Open Journal of Modern Linguistics
2013. Vol.3, No.3, 174-181
Published Online September 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Revisiting “Retranslation Hypothesis”: A Comparative Analysis
of Stylistic Features in the Persian Retranslations of
Pride and Prejudice
Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi1, Amene Mohammadi2
1Graduate Department, Islamic Azad University, Shahreza Branch, Shahreza, Iran
2Shaikhbahai University, Isfahan, Iran
Received April 5th, 2013; revised May 10th, 2013; accepted May 17th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi, Amene Mohammadi. This is an open access article distributed un-
der the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in
any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
In the context of literary translation studies, a translation can be challenged at any time, which may lead
to its retranslation. According to “Retranslation Hypothesis”, first translations tend to be more target-
oriented than subsequent, more recent translations. Retranslations, the hypothesis claims, get closer to the
source text, resulting in a more accomplished target text. Several different factors are found to make “Re-
translation Hypothesis” possible. Yet the extent to which the Hypothesis is supported by empirical evi-
dence is in question. Thus, the present study, in order to test the validity of “Retranslation Hypothesis”
and supplementary nature of retranslations over time, as stated by Robinson (1999), selected three chap-
ters of Austin’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), together with its first and subsequent transla-
tions into Persian. The comparative analysis of three stylistic features (type/token ratio, average sentence
length, speech representation) between the source and the translated texts was underpinned by Baker’s
(2000) and Short’s (1996) methodologies for investigating style as a means of measuring degrees of
closeness or divergence, and charting the treatment of the retranslation over time. In partial support of
“Retranslation Hypothesis”, the findings of this study revealed a more source-text oriented nature for re-
translations in an attempt of the translators to keep the original stylistic features intact. Thus, it can be
claimed that the Hypothesis is valid to some extent in this respect. The findings of the present study may
prove to be useful to the professional translators of foreign literary works in that they show the prevailing
approach applied by the first and later translators. In addition, the findings can be of great help to the pub-
lishers and editors of literary translations, in terms of the necessity of producing retranslations over time
or reprinting first translations.
Keywords: “Retranslation Hypothesis”; Retranslation; Stylistic Features; Supplementary Nature;
Type/Token Ratio; Sentence Length; Speech Representation
The “Retranslation Hypothesis” has been presented in an ar-
ticle by French scholar Berman (1990: p. 1), talking basically
about literary retranslation. He claims that translation is an “in-
complete” act and that it can only evolve through later transla-
tions. Completion to Berman refers to the success of a transla-
tion in getting closer to the source text (ST) and in representing
the encounter between the translator and the language of the ori-
ginal (1990). He believes that all translations are marked with
an inherent “failure” that is at its peak in its first translation
(1990: p. 5). He further believes that subsequent translations
pay more attention to the letter and style of the ST and keep a
cultural distance between the translation and its source, empha-
sizing the otherness of the original (1990).
In his paper, Robinson (1999: p. 1) states, “standard assump-
tion about retranslation is that it is undertaken when an existing
translation, comes to be widely perceived as outdated.” Based
on this idealized model of translation, the original is considered
“timeless,” while translation is for its own time only (1999: p.
2). Later he takes a critical stance on this ideal model and re-
gards it rather simplistic, since literary classics in opposition to
the claim of “Retranslation Hypothesis” may be retranslated for
a whole host of reasons, only some of which are related to the
passage of time (1999). Robinson goes even further and con-
tinues to clash the idea of timeless original by considering the
role of retranslations in changing the target culture and literary
system (1999). Hence, an “updated conception of the original”
is mandatory as well which leads us to the conclusion that the
original ST is “no longer the stable [timeless] referent point”
rather it is a “reciprocal product of interactive rethinking in a
shifting present” (1999: p. 4). Keeping Supplementarity nature
of retranslations in the foreground, Robinson (1999) speaks of
three models of retranslations as temporal supplementarity, quan-
titative supplementarity, and qualitative supplementarity, which
refer to updating and modernization of previous translations,
getting more of the original’s semantics, style, and beauty, re-
spectively. In other words supplementarity as Robinson (1990)
put it is getting more of the original’s properties than the prede-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 175
cessor translation (Robinson, 1999).
Implied in “Retranslation Hypothesis” is the paradigm of
idealism, namely the further we get away from the time the ST
was created and the more it is retranslated, the better translation
will be achieved (Vándor, 2009). In other words, the more we
translate the better results we get and eventually we get access
to an ideal translation, i.e., a translation that its goal is to achi-
eve “perfect identity with the original” (Goethe cited in Schulte
& Biguenet, 1992).
Apparently, “Retranslation Hypothesis” is based on the intui-
tive observation of many cases which follow this schema. As
Koskinen and Paloposki (2004) point out even the reasons be-
hind it sound plausible. If a ST appears to be foreign or alien in
the target culture, a more domesticated comprehensive version
of translation is often expected and later translations seem to
benefit from increased familiarity with the source culture.
