The Evaluation of the Quality of Persian Translation of Emily Dickinson’s Poems based on the TQA Model of Juliane House | January 2016 | Translation Journal

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The Evaluation of the Quality of Persian Translation of Emily Dickinson’s Poems based on the TQA Model of Juliane House


One of the most noteworthy issues has long been considered in Translation Studies is Translation Quality Assessment (TQA). The current study was set out to evaluate the quality of Persian translation of Emily Dickinson’s English poems translated by Javad Nabizade and Mohammad Reza Adel using the TQA model of Juliane House. To achieve this goal, 43 English poems of Emily Dickinson (ST) and their Persian translations (TT) were collected from a bilingual book named, “Leaning Against The Sun.” comparative-analysis of the ST and TT was done and consequently the covert and overt errors were identified and classified. Also, the overt errors were categorized into seven subcategories: 1. Not translated, 2. Slight change in meaning, 3. Significant change in meaning, 4. Distortion of meaning, 5. Breach of the TL system, 6. Creative translation, and 7. Cultural filtering. The results indicated that the poems have been translated covertly. Thus, the translation did not comply with the hypothesis of House’s TQA model that literary work including poetry should be translated overtly. Overall, most of overt errors were made intentionally and essentially by the translators to convey the aesthetic-poetic style and structures of the poems into TT in such a way the TT readers have the same feeling of that of ST and regard the translations as poetry in target language. Therefore, the House’s TQA model is not wholly appropriate for assessing the quality of English poetry translated into Persian. Moreover, English poetry can be translatable into Persian if translator applies the covert type of translation. The findings of this study can be applied to the Translation Studies courses and be useful for instructors or translators who teach or work on poetry translation.

Keywords: Translation Poetry; Translation Quality Assessment (TQA); Juliane House’s TQA Model; Covert and Overt Translations


Translation quality assessment (TQA) in literary texts has always been the concern of debates and searches. Although there are a numerous different searches on evaluating the literary texts, some few efforts have been made on evaluation of the quality of poetry translation. Besides, some scholars believe that poetry cannot be translated as the same as the original in terms of preserving the original style, aesthetic, and format. There have recently been many attempts to establish efficient TQAs. One of the most useful models is Juliane House’s TQA model.

House’s TQA model (1977, 1997) is based on Hallidayan functional and systemic theory. It also based on pragmatic theories of language use. In addition, the model provides for the analysis of the linguistic-discoursal and also the situational-cultural particularities of the source and target texts. House’s TQA model is based on a systematic comparison and analysis of an original and its translation on three different levels, language/text, register (filed, tenor and mode) and genre, in order to identify ST,TT profiles and consequently find mismatches between them. Register is categorized into three parts: Field, “refers to the nature of the social action that is taking place; it captures what is going on, i.e. the field of activity, the topic, the content of the text or its subject matter” (House, 1997, p. 108). Tenor, “refers to who is taking part, to the nature of the participants, the addressor and the addressees, and the relationship between them in terms of social power and social distance.” (p.109). Mode “refers to both the channel – spoken or written… and the degree to which potential or real participation is allowed for between interlocutors.” (p. 109). Genre, in House’s revised model, is defined as “a socially established category characterized in terms of occurrence of use, source and a communicative purpose or any combination of these” (p.107).

Subsequently, in relation to evaluation scheme, she concedes that a translation text is regarded as adequate if the requirement of dimensional and consequently functional match is fulfilled. Ultimately, “any mismatch along the dimensions is an error” (p. 45). She referred these types of errors as covertly erroneous errors which result from a mismatch of one situational dimension with a similar one in TT. On the other hand, other types of errors namely overtly erroneous errors are those which resulted from “a mismatch of the denotative meanings of source and translation text elements or from a breach of the target language system” (p.45). House (2009) has divided overt errors into seven categories as follows: 1) Not Translated, 2) Slight change in meaning, 3) Significant change in meaning, 4) Distortion of meaning, 5) Breach of the SL system, 6) Creative translation, 7) Cultural filtering.

