AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 2. May 2023 Pp. 176-196
Cohesion and Coherence for Poetry Interpretation and Translation
Ahlam Ahmed Mohamed Othman
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, The British University in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt
Faculty of Humanities, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt
Received: 02/17/2023 Accepted: 05/17/2023 Published: 05/24/2023
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.
Keywords: Cohesion and coherence, poetry interpretation, poetry translation, textual analysis, translation quality assessment
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.
‘Abd al-Hadī, ‘A. (2018). The Prose Poem and Genre Apostrophe: A Study of Poetic Genre. Afar for Culture and Publishing.
Al-Qasimi, A. (2017). Coherence and Cohesion in Arabic Poetry Translation. Arab World English Journal, 8(2), 62-74.
Baker, M. (1992). In other words: A coursebook on translation. Routledge.
Bassnett, S. (2002). Translation studies (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Bloom, H. (2001). The Necessity of Misreading. The Georgia Review, 55(56), 69–87. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41402122.
Encyclopedia Britannica. (2017, June 16). Explanation. Available at https://www.britannica.com/topic/explanation
De Beaugrande, R., & Dressler, W. (1981). Introduction to Text Linguistics. Longman.
Eco, U. (1990). The Limits of Interpretation. Indiana University Press.
Eliot, T.S. (1920). The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. Methuen.
Fornaciari, S. (2018). Cohesion and coherence in poetry translation: A case study of Ted Hughes’s. “Crow.” International Journal of English Language and Translation Studies, 6(2), 77-88.
Gentzler, E. (1993). Contemporary Translation Theories. Routledge. Guzmán, A. M. (2016). Cohesion and coherence in the translation of poetry: A case study of Neruda’s “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.” Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 24(4), 574-590.
Herodotus. (1898). The Histories. (H. Cary, trans.). London: G. Bell & Sons.
Hoey, M. (1991). Patterns of lexis in text. Oxford University Press.
Iser, W. (1978) The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Jiang, X. (2019). Cohesion and coherence in the translation of classical Chinese poetry: A case study of “Ode to the Goose.” Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 5(3), 542-548.
Kocak, A. (2020). The Role of Coherence in the Translation of Poetry. Academic Journal of Modern Philology, 9(1), 1-8.
Lefevere, A. (1992). Translation, Rewriting, and the Manipulation of Literary Fame. Routledge.
Li, X. (2021). Cohesion and coherence in the translation of poetry: A case study of Li Bai’s “Jade Stairs Grievance.” Translation and Interpreting Studies, 16(2), 268-285.
Munday, E. O. (2012). The role of coherence in translation. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2(14), 126-132.
Pound, E. (1912) I gather the limbs of Osiris IX: On technique. The New Age 10(13), 297-9. The Modernist Journals Project.
Ryan, D. P. (ed.). (2015). A Shattered Visage Lies: Nineteenth Century Poetry Inspired by Ancient Egypt. (M. ‘Ananī Trans.) Rutherford Press. (Original work published 2007).
Steiner, G. (1984). The concept of coherence and its significance for text linguistics. Text, 4(4), 319- 347.
The Holy Bible. (n.d.). Genesis.
The Holy Qur’an. (n.d.).