Explicitation across literary genres: Evidence of a strategic device?


  • Mehdi Vahedi Kia Allameh Tabatabaei University
  • Helen Ouliaeinia University of Isfahan


explicitation, literary genres, performability, shift-aversion, characterization


The present study is an attempt to investigate lexical explicitation in English translations of modern Persian literary works in different genres, namely prose, poetry, and drama. To this end, 8 novels and short stories, 6 dramas, and 13 Persian poems were randomly selected along with their English translations and were then analyzed based on the model of lexical explicitation in literary translation proposed by Vahedi Kia (2011). The results show that different lexical explicitations are typical of all literary genres except for extension of proper nouns and filling of elliptical structures, which did not show typicality in poetry. The results also indicated that narrowing is the most frequent of these explicitations in fiction and poetry, and addition of conjunctions the most common in drama translation. Interestingly, the findings suggest that at least in drama, the outwardly rather conscious tendency to undergo such a shift accounts for compensating for characterization and/or performability in translation, i.e. some of the characteristic features inherent in the genre in question.