Is Pun Translatable? The Case of English Translations of Sa'di's Gulistān


  • Helen Ouliaeina
  • Mahmoud Afrouz


Translation suffers from many inherent limitations, one of which is translating a pun meaningfully in another language. In the present paper, we will analyze how puns have been dealt with in the five English translations of The Gulestān of Sa'di (1258) by E. Rehatsek (1956), Eastwick (1852), R. Burton (1888), and J. Ross (1823). Representing some definitions of pun by both TL and SL scholars, the researchers try to typify pun in both TL and SL. Although, perceptibly, there cannot be claimed to exist one clear cut solution to this problem, there seems to be some strategies that can be taken into consideration as effective and useful ones; consequently, it is attempted to touch upon some possible strategies for translating puns, and then presenting a brief analysis of the strategies employed by the translators of the work in rendering the puns efficiently. It will be determined whether they have resorted to a particular strategy, and whether they have been consistent in utilizing a specific strategy they might have realized as the most effective one in pun translation. The last section draws some general conclusions. It seems noteworthy to mention that the research was conducted with the intention of providing a description in order to come to a better understanding of one of the most challenging areas of translation, namely pun translation and emphasizing the fact that, though there are some strategies for rendering puns, one cannot claim that they may be absolutely practical in reality - as is evident in the case of Sa'di’s Gulestān.


2007-08-02 — Updated on 2021-02-06


How to Cite

Ouliaeina, H., & Afrouz, M. (2021). Is Pun Translatable? The Case of English Translations of Sa’di’s Gulistān. Translation Studies Quarterly, 5(18). Retrieved from (Original work published August 2, 2007)



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