Revisiting “Retranslation Hypothesis”: A Comparative Analysis of Stylistic Features in the Persian Retranslations of Pride and Prejudice


In the context of literary translation studies, a translation can be challenged at any time, which may lead to its retranslation. According to “Retranslation Hypothesis”, first translations tend to be more target-oriented than subsequent, more recent translations. Retranslations, the hypothesis claims, get closer to the source text, resulting in a more accomplished target text. Several different factors are found to make “Retranslation Hypothesis” possible. Yet the extent to which the Hypothesis is supported by empirical evidence is in question. Thus, the present study, in order to test the validity of “Retranslation Hypothesis” and supplementary nature of retranslations over time, as stated by Robinson (1999), selected three chapters of Austin’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), together with its first and subsequent translations into Persian. The comparative analysis of three stylistic features (type/token ratio, average sentence length, speech representation) between the source and the translated texts was underpinned by Baker’s (2000) and Short’s (1996) methodologies for investigating style as a means of measuring degrees of closeness or divergence, and charting the treatment of the retranslation over time. In partial support of “Retranslation Hypothesis”, the findings of this study revealed a more source-text oriented nature for re- translations in an attempt of the translators to keep the original stylistic features intact. Thus, it can be claimed that the Hypothesis is valid to some extent in this respect. The findings of the present study may prove to be useful to the professional translators of foreign literary works in that they show the prevailing approach applied by the first and later translators. In addition, the findings can be of great help to the publishers and editors of literary translations, in terms of the necessity of producing retranslations over time or reprinting first translations.

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Dastjerdi, H. and Mohammadi, A. (2013) Revisiting “Retranslation Hypothesis”: A Comparative Analysis of Stylistic Features in the Persian Retranslations of Pride and Prejudice. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 3, 174-181. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2013.33024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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