Considering function as fundamental principle of language, House (1997) believes in individual text’s function; different text types act differently in different situations. In House’s model, she introduced two types of translation which may be suitable for different texts based on their situational dimensions and functional equivalence. These two types are ‘overt’ and ‘covert’ translations. She defines them as follows.

Overt translation is a type of translation in which the addressees of the translation text are not directly addressed. Thus, overt translation is not a “second original” but it must overtly be a translation. In addition, the source text is specifically tied to the source language community and its culture. Moreover, the source text is directed at source culture addressees such as political, literary, religious texts.

Covert translation, on the other hand, is a type of translation “which enjoys the status of an original source text in the target culture” (1997: 69). This is called covert because the translation can be created in its own right not marked as a translation of a certain source text. In this type, the source text is not specifically tied to the source language or culture. Thus, the source text of a translation is not addressed to a particular source culture addressee. Moreover, the translation and its source text are pragmatically equal for source and target language addressees; both are directly addressed. In the case of covert translation such as scientific texts, journalistic texts, advertisements, and information booklets, the function of the source text equivalent in the translation text can be subsequently kept.

1. Related Literature

Gehrmann (2011) used the TQA model proposed by House (1997) to assess Swedish translation of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in “Translation Quality Assessment: A Model in Practice.” The research focused on determining textual profiles of ST and TT. Several mismatches in terms of tenor and field dimensions were found by analyzing the profiles of the two texts. In addition, there were found some overt errors caused by the semantic additions. No errors were found regarding the dimensions of genre and tenor. Gehrmann finally concluded that the translation of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was a covert kind.

Khedmatgozar and Eslami Rasekh (2013) in “Functional-Pragmatic Model of Translation Assessment: A Case Study of Two Translations of Lessing’s Ben in the World” analyzed the original text and the two translations and comparing two kinds of translations based on House’s TQA model. They found that there were a number of mismatches along with the dimension of the tenor and a consequent change of the interpersonal functional component. Moreover, different overt errors changed the transmission of information.

Yamini and Abdi (2010), in “The Application of House’s Model on William Shakespeare’s "Macbeth" and its Persian Translation by Ala’uddin Pasargadi”, found that statistical procedure indicates a significant difference between the two kinds of errors i.e., overtly erroneous errors and covertly erroneous errors. Application of House’s TQA Model on their work indicates that “this particular work did not abide by the hypothesis stated which was a literary work, according to House’s Model, has to be translated overtly and any deviation of it will be considered as an error in this model.” They noted that “these results do not blemish this model in any ways; rather, quite vice versa these results show the strength of this particular, yet parsimonious, TQA model.”

2. Objectives of the Study

One of the goals of this study was to evaluate the quality of Persian translation of Emily Dickinson’s English poems based of the TQA models of Juliane House. In addition, this study was set out to identify the type of translation, overt or covert, used in the poems translation and find the best one for poetry translation.

3. Research Questions

  1. To what extent House’s TQA Model is applicable for assessing the quality of the Persian Translation of English poetry?
  2. Which of these translations, covert or overt, is more appropriate for translating English poetry?

4. Methodology

According to House’s TQA model, the literary texts such as poetry are tied to ST and should be translated overtly. All 43 English poems of Emily Dickinson and their Persian translations were selected as the sample of the study from the bilingual book named, ‘Leaning Against The Sun’ translated by Javad Nabizade and Mohammad Reza Adel (2006). Then, the original poems (ST) and their translations (TT) were analyzed and compared. Having realized the ST and TT profiles, genres and functions, they were compared with each other in order to find the mismatches. Consequently, all the mismatches categorized into two kinds of errors: overt errors and covert errors. The frequency of these mismatches and errors occurrences calculated. As a result, a statement of quality with reference to translation result was provided. Besides, the translation results based on overt errors were accordingly classified into seven subcategories: 1) Not Translated, 2) Slight change in meaning, 3) Significant change in meaning, 4) Distortion of meaning, 5) Breach of the SL system, 6) Creative translation, and 7) Cultural filtering. Finally, all these errors were summarized in the form of tables.

