Home / Regular Issue / JST Vol. 29 (3) Sep. 2021 / JSSH-8141-2021

 

Ideological Manipulation of Translation through Translator’s Comments: A Case Study of Barks’ Translation of Rumi’s Poetry

Bita Naghmeh-Abbaspour, Tengku Sepora Tengku Mahadi and Iqbal Zulkali

Pertanika Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 29, Issue 3, September 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.3.19

Keywords: Ideology, New Age, paratexts, Rumi’s poetry, translational manipulation

Published on: 27 September 2021

As purposefully crafted information around a text, paratext is a critical platform for ideological manipulation in translation. Translators’ comments as a form of paratext can cause ideological deviations between source and target texts that diminish the ideological context of the source text. On this ground, this study aimed to explore translators’ comments and how they can subtly recontextualize the ideology of texts and reframe them in new ideological contexts. Thus, choosing Coleman Barks’ translations of Rumi’s poetry as a case study. It aimed to probe the congruency of Rumi’s ideology with the ideology embedded in the translator’s comments on the verses. The study employed critical discourse analysis as its analytical methodology and explored the collected controversial examples of the translator’s comments. The findings illustrated a high level of ideological deviation between the source and target texts. Moreover, the findings implied the translator’s dominant approach toward a text from an inferior language comparing the superior English language. It has shown that ideological fidelity in translation is not only confined to texts but includes paratexts as well. The present study can be considered significant as it revealed the de-Islamization trend of a Middle Eastern text in the light of the relationship of the unequal languages. The study suggests that paratexts as an empowering platform for translators effectively direct the readers’ perception about the source text and its author. This study hopes to make the translator trainees more cautious in their comments on the original authors’ voices and ideology.

  • Alvstad, C. (2003). Publishing strategies of translated children’s literature in Argentina: A combined approach. Meta: Journal Des Traducteurs/Meta: Translators’ Journal, 48(1-2), 266-275. https://doi.org/10.7202/006973ar 

  • Amirdabbaghian, A., & Shunmugam, K. (2019). The translator’s ideology: A study of three Persian translations of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Lebende Sprachen, 64(1), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1515/les-2019-0001 

  • Aviv, R. (2007). A Rumi of one’s own. Poetry Foundation. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/179906

  • Azadibougar, O., & Patton, S. (2015). Coleman Barks’ versions of Rumi in the USA. Translation and Literature, 24(2), 172-189. https://doi.org/10.3366/tal.2015.0200 

  • Baer, B. C. (2014). What is special about postcolonial translation? In S. Bermann & C. Porter (Eds.), A companion to translation studies (pp. 233-145). Wiley Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118613504.ch17

  • Barks, C. (1995). The essential Rumi. Harper Collins.

  • Barks, C. (1997a). The essential Rumi. Castle Books.

  • Barks, C. (1997b). The illuminated Rumi. Broadway.

  • Barks, C. (2001a). Chat transcript: Coleman Barks on Rumi. Beliefnet.com. http://www.beliefnet.com/Wellness/2001/06/Chat-Transcript-Coleman-Barks-On-Rumi.aspx

  • Barks, C. (2001b). The soul of Rumi. Harper San Francisco.

  • Barks, C. (2009). The essential Rumi: New expanded edition. HarperOne.

  • Barks, C. (2010). Rumi: The big red book. HarperCollins e-books.

  • Bassnett, S., & Lefevere, A. (1990). Translation, history, culture. Routledge.

  • Bassnett, S., & Lefevere, A. (1998). Constructing cultures: Essays on literary translation (Vol. 11). Multilingual Matters.

  • Batchelor, K. (2018). Translation and paratexts. Routledge.

  • Batchelor, K. (2020). Paratext. In M. Baker & G. Saldanha (Eds.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (pp. 401-405). Routledge.

  • Belle, M.-A., & Hosington, B. M. (2018). Thresholds of translation: Paratexts, print, and cultural exchange in early modern Britain (1473-1660). Springer.

  • Benmessaoud, S., & Buzelin, H. (2018). Publishing houses and translation projects. In S.-A. Harding & O. C. Cortés (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of translation and culture (pp. 154-176). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315670898-9

  • Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice (Vol. 16). Cambridge University Press.

  • Ciabattari, J. (2014). Why is Rumi the best-selling poet in the US? BBC- Culture. http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140414-americas-best-selling-poet

  • Clarke, P. (2006). Encyclopedia of new religious movements. Routledge.

  • Dukate, A. (2009). Translation, manipulation and interpreting. Peter Lang GmbH.

  • El-Zein, A. (2000). Spiritual consumption in the United States: The Rumi phenomenon. Islamic and Christion-Muslim Relation, 11(1), 71-85. https://doi.org/10.1080/095964100111526 

  • Farahzad, F. (2010). Manipulation in translation. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 11(4), 269-281. https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2003.9961480

  • FitzGerald, E. (2017). The Letters of Edward Fitzgerald, Volume 1: 1830-1850. Princeton University Press.

  • Genette, G. (1997). Paratexts: Thresholds of interpretation (Vol. 20). Cambridge University Press.

  • Geoffroy, E. (2010). Introduction to sufism: The inner path of Islam. World Wisdom .

