The Translation of Metaphors in the Holy Qur’ān: An Investigation of Chapters Eighteen to Thirty

Document Type : Original Research


Department of English, Marvdasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Marvdasht, Iran


Metaphor, as a rhetorical device, is mostly culture-specific and plays a vital role in some texts. In some sacred texts such as the Holy Qur’ān, the form and meaning are inseparable, and hence, translating metaphors can be challenging. This study aimed to demonstrate the translation of metaphors in the Holy Qur’ān and to identify the strategies applied in the translation of Qur’ānic metaphors. To this end, Chapters 18 to 30 of the Holy Qur’ān, which included thirteen chapters, were selected and analyzed for metaphorical expressions along with their English translations by three celebrated native translators: Arberry (1964), Irving (1985), and Pickthall (1954). These chapters contained forty samples of metaphor, which were analyzed using six celebrated commentaries to find their literal and metaphorical meanings. The translations were then compared to the source text. The procedures suggested by Newmark (1988b) were used to find the strategies used by the translators. The results revealed that among the proposed procedures, five procedures were applied in the translation of the Qur’ānic metaphors. The most dominant procedures were the first and fifth procedures (reproducing the same image in the target language and converting the metaphor to sense, respectively); whereas, the remaining procedures were only used in two or three cases. It was also revealed that in most of the cases, the translators preferred to preserve the form of the original texts.


Main Subjects

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