5. Results

Identifying Covert Errors

To find this type of error, the ST and TT profiles including Register, Genre and the Function were realized and then analyzed. In the following, the profiles of the source text and the target text will be elaborated in details.

Source Text Analysis

Field: This category is dealing with the subject matter and social action of a text. The subject matter refers to the topic or the content of the text or easily to the field of activity. Social action is referred to the degrees of generality or specificity. The field of the source text is generally literary text which its subject matter is poem and the social action is general and popular.

Tenor: The first situational dimension of this category refers to author’s provenance and stance which means the author’s position on a social scale. Also, it’s related to the content of the text and the communicative task he is involved. In this regard, the author’s provenance and stance of the source text is poet. The content of her poems is related to life and death, nature, solitude, self, God and so on. Another situational dimension in this category is social role relationship which is referred to the relationship of the addresser and addressees. This relationship may be either symmetrical marked by existence of equality or asymmetrical marked by the presence of some kind of authority. In this study, the social role relationship of the source text is asymmetrical since there is an authority between the author and the readers. The last situational dimension under the category of tenor is social attitude. On this dimension, the extent of relative formality or informality of the text is taken into consideration. The social attitude of the source text under investigation is formal since the formal words and structure are numerous.

Mode: The first situational dimension under this category is medium referring to the spoken or written channels. It can be further categorized as simple, e.g. written to be read or complex, e.g. written to be spoken as if not written. The second dimension here is participation. It can also be simple, e.g. a simple monologue or dialogue with no addressee participation built into the text or on the other hand it can be complex, i.e. a mixture of various means of indirect participation when there are various addressee-involving mechanisms illustrating the text. As the source text under investigation is written to be read so the medium if the source text is simple. Moreover, since some of the poems are monologue and the poet addresses the readers indirectly and also some other ones are a mixture of various means of indirect participation elicitation and indirect addressee involvement, so the participation of the source text is simple-complex.

Genre: The genre of the source text is poem.

Function: The statement of function based on the House’s TQA model can be divided into two categories: ideational and interpersonal. The ideational function refers to language as a means to describe the things the external world. It also conveys information which can be stated, argued, and explained. On the other hand, interpersonal function language acts as a means to convey the relationship between the author or speaker and his interlocutors. Moreover, in this type of function language is an expression of the attitudes of a speaker or a writer. Considering these two statement of functions, the source text’s function is ideational.

The summary of the source text’s textual profile, also its Genre and Function was given in Table 1.

 Table 1 The Source Text Profile



Subject Matter


Social Action

General and popular


Author’s Provenance And Stance


Social Role Relationship


Social Attitude

Formal Literary






Simple -Complex





Target Text Analysis

Field: The subject matter of the target text under this category is poem. The translators used numerous classical structures and grammars to make a contemporary Persian poetic frame into each poem. Also, the social action of the target text is general and popular.

Tenor: The first situational dimension under this category is author’s provenance and stance. The both translators are university professor and translator. The second dimension is social role relationship which is further divided into symmetrical and asymmetrical. The target text is asymmetrical since the translators considered the readers unequal and there existed an authority between the translators and the readers. At last, the third dimension of tenor category is social attitude which is further divided into formal and informal. According to the degree of formality and informality of the translated poems, the social attitude of the target text is formal.

Mode: This category is divided into medium and participation. The target text’s medium is simple given that it’s written to be read. In addition, the participation of the target text is complex since it addresses the readers indirectly in a form of some mixture of various means of indirect participation elicitation and indirect addressee involvement.

Genre: The genre of the target text is poem.

Function: According to the two types of functions definitions, i.e. ideational and interpersonal, the statement function of the target text is ideational. The summary of the target text’s textual profile, also its genre and function was given in Table 2.

Table 2 The Target Text Profile



Subject matter

Classical poem

Social action

General and popular


Author’s provenance and stance

University Professor and Translator

Social role relationship


Social attitude

Formal Literary






Simple -Complex






The ST and TT Comparison

Having realized both the source text and the target text’s profiles in addition to their Genre and Function, the covert errors were then identified by comparing the ST and TT profiles. There was only found one covert error which was related to the mismatch between the author’s provenance and stance, i.e. poet and that of translators, i.e. university professor and translator.

