His name is carved on top of the mosque portal. 

Problems:

1. Lack of intertextual coherence (breaking the fidelity rule) results in rendering sentences which aren’t informative enough in the TT. Therefore, the maxim of quantity is broken and communication will not be successful. 

2. For some of the words better equivalents can be used to have the same effect on TR as that of SR and let TR have a coherent interpretation in the TT.

3. Converting the original sentence to two simple sentences doesn’t result in complete understanding in the TT.

Adequate translation: This mosque was a public one. It was built by Ali Akbar Isfahani who was one of the prominent architects of Safavid era. His name exists on top of the mosque portal.

No 5 ( Literal translation)

زنان جوان قشقایی دوست دارند جامه هایی با رنگ های تند و براق بپوشند در حالیکه زنان مسن تر ترجیح می دهند جامه هایی با رنگ تیره بپوشند.

Although most women prefer very bright, even garish colors, elderly women tend to wear dark clothing.

Problem: Unnecessary deletion of the underlined part and adding adjective result in lack of intertexual coherence. They render wrong information in the TT and the maxim of quality is broken.

Adequate translation: Although young Qashqai women prefer very bright, even garish colors, elderly women tend to wear dark clothing.

No 7 ( Literal translation)

تعداد این روستاها که هرکدام از نظر تاریخی و طبیعی حداقل یک اثر شگفت انگیز دارند به بیش از 500 نمونه می رسد.

The number of these villages, each of which holds at least one wonderful monument, reaches 500

Problem: Lack of intertextual coherence between the underlined parts results in rendering wrong information and breaking the maxim of quality which hinders the process of cross-cultural communication in its own right.

Adequate translation: The number of these villages, each of which holds at least one wonderful monument, reaches more than 500.

No 8 (Literal translation)

زنان قشقایی هیچ گاه موهای خود را کوتاه نمی کنند.

Qashqai women never cut their hair short.

Problem: The underlined part is a case of redundancy which breaks the maxim of quantity and sounds unnatural in the TT.

Adequate translation: Qashqai women never cut their hair.

No 9 (Literal translation)

باغ گلها یکی از مراکز تفریحی اصفهان بوده که در سال 1375 در حاشیه شمالی زاینده رود تاسیس گردیده است.

This entertaining garden first was established in 1996 in Northern riverbank.

Problems:

1. Unnecessary deletion of the underlined part results in ambiguity (which riverbank?) and the maxim of manner is broken.

2. Lack of intertextual coherence between the following parts breaks the fidelity rule.

باغ گلها This entertaining garden

در سال 1375 تاسیس گردیده است first was established in 1996

Adequate translation: The Flower Garden is one of the entertaining centers of Isfahan which was established in the Northern bank of Zayandeh-rud in 1996.

No 10 (Literal translation)

در جاده نجف آباد اصفهان بر روی تپه سنگی ساختمانی قرار دارد که آتشگاه نامیده می شود.

The ancient fire temple is on top of a stone hill near the road to Najaf-Abad.

Problem: Unnecessary addition of the underlined part breaks the maxim of quantity.

Adequate translation: The fire temple is on top of a stone hill in Isfahan to Najaf-Abad road.

Considering the above detailed discussions, it’s obvious that Skopos theory was successful in problem identifying (finding the cases of inappropriate translation procedures) and solving (rendering adequate translations) for cultural elements in tourist guidebooks. In some cases, it took advantage of communication theory and cooperative principles which are closely interwoven with this theory and its principles. The reasons it rendered are directly related to the inappropriate translation procedures in most cases and indirectly related to them only in some cases (for example a case of unnecessary deletion or addition which was found in modulation).

Comparing the findings of this study with the previous studies, it can be mentioned that the processes of problem identifying and solving for cultural elements in tourist guidebooks can be better achieved through a functional, TT-oriented theory like Skopos theory which previous studies didn’t enjoy.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the discussion of the results the following findings were elicited:

1. Transference, naturalization, transference and naturalization, transference and paraphrase, transference and literal translation, literal translation, naturalization and literal translation, transference and translation label, and naturalization and translation were identified as translation procedures used at word level based on their respective frequency. 40.46% of the above translation procedures were inappropriate whose subsequent negative effects on the process of cross-cultural communication are tangible in the existing tourist guidebooks.

2. Transference and literal translation, shift (change in the position of the adjective), literal translation, transference, literal translation and transference, and functional equivalent were identified as translation procedures used at phrase level based on their respective frequency. 54.15% of the above translation procedures were inappropriate whose subsequent negative effects on the process of cross-cultural communication are dramatic in the existing tourist guidebooks.

3. Literal translation, modulation (active to passive), modulation (negated contrary), and shift (converting a complex sentence to two simple sentences) were identified as translation procedures used at sentence level based on their respective frequency. 80% of the above translation procedures were inappropriate whose subsequent negative effects on the process of cross-cultural communication aren’t less than disaster for the economy of Iran and Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO).

Considering the above findings, it is concluded that ignoring or not paying deserved attention to the translation of cultural issues in tourist guidebooks in Iran is the reason behind failure in communication and therefore, inadequacy to attract tourist.

Translation of tourist guidebooks deals with culture bound issues. Cultural mindset and interpretive filters differ between languages. Therefore, translation process as a kind of language in interlingual communication should be able to minimize cultural ambiguities. It should provide the TR with a coherent TT by considering his situation and cultural background. It should also conserve the SL writer’s message. Using Skopos theory can help us determine the goal of original (communication) in tourist guidebooks. It also helps us identify the cases of inappropriate translation procedures, give reasons for them, suggest solutions, select the best one, and defend its selection by help of its underlying rules and principles, and taking advantage of communication theory and cooperative principles. Translation produced by help of Skopos theory is a natural, clear, fluent, intelligible, and homogeneous one which is in line with the goals of domestication.

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Published - June 2010









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