Universitat Rovira i Virgili

PhD research

Esmaeil Haddadian Moghaddam

Agency in the translation and production of novels from English in modern Iran

Supervisors: John Milton, Ali Khazaee-Farid

Esmaeil Haddadian Moghaddam holds a BA in TESOL from Iran, an MA in English, and an MA in Social Anthropology, both from University College Dalarna, Sweden. He is a published translator and contributor to Motarjem (Iranian Journal of Translation). He held a predoctoral research grant at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Research summary

Drawing mainly on Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of field, capital, and disposition, and partially on two principles of the actor-network theory, this thesis aims at describing and examining agency in the translation and production of novels from English in modern Iran, taking translators and publishers as the main translation agents. The study poses three main questions: who decides what to translate, what motivates translators and publishers to translate and produce novels from English, and what constrains or enhances their agency. These questions are then put into a three-tier model of agency, using a multi-method approach of historical and archival studies, quantitative data on translation flow, and case studies in the form of interviews and participant observation. The findings, with implications for the fields of TS, Iranian Studies, and the publishing industry, show that translation agents have been able to voice their agency, despite the disempowering nature of political Iran, specifically under the cultural policies of the post-Revolution era. Moreover, Iranian translators perform just as important a role in selecting novels for translation as the publishers. The motivations of translation agents also range from social and cultural motives to more professionally oriented ones. Finally, various textual and contextual factors have constrained the translation agents' practice; nonetheless, they have historically used multiple coping strategies, such as going into exile and translating the classics, in order to maintain their position in the publishing field in modern Iran.

Thesis defended on 9 July 2012.

Conference presentations

"Translation agents and their network in the publishing field in post-Revolution Iran". Graduate Conference: New Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies. Tarragona, Universitat Rovira I Virgili. May 12-14, 2011.

"Found manuscripts, lost originals, and picaresque translation". Intratextual Voices in Translation: Concepts, Discourses and Practices/ La Traduction des voix intra-textuelles: concepts, discours et pratiques. Voice in Translation - Research Group: the University of Oslo. Paris: 14-15 March 2011. With Anthony Pym.

"Translations in the making": A case study of publishing field in post-Revolution Iran". The 6th International Postgraduate Conference in Translation and Interpreting (IPCITI), 29-31 October 2010, the University of Manchester.

"The social approach to research on translation and publishing in Iran". The First National Conference of Translation Studies in Iran. Birjand, Birjand University, Iran. 13-14 May, 2010.

"Free translation, rewriting or pseudotranslation: the interesting story of Zabihollah Mansuri". WALTIC: Writers and Literary Translators' International Congress, 29 June- 2 July 2008. Stockholm, Sweden.

"Weblog: a translation tool for literary translation". Strasbourg Seminars: Translation  Tools- Tools for the translator? 18-19 September 2008, Marc Bloch University, Strasbourg, France.

"Mirza Habib Ispahani, an early Iranian translator with a political skopos". The Third Asian Translation Traditions Conference, 22-24 October 2008. Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Publications

In English

2012. forthcoming. "Voice in the Persian Hajji Baba". In La traduction des voix intra-textuelles/Intratextual voices in translation (working titles). K. Taivalkoski and M. Suchet (eds). Special issue of Vita Traductiva. With Anthony Pym.

2012. "Agents and their networks in a publishing house in Iran"In Translation Research Projects 4. Anthony Pym and David Orrego Carmona (eds). Tarragona: Intercultural Studies Group.

2011. "Agency in the translation and production of The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan into Persian". Target: International Journal of Translation Studies23(2): 206-234.  

2011. "The weblog: a translation tool for literary translators".  Perspectives: Studies in Translatology. 1-9.

2008. "The Namesake in Persian: an online translation workshop". Babel 54 (2): 125- 144.

2008. "Book review: A companion to Translation Studies, Kuhiwczak, Piotr and Karin Littau, eds., 2007Translation Journal 12: 3.

In Persian

1390/2011. "Roykard ejtemaee dar tahghigh darbareyeh tarjomeh va nashr dar iran" [The social approach to translation and publishing in Iran]. Motarjem 19 (50-51): 91-101.

1388/2009. "Mokhatereh va tashrikeh masae dar ertebatateh beyne farhangi" [Risk and cooperation in intercultural studies: An interview with Anthony Pym].Motarjem 18(48): 131-139. English version.

1387/2008. "Shebhe tarjomehayeh Zabihollah Mansuri" [Zabihollah Mansuri's pseudotranslations]. Motarjem 18 (47): 80-88.

1381/2002. "Gozareshi az service tarjomeh comisyun tarjomeh orupa" [A report on EU's translation commission]. Motarjem 11 (37): 87-94.

1377/1998. "Onvan va tarjomeh an" [Title and its translation]. Motarjem 7 (26): 56-63.

Minor dissertation

Research design

Doctoral thesis