In Table 3, the ST and the TT profiles, their Genre, and Function were side by side compared. In addition, the abovementioned mismatch found in the category of the Field was marked by (*) sign.

Table 3 Side by Side Comparative Source Text and Target Text Profiles

Source Text Profile

Target Text Profile


Subject Matter: poem



Subject Matter: poem


Social Action: General and popular


Social Action: General and popular



Author’s Provenance and Stance: Poet



Author’s Provenance and Stance: UniversityProfessor and Translator


Social Role Relationship: Asymmetrical


Social Role Relationship: Asymmetrical


Social attitude: Formal Literary


Social Attitude: Formal Literary



Medium: Simple



Medium: Simple


Participation: Simple/Complex


Participation: Simple/Complex


Identifying Overt Errors

The source text (the poems) and the target text (the translated poems) were analyzed and overt errors were identified. In the following, some examples for each category will be separately illustrated.

1. Not Translated: The error occurs whenthe words or expressions are not translated into TT. This may be happened due to either the inability of translator or his negligence.

Example 1

ST: put on her carmine suit

TT: با سرخ جامعه خویش

Comments: the translators have not translated the verb ‘put on’. Instead they used ‘با’ having the same meaning. Although there is an omission, the meaning and the function of ST have been conveyed similarly in the TT.

Example 2

ST: knowing that bird of mine

TT: دانمش

Comments: the phrase “that bird of mine” has been omitted which means “آن پرنده من

Example 3

ST: who took the flag today

TT:   با بر افراشته پرچم

Comments: the time expression “today” meaning “امروز” has not been translated.

2. Slight Change in Meaning: This error occurswhen the meaning is partially conveyed or the TT is not completely faithful to the ST. However, in this case, this type of change is not so severe.

Example 1

ST: and debauchee of dew

TT:و شبگرد شبنم

Comments: debauchee is a person who indulges to excess in sensual pleasures and in Persian translated as “هرزه، عیاش” burdening a negative meaning whereas “شبگرد” has a rather positive meaning; a person who walks or wanders at nights.

Example 2

ST: and past my apron—and my belt

TT: از دامن گذشت و به بالا رسید

Comments: “belt”, “کمربند is a cloth or leather band around the waist to hold up clothes or just for decoration. While the poet mentioned this tool, Persian translation changed it into “بالا” means “upper” not a tool.

Example 3

ST: when winter shake the door

TT: هنگام که زمستان می‌کوبد بر در

Comments: “shake” here means move something side to side or up and down using a lot of force. The translators used the verb “کوبیدن”, “beat” which is slightly different from the action of shaking.

3. Significant Change in Meaning: When there is a big difference between the meaning of the ST and TT.

Example 1

ST: don’t tell! They’d advertise – you know

TT:لب بربند، نامی دهندمان، دانی!

Comments: the translators applied a free translation for “advertise” meaning make something public, using “نامی دهندمان”; “they’d give us a name” referred to the first lines of the poem: “I’m nobody…” “Are you nobody too?” “Then there’s a pair of us”.

Example 2

ST: such being finitude!

TT:بیکران بدینسان!

Comments: the word “finitude” means “محدود، پایان پذیر”. The translator used the opposite meaning; “infinitude.” This shows that the translators might have made a mistake in finding appropriate meaning.  

Example 3

ST: toll – for the bonnie Souls

TT: سوز! ز سوک آن پاک جانان

Comments: the word “toll” means a large bell that keeps ringing slowly to show that someone has died so that it makes the listeners feel sorrow and sad. The translators used “سوز”, means “mourning” as the connotative meaning of “toll” since the action of tolling has been common in the ST culture but not in the TT. Therefore, the significant difference is obvious between the ST and TT. Moreover, the translators tended to be tied to the TT culture and community.

4. Distortion of Meaning: This subcategory refers to those mistakes which occur when the meaning of the ST is completely distorted.

