A Sacramental Wordplay: An Investigation of Pun Translatability in the Two English Translations of the Quran

Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi, Elaheh Jamshidian


The present study aims at examining a small part of the unique style of the Quran, i.e. puns. Adopting pun translation strategies outlined in Delabastita (2004) as a basis of measurement, the Quran and its two English renderings were hence analyzed to explore what strategies are applied by the translators on the one hand, and to discover the extent of (un)translatability of puns of the Qur'an, on the other hand. To serve the aims of the present study, the following steps were taken: first, the puns were randomly chosen from 80 verses in 40 S?r?s (chapters) in the Quran and their equivalents in the two English renderings were identified. Second, Delabastita's) proposed procedures for translating puns were applied to items in question to see which procedures were more frequently employed by each of the translators. Finally, drawing on Delabastita (2004) model, the (un)translatability of puns of the Quran was investigated. The results of the study revealed how feasible his proposed strategies are in terms of the translatability of puns in the case of the Quran. The findings of the study will hopefully pave the way for further investigations on the translatability of other rhetorical issues in Muslims' Holy Scripture. Also, the findings can be reconfirmed in further studies on other sacred books towards a possible generalization.

Key words: The Quran, pun, translatability, untranslatability, translation strategy



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/ass.v7n1p133

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