Relevance Theory and Explicitation Strategy in Translation


  • Amir Mahdavi Zafarghandi


This paper starts with Relevance Theory as a major development recognizing that linguistically decoded information usually tends to be very incomplete and that pragmatic inference plays a critical role in the derivation of the proposition explicitly communicated. This not only holds in the case of subsentential utterances, but it is also the case for the vast majority of fully sentential cases (Carston, 1997; Sperber, 1986). Accordingly, what is communicated is usually a set of fully propositional thoughts or assumptions, which are either true or false against an external state of affairs in the world. Next, the paper examines the translation process as proposed by Bell (1991: 213), maintaining that the writer's intention is mediated by the context in which the text was produced, by the writer's assumptions and decisions as for 'what constitutes a relevant and recognizable frame of reference in which to anchor the communication' (Traugott and Pratt 1980: 273) and the conception of the 'ideal reader' who shares the same frame of reference and at whom the text is aimed. The narrowed scope of the present study concentrates on explicitation strategy in translation, which is viewed as a kind of shift between source and target texts, examining its conditions of use (Williams and Chesterman, 2003: 6). The English translation by Edward Rehatsek of the Gulistan of Sa'di (Tashibi, 1988) serves the purpose of the study. Thus, numerous examples are analyzed. This way, the investigation not only unravels the regularities of the translator's behaviour, but also clarifies the general principles that seem to determine how certain things get translated under certain conditions.



How to Cite

Mahdavi Zafarghandi, A. (2006). Relevance Theory and Explicitation Strategy in Translation. Translation Studies Quarterly, 4(14). Retrieved from



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