Contrary to the existence of many cases that conform to the
underlying assumptions of “Retranslation Hypothesis”, there
are still several other cases which stand in the opposite direc-
tion (Koskinen & Paloposki, 2010). Therefore, a number of re-
searchers to whom “Retranslation Hypothesis” is untenable criti-
cizes the assumed chronological development of it. This might
also hold to be true in the case of Persian-English-Persian liter-
ary multiple translations.
Regarding Robinson’s latter qualitative supplementarity clas-
sification of models of translations, the present study, attempted
to test the validity of “Retranslation Hypothesis” with regard to
stylistic aspects of the original text. It therefore sought to an-
swer the following questions:
1) Is retranslation supplemented stylistically according to the
micro level of stylistic analysis?
2) Does retranslation lead to an ideal translation?
Background of the Study
Motives for Retranslations
Generally, Berman (1990) takes three main reasons in to ac-
count for rendering a new translation of the already translated
texts. He primarily speaks of historical, interpretive, and recap-
tion-oriented grounds as specific justifications for the act of
retranslation. He puts emphasis on the issue of aging transla-
tions with the passage of time, and eternal “young” ST as a ma-
jor motivation for rendering new translations.
By contrast, Brownlie (2006) points out that changing social
contexts and the evolution of translation norms are major fac-
tors leading to retranslate a previously translated text. Pym also
gives some explanation on the reasons for retranslation act
“ranging from different pedagogical functions of texts to rivalry
in the possession of the knowledge contained in the document
to be translated” (1998: pp. 82-83). Other reasons for retransla-
tions, as Kujamäki (2001) claims, are ideological and political
factors that give rise to a need for retranslation of canonical
literary texts in particular.
Retranslations may also be published in order to reassert the
power and authority of certain social institutions such as aca-
demic, feminist, and religious establishments (Venuti, 2003).
Retranslations commissioned with the awareness of the prede-
cessor translations, Venuti maintains, “justify themselves by es-
tablishing their differences from one or more previous versions”
and that this difference emerges from retranslation strategies
leading to competing interpretations formed on the assumption of
unacceptability of previous versions” (2003: pp. 25-26). Re-
translators may also set out to displace the prevailing transla-
tion norms in a given culture (2003).
Paloposki and Koskinen (2004) argue that the possible rea-
son behind the act of retranslation is that if a ST appears to be
foreign or alien in the target culture, a more domesticated com-
prehensive version of translation is often expected and later
translations seem to benefit from increased familiarity with the
source culture. Therefore, acquainting with the culture of ST is
seen as another reason for retranslation act.
The role of publishing houses which are attracted by prestige,
cost effectiveness, and guaranteed sales associated with the pub-
lication of literary classics is also another reason to retranslate
or recycle existing translations (Milton, 2001; Koskinen & Pa-
loposki, 2003; Venuti, 2003).
Yet another reason for retranslation is the fact that the trans-
lator is considered as an established author in the TT (Vander-
schelden, 2000). Dean (2010) points out that the underlying
motivations for the act of retranslation arise from “the tangle of
both intrinsic (linguistic and cultural), and extrinsic (para and
extra textual) variables”.
Five main arguments have been put forward to justify re-
translation. Retranslation, thus, is acceptable if 1) The existing
translation is unsatisfactory (in terms of errors of comprehen-
sion, changes in perception and target language norms over
years); 2) A new edition of ST is published and becomes a stan-
dard reference; 3) The existing TT is considered outdated from
stylistic point of view; 4) Retranslation has a special function to
fill in the target language (e.g. synchronic retranslations for Bri-
tish and American market); 5) A different interpretation of ST
is plausible (Vanderschelden, 2000: pp. 5-6). Retranslations, as
she explains, can also contribute to the revival of interests in a
forgotten literary text, and publishers use them as a positive
literary device (2000).
“Retranslation Hypothesis” and the Underlying
When talking about “Retranslation Hypothesis” one must
mention Bensimon (1990), Berman (1990), Gambier (1994),
and Chesterman (2000) as the ones who introduced and formu-
lated “Retranslation Hypothesis”.
Theoretical assumptions on retranslation were discussed in a
special issue of the journal Palimpsestes in 1990 by Berman
and Bensimon whose position on retranslation is briefly what
constitutes the basis for the so-called “Retranslation Hypothe-
sis” (Koskinen & Paloposki, 2003; Brownlie, 2006).
Berman (1990: pp. 1-7) argues that translation is an “incom-
plete act” and in order to accomplish the task of translation the
only way is through setting out retranslations over time. He ad-
mits that first translations date hence, the need for new transla-
tions (1990). By “accomplishment” he means the success of a
translation in getting closer to the source text and in represent-
ing the encounter between the translator and the language of the
original (1990: p. 3). He also puts emphasis on an inherent
“failure” marking all translations and points out that this “fail-
ure” is at its peak in the first translation, reflecting the “inca-
pacity” and “resistance” to translate (1990: p. 5).
