An Introduction to the Principles of Translating Humor


  • Abolfazl Horri


This paper examines the basic principles of translating humor. Firstly, it reviews briefly the historical and linguistic background of humor, and then it presents the definition and the etymology of the given word. Secondly, it studies humor and the difficulties of translating it in the light of the general principles of translation. In doing so, the paper divides humor into two categories, culture-bound humor and language-bound humor. It then focuses on the latter as well as wordplays and examines their difficulties while being translated to another language. Finally, the paper tries to present some strategies for translating humor in general and wordplays in particular. They read as: translating the source text wordplay with wordplay in the target text; translating it in a way that loses some aspect of the wordplay; replacing it with some other device aimed at creating similar effect; or omitting it (Delabastita 1996b:134). In a word, what seems to be so important in translating humor as well as wordplay is preserving the comic effects in the target text.



How to Cite

Horri, A. (2006). An Introduction to the Principles of Translating Humor. Iranian Journal of Translation Studies, 4(14). Retrieved from



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