Volume 13, Issue 1, 2016
Mahdi Dahmardeh, Abbas Parsazadeh, Saman Rezaie
Culture Matters: the Question of Metaphor and Taarof in Translation
This study is designed to delve into the issue of culture from the lens of pragmatics as far as the translation of Persian expressions is concerned. To this end, the researchers explored two problematic areas in translation: the first one is a universally challenging element of language, i.e. metaphor, while the other one is an Iranian culture-specific element of language, i.e. Taarof. To uncover the reason behind such difficulty and various techniques to handle such culturally dependent concepts in the act of translation, the researchers sampled a few English subtitles of Iranian films and examined them both qualitatively and quantitatively drawing on the Gricean maxims. The results revealed a high number of infringements both in the translated instances of metaphor and Taarof as far as the maxim of manner, i.e. being perspicuous, is concerned. This highly-frequent flaw in the openness in translation could be mainly attributed to a vast cultural chasm between the source and target language, which makes such culturally-oriented translations a tall order even on the part of the most accomplished translators.