In the same issue of Palimpsestes, dealing with retranslation,
Bensimon (1990: p. ix) speaks of first translations as “naturali-
zation of the foreign works” which serves to introduce them
into given target culture. Hence, first translations in his view
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
are introductions seeking to integrate one culture into another,
to ensure positive reception of the work in the target culture.
Subsequent translations, on the other hand, pay more attention
to the letter and style of the ST and maintain a cultural distance
between the translation and its source (1990).
“Retranslation Hypothesis” is formulated more explicitly in
an evaluation by Gambier (1994: p. 414) “… first translation
always tends to be more assimilating, tends to reduce the other-
ness in the name of cultural and editorial requirements… The
translation, in this perspective would mark a return to the
source text” (emphasis in the text). First translations, therefore,
are assumed to feature cuts and challenges that are motivated
by a concern for higher levels of readability (1994). He sug-
gests a number of starting points for testing “Retranslation Hy-
pothesis”, i.e. retranslations are carried out due to our increased
knowledge of source languages or to offer a new interpretation.
First option seems to be more in line with “Retranslation Hy-
pothesis” whereas the second one tends to other solutions. This
view brings to fore a model of retranslation as an improvement
process over time and is based on the idea of an “immanent
meaning” contained in the ST (Gambier, 1994).
Implied in “Retranslation Hypothesis” is the paradigm of ide-
alism, namely the further we get away from the time the ST
was created and the more it is retranslated, the better translation
will be achieved (Vándor, 2009). In other words, the more we
translate the better results we get and sooner or later we get
access to an ideal translation.
According to Goethe (cited in Schulte & Biguenet, 1992) there
are three epoch of translation of the same ST over a period. The
first one makes known “the country of the foreign” to the target
readers on their own terms. The second kind of translation be-
longs to the era in which the translator attempts to “place him-
self into the foreign situation but actually only appropriates the
foreign idea and represents it as his own”. The third epoch of
translation is the highest of the three in which the goal of the
translation is to achieve “perfect identity with the original” and
“ultimately comes close to an interlinear version and greatly fa-
cilitates our understanding of the original.”
Supplementary and Improvement: The Difference
As mentioned above, Gambier (1994) suggested a model of
retranslation as an improvement process through the course of
time. According to what Gambier (1994) stated, the motives for
retranslation is the increased knowledge of the source lan-
guages and cultures as well as to offer a new interpretation
(1994). In other words, as Hanson, Malmkjar, Gile (2004: p. 34)
state, retranslations are “somehow more adequate or mature
than those produced in the previous era.”
Another term frequently used in “Retranslation Hypothesis”,
which might be confused with retranslations’ improvement proc-
ess over time, is the “supplementarity” nature of retranslations.
As Koskinen and Paloposki (2003) put it, the concept of the
supplementarity of different translations refers to “the targeting
of different versions to different sections of the audience, and
of categorizing a text either as a classic or children literature”
(2003: pp. 22-23). The notion of supplementarity in their view
refers to simultaneous function of texts and their interpretations
on several layers, which criticize easy classification of trans-
lated texts into assimilative first, and source text oriented new
translators. In other words, it can be seen as complementing
and/or reorienting the source texts in the subsequent transla-
The term is also differently used by Robinson (1999) in his
model of retranslation. He claims that retranslation comes to be
conceived and presented either rhetorically (quantitatively) or
qualitatively rather than temporally supplemental, i.e. it cap-
tures more of the original properties than the predecessor trans-
lations. The prevalent directionality in his model of retransla-
tion is supplementarity, as Robinson (1999: p. 2) claimed “…
previous translations have only partially rendered, and presents
the retranslation as much-needed supplement that captures more
of the original’s timeliness (temporal supplementarity), seman-
tics and/or syntax (quantitative supplementarity), or spark, genius,
élan, or je ne sais quoi (qualitative supplementarity)”. By qualita-
tive supplementarity, he means getting more of the original’s
style and beauty. It is worth pointing out the present study fo-
cused on the concept of supplementarity as stated by Robinson
In order to select a text that conforms to the aim of a research,
restrictions have to be applied. Therefore, the fiction novel
Pride and prejudice (1813), written by 19th century English wo-
man writer, Austin, translated by Mosaaheb (1955) and retrans-
lated by Pooraanfar and Adel poor (2007) was chosen for the
purpose of this study.
