Investigating the readability of literary texts translations: A step towards formulating the ‘Nativity Hypothesis’

  • Mahmoud Afrouz University of Isfahan


The present study aims at formulating a tentative hypothesis for the issue of ‘Nativity’. It focuses on the readability level of the translations by source-language native and target-language native translators. The corpus selected for analysis was the Persian Modern novella The Blind Owl. The original work was written by the most widely-known Persian short-story writer Sadeq Hedayat (1903-1951) and it was translated by Bashiri (the SL native translator) in 2016 and Costello (the TL native translator) in 1957. The corpus was investigated in terms of total word number, ‘Long Words’ number, ‘Hard Words,’ ‘Gunning Fog Index’ and ‘Lexical Density’ in order to give a clear picture of the readability of the two translations. One principle in favour of the tentative ‘Nativity Hypothesis’ was found to be that TL native translators produce a wider, more domesticated, more target-reader friendly, more fluent and more readable translation than SL native translators.’ The study was just a single and humble step towards formulating the NH. Prospective researchers are encouraged to conduct confirmatory research focusing on different text-types, such as classical literary texts, and sacred texts. A researcher working on such subjects would hopefully take a further step towards the formulation of a somehow reliable ‘Nativity Hypothesis.’


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Author Biography

Mahmoud Afrouz, University of Isfahan

Mahmoud Afrouz graduated with a PhD degree from Allameh Tabataba’i University (Tehran, Iran) in the field of English Translation Studies in 2015. He holds an MA in the same field from the University of Isfahan (2007), and a B.A. in English translation from Shahid Chamran University of Ahwaz (2004). He has been teaching translation and interpretation-related courses at the University of Isfahan (Iran) as a part-time instructor since 2009 and as a permanent faculty member since 2015. He is also a practising translator. His research interests include AVT, literary translation and studies related to culture and translation.

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