Popular Science Books as a Site of Translational Activism: Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” as a Case in Point
Keywords:Activism, resistance, engagement, popular science books, A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
The main goal of the present paper was to explore the influence of the sociopolitical context of post-revolutionary Iran on the production of the English into Persian translations of popular science books. It particularly aimed to reveal the resisted themes, and to detect and classify the translators’ applied forms of engagement in the translations. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes was selected for doing the study. The whole text, footnotes, and the appended paper were examined. The research was carried within Tymoczko’s theoretical framework (2010a; 2010c; 2010d) that conceptualizes political and ideological agency and activism in translation by using two metaphors of resistance and engagement, and classifies different forms of engagement in translation. The results showed that the translator had tried to provide an almost exact translation of the original scientific text. Nevertheless, he had encoded activism in both forms of resistance and engagement through selection of the text for translation, and commentary on translation in the form of footnotes and a paper appended to the end of the book. He had tried to maintain timeless religious, and cultural beliefs by using ideological agendas as the basis for presenting Western scientific ideas and comments to the Iranian target audience.
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