Model of the Study
For the purposes of the present research, it was crucial to
understand that there are different traditions of stylistic research,
which influence the limits, and ambitions of a stylistic study as
well as methods used in stylistic analysis. Generally speaking,
two types of linguistic and literary (poetic) stylistics was dis-
tinguished (cited in Miššíková, 2003). The researchers applied
Short’s (1996) analytical methods of linguistic stylistics in
which he works exclusively with literary texts such as poetry,
fiction, and drama (cited in Miššíková 2003), together with
Baker’s methodology for investigating style (2000). Therefore,
the model of the present study is a hybrid one. Three linguistic
stylistic markers were thus selected to represent the micro-level
of stylistic analysis, i.e. Type/Token Ratio (TTR), Average Sen-
tence Length (ASL), and Speech Representation (SR). The par-
ticular line of investigation the present study followed is how-
ever different from that of the Baker’s (2000) corpus study for
investigating translator’s style in that hers focused on identify-
ing linguistic patterns of a translator regardless of SR and the
possible influence of the source language and/or the author’s
style. The present study thus borrowed, in addition to Short’s
(1996) proposed features, Baker’s identified stylistic patterns of
a literary translator and investigated the relative match of the
source and target texts and relative success of the latter in re-
producing the style of the former. Actually, since the focus of
this study is “Retranslation Hypothesis” (RH) and testing the
degree to which first and later translations preserve the stylistic
features of the original text in translation, the researchers inves-
tigated the general stylistic markers (TTR, ASL, SR) first in the
ST, and then in the first and later translations for potential
match between the source and target texts.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 177
In order to carry out the study, random sampling was em-
ployed. Actually, three chapters (chapters three, forty four, and
fifty five) of the novel Pride and Prejudice and their corre-
sponding renderings in the first and subsequent Persian transla-
tions were selected. Then, three general stylistic markers of
TTR, ASL, and SR were identified manually by the researchers
first in the ST, next in the first and later translations and tabu-
lated in a number of tablets. To calculate TTR, first the number
of tokens, i.e. total number of words of the text, and then the
number of types, i.e. the number of different words of the texts
was counted in the ST and TTs. Since TTR is sensitive to the
length of the text (in larger texts TTR tends to be lower) the
researchers applied the related formula to the texts of the same
length, in which the number of tokens is the same in both the
source and target translations. Following that, the ratio of dif-
ferent words to total words was calculated, multiplied by one
hundred, and tabulated for each text. This was done to compare
and contrast the vocabulary richness of the author, translator,
and re-translator.
To specify the Average Sentence Length (ASL), the punctua-
tion marks were used to identify the boundary of sentences. The
researchers actually classified syntactic structures into three
types: 1) sentences ended with Full Stop; 2) sentences ended
with Exclamation Mark and 3) sentences ended with Question
Mark. The total number of FSs, EMs, and QMs was counted in
the three selected chapters and tabulated. Then, the total num-
ber of words was determined by performing word segmentation
on both the original and translated texts. Finally, the ASL was
calculated by dividing the total number of words to the total
number of punctuation marks. It was done to specify the aver-
age length of the author’s and translators’ sentences. By com-
paring the length of sentences with Butler’s (1985) three cate-
gories of sentence length as short, medium, and long, the pre-
sent study specified whether the translator and/or re-translator
have kept the style of the author intact in this respect.
To identify the SR, the researchers applied Short’s categori-
zation of speech representation (1996, 2005), dividing “report-
ing speech” of the original text and its first and later transla-
tions into five groups of 1) Narrator’s Representation of Speech
(NRS); 2) Direct Speech (DS); 3) Free Direct Speech; 4) Indi-
rect Speech (IS); and 5) Free Indirect Speech (FIS), accordingly.
Then the number of SR in each group was counted and tabu-
lated in tables, and the percentage of use of each group was cal-
culated in the original novel and the translated texts. This was
done to figure out which translation is closer to the original no-
vel in terms of preserving the author’s style of representation of
It is to be noted finally that in the course of data analysis, two
main lines were followed: the collected data were analyzed
quantitatively in terms of calculating TTR and ASL, and both
quantitatively and qualitatively in terms of identifying and cal-
culating the number and percentage of SR’s groups.
Results and Discussion
Type/Token Ratio
Table 1 statistically displays the total number of tokens,
types and TTR derived from the selected chapters of Pride and
Prejudice and its translations by Mosaaheb and Pooraanfar.
Table 1.
TTR in ST and TTs.
Austin Mosaaheb Pooraanfar
Tokens 5505 5505 5505
Types 1006 985 1001
TTR 54.7 55.8 54.9
As Table 1 shows, TTR is higher for Mosaaheb (55.8), while
it is almost the same for Austin and Pooraanfar (i.e. 54.7 and
54.9 respectively).
The results of the present study showed that one obvious
difference between the author and the first translator concerned
the overall type/token ratio. In Table 1, one can see that there
seems to be a strong preference in using a wider range of vo-
cabulary for Mosaaheb due to her overall type/token ratio (55.8).
