Methods and Strategies of Translating Ambiguity in Literary Texts



Ambiguity is a literary device used by poets to achieve multiple meanings by using only a few words. Hafiz is for sure one of the main figures and stars in Persian literary firmament known for having used this literary device in his poetry. The study aims at analyzing the concept of ambiguity in the Divan of Hafiz and its German and English translations in order to present a practical model for rendering this figure of speech. To analyze the collected data, first, the couplets containing ambiguous elements were detected in the Divan, then, the English and German translations of each couplet were identified. Subsequently, the methods being employed in rendering ambiguous elements were determined and compared. The efficiency of the procedures was also discussed. The findings demonstrated that literal translation was the most frequently employed procedure by the English translator, while the German translators had mostly adopted ‘sense for sense’. Although being an important strategy, ‘preservation’ is quite limited in use because of the linguistic differences. It was proved that from among the three strategies being employed by the Divan translators, ‘amplification’ can best assist translators to cope properly with the challenge of translating ambiguous elements. Although not being employed by translators, ‘compensation’ can be a practical strategy for the reproduction of the ST aesthetic features.

Author Biographies

Mahmoud Afrouz, University of Isfahan

Assistant Professor, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran;

Morteza Sabourzadeh

MA in Translation Studies, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran;



How to Cite

Afrouz, M., & Sabourzadeh, M. (2018). Methods and Strategies of Translating Ambiguity in Literary Texts. Iranian Journal of Translation Studies, 15(59). Retrieved from



Academic Research Paper

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