Barks and Distortion of Mowlana's Poems: Ideological Manipulation in Poetry Translation


  • Asma Sabermahani
  • Arezoo Pooryazdanpanah Kermani


Every nation's literature is indicative of the beliefs, interests and culture of that nation and translation of literary works plays a significant role in conveying them to other nations. Unfortunately, sometimes due to the manipulation of the source text, many semantic and formal aspects of the literary work are not retained in the process of translation. Generally speaking, ideological manipulation might be applied consciously or unconsciously. It is sometimes applied consciously to distort the ideology of the poet or author of the source text. As a result, the target audience will be provided with a distorted and untrue image of that poet or author. The present study was aimed at investigating the issue of ideological manipulation in English translation of Mowlānā's poems and the consequence of the translator's manipulation of these poems. To this end, five poems were selected randomly from Dīvān-e Šams-e Tabrīzī and Masnavi-ye Ma'navi. Then, they were compared with their English translation rendered by Barks (1997) based on Zauberga's (2004) theory of ideological manipulation. The results of this study demonstrated that the most frequently applied strategy was deletion and the translator has presented a distorted and untrue image of this great Iranian poet and mystic to the West.

Author Biographies

Asma Sabermahani

M.A. in Translation Studies, Shahid Bahonar University, Kerman, Iran;

Arezoo Pooryazdanpanah Kermani

Ph.D. in Persian Language and Literature, Assistant Professor, University of Yazd, Yazd, Iran



How to Cite

Sabermahani, A., & Pooryazdanpanah Kermani, A. (2017). Barks and Distortion of Mowlana’s Poems: Ideological Manipulation in Poetry Translation. Translation Studies Quarterly, 15(57). Retrieved from



Scientific Articles