Since, according to Baker (2000: p. 250), “a high type/token
ratio means the writer uses a wider range of vocabulary [and] a
low type/token ratio means that a writer drows on a more re-
stricted set of vocabulary items”, the researchers found that
Mosaaheb, the first translator, enjoys more distinct words in her
In contrast, figures presented in Table 1 revealed that the
overall TTR is lower for Pooraanfar, the re-translator, with a
restricted variation among individual words. This is largely true
of the original writer with even a lower TTR. It is worth men-
tioning that the focus of the present study was not to exactly
determine the vocabulary richness of the original writer and the
two translators, but to make a comparison and contrast between
them to find any probable stylistic similarities and differences
in this respect. Through figures in Table 1, one can find that
although TTR varies between the source and the retranslated
text, the variation is not much considerable. The apparent simi-
larity between the original author and Pooraanfar in the range
and use of vocabulary might be an indication of a direct reflec-
tion of the ST in Pooraanfar’s retranslation.
Unlike Pooraanfar’s restricted range of vocabulary, Mosaa-
heb enjoyed more distinct words in the first translation, since
TTR is higher for Mosaaheb, with more variation among indi-
vidual words. This is quite stylistically revealing, most proba-
bly because she has been under the influence of target (Persian)
stylistic norms of the time or of her individual style of writing.
Her choice of lexical items with a higher frequency of occur-
rence in the original Persian novels of the time might be con-
sidered as another indication of her impression from the target
stylistic norms, which, in fact, is beyond the concern of this
study. At any rate, according to what Berman (1990) states about
target-oriented translation, Mosaaheb’s first translation seems
to be a more target oriented one, applying target stylistic norms
of the time in terms of the writer’s lexical diversity, thus trying
to naturalize the source text’ style of writing. While the re-
translator attempted to produce a more source-oriented transla-
tion, as Berman (1990) puts it, in terms of the general stylistic
feature of the writer’s lexical diversity, keeping the foreign
flavor of the original.
Average Sentence Length
Stylistic analysis has inherited other types of measurements
from corpus linguistics, a good example of which is ASL. It ac-
counts for a writer’s stylistic pattern of constructing and pre-
senting sentences in a text. A writer might face three choices of
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
sentence length ranging from long and medium to succinct
sentences. Hemingway’s style of using succinct sentences in his
novels such as The Old Man and the Sea is a paradigmatic rep-
resentation of the function of ASL in stylistic analysis.
The following table illustrates the total number of words,
punctuation marks, and average sentence length (ASL) in three
chapters of the novel Pride and prejudice and its first and later
translation by Mosaaheb and Pooraanfar, respectively.
Table 2 shows that the average sentence length in Mosaa-
heb’s translation is lower than that of Austin, i.e. 18.09. It is
also evident that the total number of words in the three chapters
of the later translation by Pooraanfar has increased to 6698 and
thus, ASL has risen to 20.69, which are closer to that of Austin.
According to Butler (1985) sentences are grouped into three
categories by length, i.e. short (1-9 words), medium (10-25
words), and long (more than 25 words). By looking at the fig-
ures presented in Table 2, it gets clear that Austin’s overall
average length of sentences falls into Butler’s medium category.
The above results reveal the same thing, i.e. both the first trans-
lator and the re-translator have had a general tendency to use
medium sentences in the target translated texts. The obtained
figures did not show a great distinction between ASL in the ST
and the translated ones. However, the variation in statistics for
the first translation (20.01 18.09 = 1.92) is stylistically sig-
nificant, because it is an indication of a minimized ASL in Mo-
saaheb’s style of writing in contrast to the original author’s.
This might be again due to the translator’s own style of writing
or the stylistic norms of the time. The possible justification for
the findings might be again target stylistic norms of writing of
the time and the Mosaaheb’s preference of readability of the
text to the target audience over the faithfulness to the writer’s
style of presenting the length of sentences. According to Ber-
man (1990) and Venuti (1995), the first translator tries to natu-
ralize the ST. In other words, a transparent, fluent style is
adopted in order to minimize the foreignness of ST. In contrast,
the larger amount of ASL in Pooraanfar’s retranslation (20.69)
made it apparent to the researchers that the re-translator priori-
tized the style of the source author and the original text. The
longer average sentence length used by Pooraanfar also was an
evidence to illustrate the re-translator’s strategies to make the
ST more explicit to the target readers. Thus, according to Ber-
man (1990) and Venuti (1995), Pooraanfar preserved “alien”
features of the ST in order to convey the foreignness of the
Speech Representation
According to Wright (2010), Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is
a combination of narrative techniques to create effectively the
impression of a social world inhabited by a variety of characters.
Table 2.
ASL in ST and TTs.
