Translating culture-specific items in Shazdeh Ehtejab: Examining Foreignization and Domestication


Shokri, Sobhan*
University of Isfahan, Iran (

Ketabi, Saeed
University of Isfahan, Iran (


The lexical presence of culture in a literary work mostly appears in form of culture-specific items. Due to cultural distance, translating these challenging elements, i.e. culture-specific items, is of real significance in the translation process. Translating these items entails, among others, adopting the dichotomy of Domestication or Foreignization. The present study sought to find which of the strategies was used more frequently in the English translation of the Persian literary masterpiece Shazdeh Ehtejab, translated by Buchan (2005). To do so, at first, thirty-four culture-specific items were extracted and then analyzed according to Newmark’s categorization (1988) of culture-specific items. Then, these items were examined according to Aixela’s model of translating culture-specific items (1996), which divides all the strategies into two broader categories of Domestication and Foreignization, to find the more frequent strategy. The result showed that Domestication with eighty-two percent was more frequent, which stood as the main approach of the translator. Moreover, as a subcategory of Domestication, synonymy was the most frequent strategy with thirty-nine percent. By applying domesticated equivalents, the translator hides the local color of the source text. The findings in this study have pedagogical implications for literary translators.

Keywords: culture-specific items; local color; Domestication; Foreignization; Shazdeh Ehtejab; Aixela’s model



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