Example 1

ST: extended Hempen hands

TT: دستان سبز خویش کرده باز

Comments: hempen کنفیmeans made of hemp “گیاه کنف”, a plant from which fiber and drug obtained and its color is “green.” Furthermore, hemp is used to make rope or twine especially using in ships. The translators only referred to its color, “سبز”, “green” thus they distorted the main meaning in this line since the poet did designate to the material of the “hands.” Notice that “hands” referred to the rope made by hemp using in ship.

Example 2

ST: on whose forbidden ear

TT:   ناکام خوشه ممنوعه

Comments: “ear” has two meanings: a common one is گوش”, a part of body used for hearing; and the other is سنبله یا خوشه”, the top part of a plant such as wheat that produces grain. Regarding the rest of the poem, “ear” in this line refers to the former meaning. However, the translators distorted the meaning and used the latter meaning of “ear” possibly because of the adjective “forbidden” that comes the “forbidden fruit” to mind.

5. Breach of the TL System: Any deviation from the TL norms, syntax, and or grammatical rules.

Example 1

ST: will there really be a “Morning”?

TT: هست آیا یکی صبح، صادق

Comments: in the ST, the tense of the sentence is future whereas the translation serves the present tense.

Example 2

ST: in snow thou comest

TT:   آمدنت در برف

Comments: the verb “comest” is archaic form of “come” for the second person. In Persian it means: “تو می آیی” which rendered as “آمدنت

Example 3

ST: which in the clover dwell

TT: همانان ساکنان شبدرها

Comments: the verb of the TT sentence is simple present which rendered into ST as the plural noun; “ساکنان”, “dwellers.”

6. Creative Translation: Translator in this case creates a new word, phrase or even a structure which does not have any equivalent in ST. In this regard, free translation to some extent is accomplished besides some strategies including creation, addition, and substitution.

Example 1

ST: and covered up – our names

TT: و نامهامان نه دیگر پیدا

Comments: the verb “covered up” in past tense means “پوشیدند” meaning “hide”. The translators creatively rendered the verb into “نه دیگر پیدا” to be more poetic; nevertheless, the message of the ST conveyed appropriately into the TT.

Example 2

ST: the mermaids in the basement

TT:ماهیْ بانوان بر سینه ساحل

Comments: mermaid, in stories, is a creature like a woman who lives in the sea with fish’s tail instead of legs. In Persian this means “پری دریایی”. The translators create a new word for this mermaid; “ماهیْ بانوان” which conveys the same meaning in both ST and TT and also it has a poetic-aesthetic style.

Example 3

ST: whose are the little beds, I asked

     Which in the valleys lie?

TT: کوچک باغچه‌های آرمیده در آغوش دشت‌ها

                                                پرسیدم کز آن کیست؟

Comments: the word “در آغوش”; “in the bosom of (valleys)” added by the translators which does not have any equivalent word in ST. They might have been inferred this meaning from “lie”. In addition, they added this to make the translation more poetic. In general, this shows that they tend to be tied to the TT and took the TT readers into account.

7. Cultural Filtering: There are someproper names, words, titles, and phrases which are mostly bound to the source language, culture, or community which for some of them there is not any equivalent in the target language and partially are not translatable. In this regard, the translator tries to find or create an equivalent or alternative for them in the TT. Moreover, translator does, in some cases, not render the word rather he keeps the exact word in TT with no translation or equivalent.

Example 1

ST: an April but begun

TT:فرودین بیامد

Comments: the word “April” is the fourth month of the Gregorian calendar which is corresponding to the Persian months of “فروردین or فرودین” (Farvardin) and اردیبشهت (Ordibehesht) in Persian calendar. The translators using cultural filter and regarded the TT readers, culture and community rendered the “April” into Persian month of “فرودین” to be tied to the TT.

Example 2

ST: prithee, my brother

TT: برادرم ، پریزی

Comments: the word “prithee” is archaic form of “please” in Persian it means “لطفا”. The translators transferred the exact English word in Persian. It must have been because the word “لطفا” is Arabic word so the translators did not use it. Also they thought by using this word the aesthetic-poetic style would not be kept.

