Comics Polysystem in Iran: A Case Study of the Persian Translations of Les Aventures de Tintin


  • Mohammad Sadegh Kenevisi School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
  • Mohammad Saleh Sanatifar Tabaran Institute of Higher Education



Comics, bande dessinée, Les Aventures de Tintin, Translation Polysystem, Onomatopoeic Sounds


Despite the popularity of comics, the subject of their translation has remained notably underexplored. Comics swept into the market of Iran in the 1970s; however, they were a new and unfamiliar genre in the country. One of the earliest comic series to appear in Iran was Les Aventures de Tintin, translated by Khosro Sami’i and published by Universal Publications before the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979. Following the Revolution, Universal discontinued the series in Iran and other publishers briefly took it up; after a few years, publication of the books was discontinued. It was not until 2000 that the series was re-introduced by Tarikh-o Farhang and Andishe-ye No Publications. Moreover, as a result of the ubiquitous availability of comic books on the Internet, scanlations made by Tintinophiles have burgeoned recently. This study examines the translations into Persian of Les Aventures de Tintin from these three groups (the early editions of the 1970s and 1980s, the revived publications of 2000, and the Internet scanlations) and attempts to shed light on the position of comics in the translated polysystem of Iran. For this purpose, Even-Zohar’s Polysystem theory (“Polysystem Studies” 9-26) and Tamaki’s approach (119-146) are employed. The synthetic model of translation description proposed by Lambert and Van Gorp (42-53) is used to examine the translations in three layers: 1) preliminary data, 2) macro-level, and 3) micro-level. Onomatopoeic representations are analysed at the micro-level to investigate the extent to which their translations have broken target culture norms and conventions. The results of the study reveal a gap for comics, an empty niche to be filled, in the translated polysystem of Iran and, accordingly, a canonized position for this genre and its translations. This position, however, has migrated to a less central place in more recent translations.


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Author Biographies

Mohammad Sadegh Kenevisi, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

M. Sadegh Kenevisi is a PhD fellow of Translation Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). He is currently doing a polysystemic audience-based research project on English subtitling of cultural elements in Iranian films by means of distributing questionnaires to international audience of the films in international film festivals. He holds his B.A and M.A in Translation Studies from Iran. As a PhD fellow, he has assisted in teaching a number of translation courses at the Department of Malay Language & Translation of the School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). His latest paper is published at the journal of Altre Modernita in a special issue on Ideological Manipulation in Audiovisual Translation. His areas of interest are AVT and Inter-Cultural Studies. He can be reached at:

Mohammad Saleh Sanatifar, Tabaran Institute of Higher Education

The co-author earned his PhD in Translation Studies from Universiti Sains Malaysia and his master degree in Applied Linguistics from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran. He is currently a lecturer of translation and interpretation at Tabaran Institute of Higher Education, Mashhad, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. The author is also a guest lecturer of applied linguistics at Farhangian University (teacher training university), Mashhad. The author has recently joined the International Relations Bureau of Municipal Administration in Mashhad as an interpreter and is a selected member for the international event 'Mashhad 2017'. He has (co-)author several English textbooks for university students. The author has published articles in specialized journals and has presented in many national and international conferences. His main fields of interest are translation theory, pragmatic aspects of translation, political translation and applied linguistics. The author can be reached at: