AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 2. May 2023 Pp. 176-196

Cohesion and Coherence for Poetry Interpretation and Translation

Faculty of Arts and Humanities, The British University in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt
Faculty of Humanities, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt


The act of interpreting and translating poetry has always been a daunting task, given its condensed diction that has multiple layers of meaning. In poetry, cohesive ties, commonly used to stick linguistic units together, help convey the deep underlying sense, and the network of conceptual relations is so well interwoven, given the limited space that necessitates the use of condensed diction that affords multiple interpretations. This intricacy has led many a theorist to proclaim the untranslatability of poetry. The present study aims to find a reliable method for both interpreting the deep underlying sense of a poem and assessing the quality of its translation. Such a study is highly significant as it would help interpreters of poetry verify their subjective interpretation and provide translators with a reliable test to assess The quality of their translation. The research questions the researcher attempted to answer are: How could the deep underlying sense of a poem be verified? How would the quality of its translation be reliably assessed? To answer these questions, the researcher hypothesized that De Beaugrande’s and Dressler’s (1981) textual analysis of cohesion and coherence could provide such a reliable method. To test the hypothesis, three English poems were selected from Nineteenth Century Poetry Inspired by Ancient Egypt, edited by Donald P. Ryan (2007) and their Arabic translation by Mohamed ‘Ananī (2015). First, the cohesion and coherence of both source and target poems were analyzed to discover the deep underlying sense. Then, cohesion and coherence between source and target poems were assessed. The results of textual analysis have shown that cohesion and coherence could be used as a reliable method not only to unravel the deep underlying sense of poetry but also to assess the effectiveness of the translation in conveying it.

Cite as:

Othman, A. A.M. (2023). Cohesion and Coherence for Poetry Interpretation and Translation. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (2): 176-196.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no2.13


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Ahlam Ahmed Mohamed Othman is an associate professor of English Language and Literature at Faculty of Humanities, Al-Azhar University. She is currently the Head of English Language and Literature Department at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, The British University in Egypt. She is a member of the Egyptian Writer’s Union, a board member of the Egyptian Society of Comparative Literature and the Egyptian Circle of Comparative Poetics.
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3419-7281