Translation of Negative Politeness Strategies from English into Persian: The Case of Novel Translation

Negar Moradi, Mohammad Jafar Jabbari


Since the 1970s the phenomenon of politeness theory has come to the fore as one of the areas of applied linguistics. This notion has recently played a pivotal role in the realm of translation studies as well. However, the number of research projects in this area of translation studies, especially in English and Persian, is very small. This scantiness was among the rationales behind conducting the present study. This study aimed at investigating the translation strategies used by Persian translators in translating negative politeness strategies as well as translation quality assessment (TQA) of these pragmatic structures. To this end, two research questions regarding the translation strategies as well as TQA were defined, and the novel ‘Grapes of Wrath’ was selected as the material of the study. Using Brown & Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory, the novel was analyzed and a bulk of 100 utterances encompassing negative politeness strategies was randomly selected and juxtaposed with their Persian translations. Then, they were analyzed based on Newmark’s (1988) translation strategy as well as Rahimi’s (2004) translation theory and Zamani’s (2013) TQA framework. The results of the data analysis indicated that from among Newmark’s 16 translation strategies, 6 strategies proved to be more beneficial to translate negative politeness strategies. Moreover, the findings of the study proved that the level of Persian translation quality was at an average level, implying the fact that even professional translators require a higher mastery of pragmatic aspects of language– politeness theory in this respect.



Translation, negative politeness sub-strategies, translation strategies, translation quality assessment (TQA), face-threatening acts (FTAs)

Full Text:



Akbari, Z. (2002). The realization of politeness principles in Persian. Karen Linguistics Issues. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from

Assadi, R. (1980). Deference: Persian style. Anthropological Linguistic, 22 (5), 221-224.

Beeman, W. (1976).Status, style and strategy in Iranian interaction. Anthropological Linguistic, 14 (6), 305-322.

Beeman, W. (1986).Language, status, and power in Iran. Bloomington: Indiana University press.

Blum-Kulka, Sh. (1987). Indirectness and politeness in requests: Same or different? Journal of Pragmatics, 11 (7), 131-146.

Blum-Kulka, Sh., House, J., & Kasper, G. (1989).Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies. Norwood: Ablex Publishing.

Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Delgado, V.L. (1994). Politeness in language: Directive speech acts in U.S. English, and Colombian and Castilian Spanish (Doctoral Dissertation). State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA.

Hatim, B., & Mason, I. (1990).Discourse and the translator. The United States of America: Longman Group UK limited.

Le Pair, R. (1996). Spanish request strategies: A cross-cultural analysis from an intercultural perspective. Language Science, 18 (6), 651-670.

Márquez-Reiter, R. (2000). Linguistic politeness in Britain and Uruguay: A contrastive study of requests and apologies. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Newmark, P. (1988). A textbook of translation. England: Prince Hall International.

Rahimi, R. (2004). Alpha, beta and gamma features in translation: Toward the objectivity of testing translation. Translation Studies, 2 (1), 53-64.

Sifianou, M. (1992).Politeness phenomena in England and Greece: A cross-cultural perspective. Oxford, UK: Longman.

Steinbeck, J. (1939). The Grapes of Wrath [E-reader version, if applicable]. Retrieved November 15, 2012, from http://

Steinbeck, J. (1964). The Grapes of Wrath. (S. Maskoob & A. Ahmadi Trans.). Tehran: Amirkabir Publications. (original work published 1939).

Steinbeck, J. (2008). The Grapes of Wrath.(A. Sharifian Trans.). Tehran: EntesharateNegah. (original work published 1939).

Wierzbicka, A. (2003). Cross-cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction (2nded.). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Yaqubi, M., & Afghari, A. (2011). A cross-cultural study of politeness strategies applied in translations of English requests as face-threatening acts into Persian. International Journal of Education & Social Sciences, 1 (4), 1-22.

Zamani, M. (2013).Persian translation of directive and expressive speech acts in Death of a Salesman, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Mourning Becomes Electra(Master’s Thesis).Sheikhbahaee University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.