Austin Mosaaheb Pooraanfar
Full stops 227 337 297
Exclamation marks 39 13 10
Question marks 9 12 18
Number of punctuation 275 362 325
Number of words 5505 6552 6698
Average sentence length 20.01 18.09 20.69
The novel is written in the third person, where the narrator is
not an actual character in the story, but an omniscient separate
entity, allowing the reader to enter a particular character’s mind
To achieve reality, she considerably employs dialogue in the
novel Pride and Prejudice (Reni, 2007). As one can see, the
first chapter of Pride and Prejudice is almost entirely in dia-
logue, “allowing the reader to engage the audience immediately
by enacting the characters” (Michelson, 1990: p. 71). Reni states
that’s since Austin was after a realistic depiction of her charac-
ters and their surroundings, she had to find gradations of the
ordinary dialogue between the characters. Therefore, the dia-
logue in Pride and Prejudice is expanded with direct and indi-
rect presentation of speech. One of the indirect techniques of
speech representation, which is credited by her inventing, is her
use of free indirect speech, FIS (Michelson, 1990).
Table 3 below contrasts the percentage of occurrence of the
SR classifications in Austin’s novel, Mosaaheb’s first transla-
tion, and Pooraanfar’s retranslation.
Looking closely at Table 3 makes it clear that the percentage
of variation in SR is much considerable at NRS, DS, and FDS
for both the first and later translators. Also, the percentage of
the occurrence DS in the ST (32.72%), is an indication of ex-
tensive use of direct speech in the foreign work. The almost
higher percentage of 50.54 for NRS also shows the stylistic
preference of the author to present narrator representation of
speech for the scenes, which does not demand impressive read-
ing. Thus, extensive use of NRS in the original novel helped the
audience to read the novel with more rapidity. The third cell of
the same row (Table 3) contains the percentage of the use of
FDS in the ST (12.36%) is a signal of the minimized narrator’s
influence on the character’s speech. According to what Short
(1996) states, FDS is “used to accentuate the reported clause by
delivering it from the presence of the narrator without with-
drowing the contextual information the reader needs to consider
the text coherent and without causing confusion or reader dif-
ficulty…”(p. 304). Based on the figures of the same table, one
can find that the percentage of the use of IS is very low, under 1
percent (.72%). In other words, the author used restricted num-
ber of IS in her narrative. This is done by the author to show the
minor status of the reported words and to offer the reader a
fluent reading. Finally, the table shows that the percentage of
the use of FIS is not much considerable (3.63) for the ST.
Originally introduced by Austin, FIS is utilized in a restricted
number of narrative sentences of the Pride and Prejudice with
the form of narrative report to indicate indirectness as well as
freeness of speeches. One of the significant effects of applying
this technique on a text is the use of FIS as a means for impos-
ing irony (Reni, 2007). As Leech and Short (1981) put it “This
ability to give the flavour of the character’s words but also to
Table 3.
Percentage of occurrence of the SR classifications for Austin, Mosaa-
heb, and Pooraanfar.
Speech representation categories Austin Mosaaheb Pooraanfar
Narrator representation of speech 50.54 62.15 58.76
Direct Speech 32.72 25.13 27.38
Free direct speech 12.36 8.25 9.53
Indirect speech .72 .82 .64
Free indirect speech 3.63 3.59 3.69
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 179
keep the narrator in an intervening position between character
and reader makes FIS an extremely useful vehicle for casting
ironic light on what the character says” (pp. 326-327). In fact,
“the narrator has the possibility to let his own opinion slip into
the character’s words without changing them into IS” (Reni,
2007: p. 7). Hence, the ironical tone-considered as a stylistic
feature of the macro level of stylistic analysis of a text of the
novel can be in part assigned to the Author’s use of FIS in her
narrative style.
Compared to the findings of the present study, concerning
the percentage of each SR category occurrence in the original
novel, Pride and Prejudice, and based on the second row of
Table 3, the researchers came to know that there is almost a
great difference between the first translator’s tendency to use
NRS, DS, and FDS and that of the original author’s. It is obvi-
ous that the percentage of NRS for Mosaaheb (62.15) consid-
erably exceeds that of Austin (50.54). This might be due to the
fact that the first translator attempted to shorten the length of
the narrative sentences by cutting them to small individual sen-
tences in order to increase the text readability to the target
readers as the target stylistic norms of the time necessitates.
The second cell of the same row represents the percentage of
the first translator use of DS (25.13). As it is seen, the fre-
quency of DS occurrence in the first translation by Mosaaheb
has noticeably decreased compared to that of Austin. This re-
duction in the amount of DS occurrence in the first translation
is an indication of the decreasing degree of reality and vivid-
ness of the character’s words in the first translation. Also, the
percentage of FDS occurrence (8.25) in the first translation
differs from that of the ST (12.36). This, in fact, is because the
first translator made the translated text more explicit. The dif-
ference of percentage in the first translation of IS and FIS is not
much considerable which shows the increase and decrease in
the occurrence of IS (.82%) and FIS (3.59%) percentage, re-
spectively, compared to that of Austin. This reveals there was
not much stylistic shift from the ST in terms of the last two SR
categories, i.e. IS and FIS. In other words, the first translator
kept the level of speech indirectness as well as the ironic tone
of the original text in the translated one.
