Semantic Strategy: A Dominant Method in Translating Iltifat in Three English Translations of the Quran



This essay is an investigation into the translation of reference switch “Iltifat” and its types, in three English translations of the Quran. The essay shows that semantic translation method is the most frequently used strategy with regard to the translation of different types of Iltifat. The study’s main concern is the challenges with which a translator may confront in translating Iltifat. An Iltifat has different kinds of which a shift in the use of pronouns is the most frequently used in the Quran. In order to present an analytical description of how different types of Iltifat are translated, the theoretical framework of the study or an introduction of translation methods is presented at first. Then, the main theories, especially, the two translation methods by Newmark (1988), namely, communicative and semantic translations, are defined. Third, data collection procedures are presented; the data has been extracted from a thorough examination of four verses in which Iltifat has been used. The verses were selected and analyzed from different suras of the three English Quran translations: Yusuf Ali (1934), Pickthall (1930) and Arberry (1955). Careful analysis of the selected translated verses indicates that all three translators have tried to make use of semantic translation method and its range as the most frequently used method to remain faithful to the original. Translators’ use of this translation method may account, on the one hand, for the importance of the original text, but it could also be an indicator of the translators’ partiality and ideology.


Quran, English translation, Semantic meaning, Strategy, Iltifat

Author Biography

Abolfazl Horri, Arak University

Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature and Foreign languages, Arak University, Arak, Iran;


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How to Cite

Horri, A. (2019). Semantic Strategy: A Dominant Method in Translating Iltifat in Three English Translations of the Quran. Iranian Journal of Translation Studies, 17(66), 7–22. Retrieved from



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