The relevance of the glance of the roe of Wajra: A comparative study of the translation of a culture-based metaphor

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Abstract

This article tests the workability of the principle of relevance at the heart of relevance theory by evaluating a corpus of eighteen English and French translations of verse 33 of the Mu‘allaqa of Imru’ al-Qays. This verse embodies a conventional metaphor reflecting a stereotyped image in Arabic poetry, which communicates its ground to the source language (SL) reader by means of inference. The verse challenges the translator to render the metaphor into an equivalent trope and to reflect the ground of the comparison, either by inference or by reference. By comparing the translations in the corpus to the source text (ST) and to each other, this study draws conclusions as to the translatability of a conventional metaphor. Chronology and mode of discourse are taken into account in the evaluation process so as to categorize the translations and the shifts exercised in them. This evaluative yardstick is used to measure resemblance and relevance by taking into account both the ST and the target text (TT) contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31
Number of pages46
JournalTranslation and Interpreting Studies
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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