The third row of the table also contains the percentage of SR
categories occurrence in the retranslation by Pooraanfar. Look-
ing at the table vertically, one finds out that SR percentage of
occurrence in retranslation has undergone almost the same changes
in the first translation, compared to that of the ST. Actually, the
percentage for NRS tends to increase for the retranslation, i.e.
(58.76), which is in part due to the re-translator’s tendency
towards expansion and explicitation of the ST in the retrans-
lated TT. From the second cell of the same row, it becomes
evident that the percentage of using DS has been decreased in
Pooraanfar’s retranslation. The lower frequency of DS in the
retranslation indicates that the degree and level of presenting
reality in the retranslation have slightly been decreased com-
pared to the source work. The difference of FDS between the
retranslation and the original novel, pride and prejudice, is
shown in the same table, i.e. (12.36 9.53= 2.83). It is, in fact,
indicative of the re-translator’s tendency towards making the
retranslated text more explicit than the ST makes. A vertical
glance at the table reveals that the degree of the re-translator’s
explicitness is still lower than the first translator’s explicitness,
since the percentage of FDS occurrence in Mosaaheb’s first and
Pooraanfar’s retranslation is 8.25 and 9.53 respectively. Just
like Mosaaheb’s first translation, the percentage of IS (.64) and
FIS (3.69) occurrence in the retranslation does not show much
variation, compared to that of the ST. This, in fact, shows that
less stylistic shift from the ST has occurred in the use of IS and
FIS in the retranslation. It is to be added that the re-translator
has tried much to preserve the style of the ST in terms of
speech representation, hence applying a more source-oriented
strategy of translation in conveying the author’s style. In con-
trast, the greater variation in the percentage of the use of SR on
the part of the first translator makes it quite clear that Mosaaheb
has not cared much for keeping the style of the original text in
terms of SR. This is because she has tried to naturalize the style
of the ST according to the stylistic norms of the target language,
thus making the first translation more target-oriented than the
Revisiting “Retranslation Hypothesis”
As mentioned earlier, “Retranslation Hypothesis” was intro-
duced and formulated by a number of translation scholars such
as Berman (1990), Bensimon (1990), and Gambier (1994) based
on the observed schema of domesticated first translation, and
foreignized retranslations. According to Berman (1990: p. 1),
translation is “an incomplete act and it can only strive for com-
pletion through retranslations.” Based on what he stated (1990),
completion is achieved through the process of getting closer to
the ST. Similarly, Bensimon (1990) claimed that first transla-
tions of the literary texts are more domesticating than the later
retranslation of the same texts. As he puts it first translations
are “the naturalization of the foreign works”; they are “intro-
ductions” trying to integrate the source culture into the target
culture, to ensure positive reception of the work in the target
culture (1990: p. ix). Retranslations of the same originals do not
need to address the issue of introducing the text; they can
maintain the cultural distance, instead. Therefore, subsequent
retranslations pay more attention to the letter and style of the
ST (1990). Gambier (1994) claimed exactly the same process of
domesticating first and foreignizing subsequent translations, as
he put it “… first translations always tends to be more assimi-
lating, tends to reduce the otherness in the name of cultural and
editorial requirements… The translation in this perspective would
mark a return to the source text” (p. 414).
The present study, as far as “Retranslation Hypothesis” is
concerned, focused on the question of the degree of assimila-
tion and foreignization observable in the first and later transla-
tion of an English novel, merely in terms of the assimilation to
the stylistic features of the ST. It also sought the supplementary
nature (getting more of the original) of the retranslation by
analyzing the data collected from the selected chapters of the
original English novel, and its two first and later translations.
The findings came to be in line with the claim made by “Re-
translation Hypothesis” that first translations are more domes-
ticating than retranslations, i.e. the researchers found that re-
translations in this study were more foreignizing than the first
translation in terms of the three stylistic markers of TTR, ASL,
and SR. Also, the findings showed to fit in the RH schema. It
means that the retranslation of the foreign work seems to be
more foreignizing, keeping the flavour of the foreign. Further-
more, the findings provided support for Robinson’ claim (1999)
that retranslations are undertaken for a number of reasons, only
some of which are related to out-datedness of the first transla-
tion. According to Robinson (1999), three models of retransla-
tions are possible concerning the supplementarity nature of re-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
translations, i.e. temporal, quantitative, and qualitative supple-
mentarity. Qualitative supplementarity refers to getting more of
the original style and beauty. It is quite clear that retranslations
in the present study have qualitatively been supplemented in
terms of style as they are more source-text oriented, matching
the original text’s style properties than the first translation.