  • Haroon, H. (2017). The translator’s preface as a paratextual device in Malay-English literary translations. Translation & Interpreting, 9(2), 100-113. https://doi.org/10.12807/ti.109202.2017.a07 

  • Hatim, B., & Mason, I. (2005). The translator as communicator. Routledge.

  • Heelas, P. (1996). The new age movement. Blackwell Oxford.

  • Hermans, T. (2014). The manipulation of literature (Routledge Revivals): Studies in literary translation. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315759029

  • Irwin, R. (2019). Global Rumi. Global Sufism: Boundaries, Narratives and Practices, 15.

  • Kazerooni, S. A. (2011). Discussion about pedagogic and lyric literature. Journal of Pedagogic and Lyric in Persian Language and Literature Studies Quarterly, 3(8), 15-24.

  • Kim, K. H. (2020). Critical discourse analysis. In M. Baker & G. Saldanha (Eds.), Routledge encyclopedia of translation studies (pp. 119-124). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315678627-26

  • Kung, S.-W. (2013). Paratext, an alternative in boundary crossing: A complementary approach to translation analysis. In Text, extratext, metatext and paratext in translation (pp. 49-68). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  • Lefevere, A. (1992). The manipulation of literary fame. Routledge.

  • Lewis, F. D. (2009). Forewoord to the new and corrected edition. In E. Yarshater (Ed.), Mystical Poems of Rumi (pp. 7-15). The University of Chicago Press.

  • Lewis, F. D. (2014). Rumi-past and present, east and west: The life, teachings, and poetry of Jalâl Al-Din Rumi. Oneworld Publications.

  • Luo, T., & Zhang, M. (2018). Reconstructing cultural identity via paratexts: A case study on Lionel Giles’ translation of The Art of War. Perspectives, 26(4), 593-611. https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676x.2017.1401650 

  • Minnick, N. (2016). The unbroken chain: Some thoughts on Coleman Barks’s poetry. The Georgia Review, 70(2), 295-298.

  • Mojaddedi, J. (2007). Introduction & notes on translation. In The Masnavi, books 1 and 2 (pp. x-xxxi). Oxford University Press.

  • Mojaddedi, J. (2017). Following the scent of Rumi’s Sufism in a postreligious Age. World Literature Today, 91(6), 56-59. https://doi.org/10.7588/worllitetoda.91.6.0056 

  • Naghmeh-Abbaspour., B. (2020). The impact of dominant ideology on front covers of translation of children’s literature in Iran. Humanities and Social Sciences Reviews, 8(3), 480-488. https://doi.org/10.18510/hssr.2020.8352 

  • Naghmeh-Abbaspour, B., Tengku, T. S. M., & Jamal, M. (2019). The impact of dominant ideology of target society on lexical choices of translation: The case study of the essential Rumi. Humanities and Social Sciences Reviews, 7(6), 1162-1171. https://doi.org/10.18510/hssr.2019.76166 

  • Newport, J. N. (1998). The New Age movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and dialogue. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

  • Nicholson, R. A. (1934). The Mathnawi of Jalalu’ddin Rumi. Cambridge University Press.

  • Niranjana, T. (1992). Siting translation: History, post-structuralism, and the colonial context. University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520911369

  • Pellatt, V. (2014). Text, extratext, metatext and paratext in translation. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  • Perez, M. C. (2003). Apropos of ideology. St Jerome Publishing.

  • Pike, S. M. (2004). New Age and Neopagan religions in America. Columbia University Press.

  • Rovira-Esteva, S. (2016). The (mis)use of paratexts to (mis)represent the Other: Chun Sue’s Beijing Doll as a case study. Onomázein, (34), 187-208. https://doi.org/10.7764/onomazein.34.11 

  • Safavi, S. G., & Weightman, S. (2009). Rumi’s mystical design. Suny Press.

  • Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.

  • Said, E. (2003). Orientalism. Penguin Books.

  • Shuttleworth, M., & Cowie, M. (2014). Dictionary of translation studies. Routledge.

  • Thompson, J. B. (1984). Studies in the theory of ideology. University of California Press.

  • Tolib, K. K. S. (2019). Coleman Barks and the English translation of “Mathnawii Ma’navi.” Scientific Studies of Khujand State University, 4(61), 91-96.

  • Tymoczko, M. (1999). Post-colonial writing and literary translation. In S. Bassnett & H. Trivedi (Eds.), Postcolonial translation: Theory and practice (pp. 19-40). Routledge.

  • Van Dijk, T. A. (1998). Ideology: A multidisciplinary approach. Sage Publications.

  • Van Dijk, T. A. (2006). Discourse and manipulation. Discourse & Society, 17(3), 359-383. https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926506060250 

  • Venuti, L. (1995). The translator’s invisibility: A history of translation. Routledge.

  • Venuti, L. (1998). The scandals of translation. Routledge.

  • Venuti, L. (2002). The scandals of translation: Towards an ethics of difference. Routledge.

  • William, A. (2020). The Masnavi of Rumi, Book One: A new English translation with explanatory notes. IB Tauris.

  • Zamani, K. (2010). Content explanation of Masnavi Manavi Balkhi. Nashre Nei Publication.

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

Article ID

JSSH-8141-2021

Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Related Articles