SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Practical Translation from and into Persian

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year
The course aims to enhance and structure students' practical skills in translation from, and into, Persian, as well as provide them with an intellectual perspective on the activity of translation. The emphasis is mainly on advanced translation skills from Persian into English. However, guidelines and practice for translating from English into Persian are also a major part of the syllabus. Students study a variety of texts including literary, fictional, journalistic and biographical prose.


An appropriate level of competence in Persian is required.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course a student should be able to translate texts (Persian and English) on a wide range of topics containing highly complex grammatical structures.

Scope and syllabus

Teaching is divided into lectures (one hour weekly) and seminars (two hours weekly) across 22 weeks. The lectures inform the students of general linguistic issues related to Persian and cover translation strategies and aspects of advanced grammar. In the seminar sessions, students focus on particular problems based on their own reading and attempts at translation of preset texts. More general topics relevant to their work are discussed.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination in May-June (60% of the final mark), and two pieces of coursework of 3500-4000 words each (each 20%), to be submitted on the first day after Reading Week of Term 2, and the first day of Week 2 of Term 3.

Suggested reading

Translation studies
  • Baker, Mona 1992, In Other Words: a coursebook on translation, London, Routledge
  • Eco, Umberto, 2003, Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • Ghanoonparvar, M.R. 2001, Translating the Garden, University of Texas Press
  • Hatim, B. & Mason, I. 1997, The Translator as Communicator, New York: Routledge
  • Lefevere, André. 1992. Translating Literature: Practice and Theory in a Comparative Literature Context. New York: Modern Language Association of America.
  • Lefevere, André. 1992a. Translation, Rewriting and the Manipulation of Literary Fame. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Motarjem: Iranian Journal of Translation
  • Riazi, A.M. & Assar, F. (2001) ‘A Text Analysis of Persian Newspaper Editorials’, Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities of Shiraz University, Vols. 31&32
  • Toury, Gideon (ed.) 1987, Translation Across Cultures, New Delhi: Bahri
  • Venuti, Lawrence 1992, (ed.) Rethinking Translation, London and New York: Routledge
  • Venuti, Lawrence, 1995, The Translator’s Invisibility, London and New York: Routledge
  • Venuti, Lawrence, 2000, (ed.) The Translation Studies Reader, London and New York: Routledge
  • Yarmohammadi, L. 1995 (ed.), ‘The Discoursal and Textual Structure of Khayam’s Poetry in FiitzGerald’s English Versification’ in Fifteen articles in contrastive linguistics and the structure of Persian: Grammar, text and Discourse, Tehran:Rahnama Publications
Specialised dictionaries
  • Aliqoli Amini, Farhang-e Avam, [Esfahan?, no date.]
    • Dastan-ha-ye Amsal, 2nd edition, Esfahan 1333.
  • Hooshang Amuzegar, A Dictionary of Common Persian and English Verbs (with Persian synonyms & examples), Payam Publishers, 1988
  • A & M Aryanpur, The Unabridged English - Persian Dictionary 5 Vols.
  • Turner (Colin), A thematic dictionary of modern Persian 2003
  • Jamalzade, Farhang-e Loghat-e Ammiyane, Tehran 1341
  • Mahshid Moshiri, Dictionnaire des Mots Européens en Persan, Alborz Publications, Tehran 1993
  • Riza Anzabi-Nezhad and Mansur Tharwat, Farhang-e Mo’asir, Tehran 1366.
  • Michael Hillmann, Persian Fiction Reader, Dunwoody Press, Maryland 1995
  • Michael Craig Hillmann with Ramin Sarraf. Persian Newspaper Reader
  • Hasan Kamshad, Modern Persian Prose Reader, Cambridge 1968
  • Windfuhr & Bostanbakhsh, Modern Persian - Intermediate Level, University of Michigan
Literary histories, background reading and selected translations
  • Abbas Aryanpur, Persian folk-songs / rendered into English verse by Abbas Aryanpur (Kashani) and Manoochehr Aryanpur (Kashani) ; Persian text collected by Parviz Niloofari, 1971
  • Iraj Bashiri, The Fiction of Sadeq Hedayat, Lexington 1984.Behbahani, A cup of sin : selected poems / Simin Behbahani ; edited and translated from the Persian by Farzaneh Milani and Kaveh Safa ; with introductory essays by the poet and an afterword by Kaveh Safeh, Syracuse University Press, 1999
  • Chelkowski, Staging a revolution : the art of persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran / Peter Chelkowski, Hamid Dabashi.Davis D. 1984, Farid-ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds, London, Penguin
  • Meisami, Julie Scott (1995) The Haft Paykar: A Medieval Persian Romance, Oxford OUP The World’s Classics Menashri David Education and the making of modern Iran, Cornell UP1992
    • Post-revolutionary politics in Iran : religion, society and power. London 2001
  • Ghomi H, The fragrance of the rose : the transmission of religion, culture, and tradition through the translation of Persian poetry, 1993
  • Tarraqi, (Goli) A mansion in the sky and other short stories / Goli Taraghi ; introduction and translation by Faridoun Farrokh, 2003
  • H. Kamshad, Modern Persian Prose Literature, Cambridge 1966.
  • M.R. Ghanunparvar, Prophets of Doom... , New York and London 1984.
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature, Dordrecht 1968.
  • Rypka's chapter on the 19th century (pp. 320-351) and Vera Kubickova's contribution 'Persian Literature of the 20th Century' (pp. 355-418).
  • M.R Ghanunparvar, In A Persian Mirror: Images of the West and Westerners in Iranian Fiction.
  • Homa Kat‚zian, Sadeq Hedayat: The Life and Legend of an Iranian Writer, London 1991
  • Farzaneh Milani, Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers, London & New York 1992
  • More Examples of Persian Fiction in English Translation: Behrangi, Samad The little Black fish and Other Modern Persian Short Stories, Washington 1976
  • Chuback, Sadeq. Sadeq Chuback, An Anthology, New York 1982
  • Daneshvar Simin. Daneshvar’s playhouse; A Collection of Stories, Washington 1989
  • Sutra. Washington 1994
  • Moayyad Heshmat (ed.) Stories From Iran, A Chicago Anthology 1921-1991, Washington 1991
  • Stories by Iranian Women since the Revolution, Austin, TX, 1991
  • A Walnut Sapling on Masih’s grave and Other Stories by Iranian Women, Portsmouth, NH: 1993
  • Shahrokh Meskoob. Iranian nationality and the Persian language /, foreword and interview with the author by Ali Banuazizi ; translated by Michael C. Hillmann ; edited by John R. Perry Imprint Washington, DC : Mage, 1992
  • Minoo S. Southgate. Modern Persian short stories. Washington, D.C. Three Continents Press, 1980
  • Gholam-Hossein Saedi Fear and trembling translated, and with an introduction and a bibliography, by Minoo Southgate Washington, D.C : Three Continents Press, c1984
Online resources 2013:


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