Example 3

ST: till seraphs – swing their snowy hats

TT: تا که فرشتگان کلاه‌های برفی خویش بتکانند

Comments: “seraph” is the name of a kind of the angels that, according to the Bible, protect the seat of God. Since this name is unknown and unfamiliar for Persian-TT readers, the translators just generally transferred “seraphs” as “فرشتگان” (angels) not the exact name of these angels, i.e., seraphs.



According to House’s TQA model, literary texts should be translated overtly given that these text types as a certain source text are tied to the source language and its culture. The selected source text in the present study is Emily Dickinson’s English poems. Therefore, it’s considered as a literary text tied to the source language community, culture and English language which is consequently needed to be translated overtly based on House’s TQA model. The result showed that there was only one covert error which was under the dimension of author’s provenance and stance (poet) and that of translators (university professors and translators). The results showed that there were 399 errors in total in the TT. The total frequency of overt errors in seven subcategories and are shown in Table 4.

Table 4 Total Frequency of Overtly Erroneous Errors in Seven Categories



Slight Change in Meaning

Significant Change in Meaning

Distortion of Meaning

Breach of the SL system

Creative Translation

Cultural Filtering










Based on Table 4, the findings showed that the most frequent overt errors made by the translators occurred in Creative Translation Category by total frequency of 143 errors. This shows that the translators were interested to add, create a word or change a certain structure to make the translation more clearly for the target readers. Therefore, the translations were not the exact rendering of the source text and thus the translators tended to be tied to the target language. Additionally, these parts were translated freely. Generally, more attentions were in fact kept of the TT readers by the translators. Moreover, the TT is not tied to the ST; however, the meaning in both ST and TT is kept equivalent. In sum, the high frequency of this type of error indicate that the translators tended to use creative poetic-aesthetic words, phrases or structures of target language which did not tie to the ST; however, they rendered the meaning in such a way that the TT readers are able to experience the feelings the same as that of the ST readers.

The next category of the overt errors regarding the frequency is Not Translated Category with total number of 70 errors. Most of these omissions occurred for the pronouns or some adjectives given that the translators inclined to be bound to the TT readers. Therefore, they did not translate some of the words, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns more intentionally to create more TT-tied translation and to be more close to the TT. In this regard, the frequency of this error indicates a kind of free translation rather literal or to be tied to the ST. Nonetheless, all of these omissions were generally occurred intentionally by the translators since most of them are common adjectives, adverbs or some straightforward structures which are not too strenuous to be translated. It may be shown that these intentional omissions were on purpose of reaching a natural translation tied to the target language and TT readers. Besides these Not Translated errors, the meaning in both ST and TT was kept equivalent in the translations.

The next category of error regarding the frequency is Breach of SL System Category with total of 70 errors. In these translations, this error which is related to grammatical system occurred mostly in relation to tenses shifts, changes in noun clause, adjective clause or adverbial clause, change the verb into infinitives, change active voice to passive voice or vice versa, plural to singular and so on. These kinds of errors are not indicative of lack of ST or TT knowledge of the translators, but also they show that the translators tended to be more bound to the TT language and its readers. In this regard, they used some poetic-aesthetic structures occurred by manipulating the grammar in order to make the TT readers feel the beauty of the poems as the same as the ST readers. In this case, these changes and shifts occurred on purpose somehow by using free translation. Although some grammatical changes happened in the translations but the meaning still kept and the translators rendered the poems in a way the function and purpose of both are the same and equivalent.

The two next types of errors in rank is Slight Change in Meaning Category with total of 33 errors, and Significant Change in Meaning with total of 18 errors. These changes mostly occurred in order to convey and keep the meaning into TT in a way that the TT readers reach the feelings the same as that of the ST readers. Apparently, most of these changes took place intentionally. By doing that, the translators tended to not bind to the ST. however, they tried to convey the meaning and keep the aesthetic-poetic styles of the poems. They took the TT readers into account in their translations. Besides, the ST and TT have the same function. In sum, although there found some slight or significant changes, but the focus of the meaning was kept in translations.

