An Analysis of Social Systems in the Translation of The Great Gatsby

Document Type: Research Paper


Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman


This article was written based on the key concept of polysystem theory which, in translating any literary text, emphasizes the transference of the social systems in which a text is embedded. As stated by Tynjanov (1978a), polysystem theory saw translated literature as a system operating in the larger social systems of the target text. Thus, the task of understanding as well as transferring such systems in their translations, which can certainly affect the readers’ adequate understanding of texts, is a challenging job for most of the literary translators. After identifying three main social systems in The Great Gatsby as the corpus which was ranked second in the lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century, the source and the target texts were studied attentively, to study the way the respective systems were translated by the Iranian literary translators. Therefore, the prominent element of Nord’s textual analysis (1991), macrostructure, was focused throughout data collection procedure. Then, it was demonstrated that especially through an appropriate transference of the major conflict between the two predominant classes in the novel, the translator has managed to suitably convey most of the text’s social systems in his translation. Finally, it could be deduced that most of the literary translators in Iran, somehow transferred the concerned systems into some significantly adequate equivalents in their works.


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