The Politics of Translation: Investigating Paratexts of Persian Translations of American Literary Works in Two Historical Contexts
The present study investigates the impact of political relationships on intercultural transfer between Iran and the United States by examining the presentation of Persian translations of American literary works published in Iran from 1953 to 2004. Focusing on the transformation of the Iran-United States relationship following Iran's 1979 Revolution, this research aims to identify any variations in the paratexts surrounding these translations. By analyzing the paratexts, the study sheds light on how periods of peace and conflict between the two nations have influenced intercultural transfer and the production of literary translations. The theoretical framework draws on Bourdieu's concept of the social formation process of cultural products, highlighting the specific social operations involved in the selection, presentation, and reception of translations. In order to examine changes in the presentation of Persian translations of American literary works over time, the paratexts accompanying 175 translations published in Iran during two historical periods (1953–1979 and 1979–2004) were thematically analyzed using the qualitative textual analysis software MAXqda 2020. These periods are significant as they manifest dramatic shifts in the politics of Iran on both national and international levels. The analysis identified six major themes within the paratextual corpus: 'Source Text Author,' 'Source Text,' 'Socio-political Concerns,' 'Translation and Publication,' 'Literature,' and 'Readership.' While these themes persisted across both periods, the diachronic analysis revealed shifts in their coverage, topics, and content. These findings contribute to the understanding of paratextual materials as politicized objects that not only shape ideological perceptions of the source culture but also reflect the social, political, and cultural discourse within the field of literary translation.
Keywords:American literature, Iran’s 1979 Revolution, Paratext, Persian translation, Politics
Abrahamson, M. (1983). Social research methods. Prentice Hall.
Abrahamian, E. (2001). The 1953 coup in Iran. Science & Society, 182–215.
Abrahamian, E. (2008). A history of modern Iran. Cambridge University Press.
Abrahamian, E. (2013). The coup: 1953, the CIA, and the roots of modern US-Iranian relations. The New Press.
Amanat, A. (2017). Iran: A Modern History. Yale University Press.
Avery, P. (2007). The Cambridge history of Iran. 7, From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic. Cambridge University Press.
Azarang, A., (2016). Tarikh va tahavvol nashr [History and evolution of publication]. Khane-ye Ketab.
Baker, M., & Saldanha, G. (2009). Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Routledge.
Bourdieu, P. (1993). The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature. Columbia University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1999). The social conditions of the international circulation of ideas. In R. Shusterman (Ed.), Bourdieu: A Critical Reader (pp. 220–228). Blackwell.
Buzelin, H. (2014). How devoted can translators be? Revisiting the subservience hypothesis. Target 26(1): 63–97.
Clawson, P., & Rubin, M. (2005). Eternal Iran: continuity and chaos. Palgrave Macmillan.
D’hulst, L. (2010). Translation history. Handbook of translation studies, 1, 397–405.
Evans, J., & Fernandez, F. (2018). Emancipation, secret histories, and the language of hegemony. In J. Evans & F. Fernandez (Eds). The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politicfs (pp. 1–14). Routledge.
Farahzad, F. (2011). Tarjomeh dar dowran-e defa’-e moqaddas [Translation during the Holy War]. Motale’at-e Zaban va Tarjomeh, 1(1), 135–156.
Genette, G. (1997). Paratexts: Thresholds of interpretation (No. 20). Cambridge University Press.
Gharehgozlou, B. (2018). A Study of Persian-English Literary Translation Flows: Texts and Paratexts in Three Historical Contexts. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Kent State University.
Gouanvic, J. (2002). The Stakes of Translation in Literary Fields. Across Languages and Cultures, 3(2), 159–168.
Johnson, R. (2011). The Iran-Iraq war. Palgrave Macmillan.
Jones, F. (2018). The politics of literary translation. In J. Evans & F. Fernandez (Eds). The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics (pp. 309–322). Routledge.
Kayyal, M. (2004). Intercultural relations between Arabs and Israeli Jews as reflected in Arabic translations of modern Hebrew literature. Target, International Journal of Translation Studies, 16(1), 53–68.
Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow engineers and scientists through society. Open University Press: Milton Keynes.
Luhmann, N. (1986). The Autopoiesis of social systems. In F. Geyer & J. Van d. Zeuwen (Eds.), Socio-cybernetic paradoxes: Observation, control and evolution of self-steering systems (pp.172–192). Sage.
Ma’azallahi, P. (2017). ‘Translatorial Habitus’ and ‘Authorial Habitus’: A Bourdieusian Investigation of the Relationship between Literary Translation and Persian Fiction in Iran from 1320S.H./ 1941A.D. until 1345S.H./1966A.D. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Allameh Tabataba‘i University.
Richards, L., & Morse, J. M. (2013). Read me first for a user's guide to qualitative methods. Sage.
Sayaheen, B. (2015). The reception of Arabic-language works translated into English and published in the US before and after September 11. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Kent State University.
Saldanha, G., & O' Brien, S. (2013). Research methodologies in translation studies. Routledge.
Sela-Sheffy, R. (2005). How to be a recognized translator, norms and the field of translation. Target. 17:1. 1–26.
Simon, S. (2013). Cities in translation: Intersections of language and memory. Routledge.
Taghizadeh, S., (2003). Sadegh Chubak va tasir paziri az adabiat-e dastani-e modern-e America [Sadegh chubak and the influence of modern American fiction]. Kelk, 145, 4–7.
Tahir-Gürçağlar, Ş. (2002). What texts don't tell: The uses of paratexts in translation research. In Crosscultural transgressions (pp. 44–60). Routledge.
Vakili, M. (2019). Az enqelab-e eslami ta tamadon-e eslami [from Islamic Revolution to Islamic civilization]. Javanan-e Astan-e Qods.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Mazdak Bolouri, Elaheh Rezvani
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Copyright Licensee: Iranian Journal of Translation Studies. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0 license).