Loss and Gain in Poetic, Prose, & Explanatory Translations of the Holy Qur'ān


  • Salar Manafi Anari
  • Younes Mostafaei


The Qur'ān is an extremely rich source of wisdom, beauty, and Salvation, this is why in whose service so much time, money, and talent have been spent (Yusuf Ali, 1937, p. ix). Despite all these efforts the Book still remains highly challenging. The Holy Qur'ān with its divine nature, impregnable language, deepest meanings, and a pleasant melody still challenges translators. The prioritizing of, or better say, approximating some features of the Qur'ān by translators will result in loss of some other aspects in translations. The present research was carried out to find out which of the poetic, prose, and explanatory English translations of the Qur'ān have been more successful in preserving the form and meaning of the Holy Qur'ān using Nida and Taber’s framework (1969). The corpus of the study consisted of Surah Ya Sean and its three different English translations, namely poetic (by Fazlollah Nikayin), prose (by Arthur J. Arberry), and explanatory (by Yusuf Ali). The research found that the poetic translation is the one which has suffered the most in terms of both form and meaning. Prose translation has been the most successful in preserving the form and explanatory translation the most successful one in preserving the meaning.

Author Biographies

Salar Manafi Anari

Professor, Department of English Translation, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

Younes Mostafaei

MA Graduate of English Translation Studies, Allameh Tabataba’i University



How to Cite

Manafi Anari, S., & Mostafaei, Y. (2017). Loss and Gain in Poetic, Prose, & Explanatory Translations of the Holy Qur’ān. Translation Studies Quarterly, 14(56). Retrieved from https://journal.translationstudies.ir/ts/article/view/422



Scientific Research Paper

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