New Perspectives on Retranslation: The Case of Iran


  • Samira Saeedi



This paper examines the social aspects of retranslation in contemporary Iran. Foreign classics and award-winning literary books have attracted multiple translations into Persian within a short period of time. For instance, George Orwell’s novella, Animal Farm, has received more than one hundred retranslations in the last 40 years. The aim of this paper is to investigate possible reasons for such an unusually high number of retranslations. By analysing sixteen interviews with Iranian translators and publishers and performing paratextual analysis of four retranslations of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, this paper sheds light on the perceived advantages and disadvantages of retranslation. It does so by drawing on the trust-based approach to the study of translation proposed by Rizzi, Lang, and Pym, and by offering sociological insight into retranslation in contemporary Iran. Four groups of translators are identified: amateur, early career, mid-career, and senior translators. Retranslation for the former two groups is viewed as profitable trade in literary translation market. For the latter two, retranslation is the process of reinforcing trustworthiness at the institutional level that means trust in professionalism of certain Iranian translators and publishers.


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