It is to be noted however that the findings of this study
should not necessarily be regarded as a full proof for the valid-
ity of “Retranslation Hypothesis”, for some counter-examples
might be found in other similar studies to the effect that the
whole issue of domestication/assimilation versus foreigniza-
tion/source-text orientation is irrelevant. Besides, the findings
of this study by no means guarantee a better retranslation in the
target context for as Susam-Sarajeva (2003: p. 48) puts it, even
the notion of retranslation as a “unidirectional move towards
‘better’ target text” and “… somehow more adequate and ma-
ture [translation]” does not have a general value, since it is not
the case for all translations for sure.
As stated before, “Retranslation Hypothesis” founded its base
on the assumption of assimilating first and source-oriented sub-
sequent translations. As RH claims, it is so because the first
translation serves as an introduction of the foreign work to the
target readers, hence the need for new source-oriented retrans-
lation in which the focus is on the letter and style of the ST.
Furthermore, RH highlighted the supplementarity nature of re-
translations over time, had they been more source-oriented than
the predecessor translations. The present study, in order to ex-
amine the validity of “Retranslation Hypothesis” about assimi-
lating first translations and the ST orientation of the retransla-
tions and its accomplishment over time, chose a first translation
and a retranslation of the novel, Pride and Prejudice. In order
to test the degree of assimilation and source-text orientation
strategies in the first and later translations, the researchers con-
centrated solely on the treatment of three general stylistic fea-
tures in all three selected chapters of the first and subsequent
translations. The model chosen for the analysis of the possible
stylistic similarities and differences between the ST, the first
and later translations as well as for the type of strategy applied
for the translation of the three stylistic markers of TTR, ASL,
and SR was an integration of Baker’s (2000) model of investi-
gating style in translation and Short’s (1996) stylistic model of
representing speech in narration. Baker (2000) suggested that
her model of stylistic analysis of literary translations concerns
the pattern of linguistic choices in literary translation, which
should next be compared directly with the ST to depict the
potential influence of the source language and/or writer’s style.
The first two stylistic markers investigated in the present study
were thus borrowed from her model of stylistic investigation in
translation. But, the third stylistic feature analyzed concentrated
on the Short’s categories of speech representation (SR), i.e.
NRS, DS, FDS, IS, and FIS. Based on the obtained findings,
the following conclusions were drawn in connection with the
posed research questions:
1) The findings demonstrated a qualitatively supplemented
retranslation. The retranslation in this study was source-ori-
ented rather than target-oriented. The degree of assimilation of
the foreign text (English novel) to the translating language (Per-
sian language) was much more in the first translation compared
with the retranslations. It can thus be concluded that the major
concern in the first translation was “readability” of the trans-
lated text. Therefore, the existing target text is considered un-
satisfactory from stylistic point of view, leading to a new trans-
lation, which is closer to the style of the source text. This, in-
deed, confirms what Bellos (1994) stated about first translation
as a hot translation which often favours readability and about
retranslations as cold ones which seem to return to the source
text literally, in an attempt to preserve its structure and style.
2) What is implied in “Retranslation Hypothesis” is the no-
tion of idealism, i.e. the further we get away from the time the
source text was produced and the more it is retranslated, the
better translation we get (Berman, 1990, Bellos, 1994 & Gam-
bier, 1994). Theoretically it is true that as time passes more
progress in translation theories and intertextual relation can be
seen. Although the findings of the present study showed sup-
plementarity in terms of style in retranslation, it does not guar-
antee a better translation. Besides, it does not give support to
the idea that supplementarity occurred due to the increased
knowledge of the re-translator of the source text through the
course of time compared to the first translator.
3) Regarding “Retranslation Hypothesis” the results obtained
from the present study were almost in line with the hypothesis
claims. According to “Retranslation Hypothesis” retranslations
were expected to be more source-text oriented than the first
translation of the same work. What was depicted through this
study implied that retranslations got nearer to the stylistic prop-
erties of the source text for all the three stylistic markers, while
the first translation kept more distance from the source text’s
style to ensure the positive reception of the translated text in the
target context.
Generally, according to what Bensimon and Berman (1990)
believed; namely, retranslations are made to emphasize the
“otherness” of the source text which was lost in the first trans-
lation, it can be concluded that the source text “otherness” is
one of the reasons which causes the retranslation to happen.
A final word is that although the findings of this study sup-
port RH claims, there are still other counter-examples, which
contradict the results (see Brownlie, 2006; Hadizade, 2009). As
Paloposki and Koskinen (2003, 2004) concluded in their re-
search, there are numerous retranslations in line with the RH
schema, but there also exist many examples to the contrary.
Therefore, at least it can be concluded that the Hypothesis is not
yet proved to be an absolute reality in translation. In order to
establish “Retranslation Hypothesis” as a universally-accepted
truth, further empirical researches need to be carried out.
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