The next type of error regarding the frequency is Cultural Filtering Category with total of 17 errors. These errors occurred when the translators encountered some words, titles, proper names, local or cultural phrases which are either untranslatable or in the target culture is unknown and vague. In this case, the translators either chose some alternatives as equivalent or kept the original word in the TT. In these poems, the translators tended to use some cultural words or phrases to not bind the ST. However, they, in some cases, failed to choose any alternative for some words or proper names and they only kept the word with no translation. It should be noted that some of these words are certain plant’s names which there is no any equivalent in Persian language. Therefore, the translators had no choice to keep the original word in their translation.

           The final type of error regarding the frequency is Distortion of Meaning Category with total of 2 errors. Generally, these types of errors indicate that the translators made some complete mistakes in understanding, conveying, and rendering the message thus they distorted the whole meaning. In poetry translation, it could be presumably occurred due to complex structures, lack of finding any logic between the lines of the poems, or lack of understanding the especial role of a certain word in the poem. However, it is interesting to note that among these poems investigated, only 2 cases of this category were found that is indicative of high understanding of the poems by the translators. Furthermore, it demonstrates that in almost all the poems they conveyed the same meaning and message of the ST into TT.


The House’s TQA model is a promising and suitable one that can be appropriate to evaluate the quality of the Persian translation of English poetry. However, The application of House’s TQA model only was a help to find overt errors which all of them made intentionally by the translators but it did not work on making a statement of quality for the translation because the model regards the errors as a sign of poor quality and considered as mistakes classified in specific categories. However, it should note that in poetry these errors or mistakes should be considered as necessary changes or shifts based on the target language, culture, and community since the structure of poetry is extremely different with the other type of texts: the style, poetic-aesthetic words and phrases, distinctive grammar, and so on. The model is not capable of distinguishing necessary changes (errors) for the genre of poetry. Thus, one might not be able to judge about the quality of a translation of a poem based on this model since it only introduces a method to find errors. Whereas, these errors are necessary in poetry translation process in order to keep the unique style, structure and aesthetic-poetic sense of poetry.

Based on House’s TQA model, a literary works including poetry is tied to the ST and its community and culture thus it should be translated overtly. Nevertheless, in this study the poems as a literary work have been translated covertly. By choosing covert translation, the translators tend to be tied to the TT. They kept the stylistic structure of the poems by choosing some aesthetic-poetic words, phrases, or grammar. To fulfill this, they have used the strategies of omission, addition, creativity, time shifting to make the TT readers feel the same as that of the ST readers. Generally, in the translations the function of the ST and TT is equivalent, they are bound to the target language and culture, and address their readers directly. Thus, it can be stated that these translations has a good quality. In fact, overt translation is not appropriate for Persian translation of English poetry but using covert translation can be appropriate to convey the meaning, aesthetic-poetic style, distinctive structure of poetry.

In summary, TQA model of Juliane House is not appropriate for assessing the quality of Persian translation of English poetry given that different categories of errors based on the model might be considered as necessary changes in translation made by the translators. These changes were generally made in order to reach a suitable translation in such a way the translation conveys the same meaning, TT also functions as ST in target language and culture, and the translation is regarded as poetry in TT as well. Therefore, the covert translation is an appropriate one for translating poetry to have the same function for TT readers, convey the meaning, structures while aesthetic-poetic style is created in TT.


The findings of the current study can be a help for literary translators who want to work on poetry genre. They can get familiar with the two types of translations, overt and covert and decide to apply the best one. Furthermore, suitable strategies in translating of poetry might be found by them during the translation. The students of translation studies can learn how to analyze ST and TT in order to evaluate the quality of the translated Persian poetry into English. Finally, the results of this study may be a good source in English-Persian translation teaching in order to train qualified literary translators in particular in the genre of poetry.

9.Suggestions for further Studies

Given that English-Persian poetry translation faces a wide variety of difficulties, investigating on identifying these problems in details and how to cope with could be an appropriate subject. It would have been interesting to evaluate these poems using another TQA models. Another study about evaluating poetry using TQA models can be conducted on different poems by different poets. An interesting way might possibly be evaluating the two different translations of two translators separately done on similar poet’s poems. An attempt to establish a model upon which Persian translation of English poetry could be appropriately assessed.


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