An-Najah University Journal for Research - B (Humanities)


The new rhetoric of modern poetry which is characterized by conciseness and ambiguity has set it different from other poetic movements in English which in turn has made it the central focus of many researchers and scholars leading many of them to write about the ‘distinction’ of this type of literature. This study tackles the translation issue of modern poetry in view of the idiosyncrasies of content and form. The study investigates the issue of foregrounding following Geoffrey Leech’s (1969) linguistic deviation theory with special focus on lexical, grammatical and semantic deviations with the assumption that the idiosyncrasies in the language of modern poetry are a result of the distrust modern writers demonstrate of the ability of language to convey meanings and the lack of communication that mars the modern reality of man. Through examining various excerpts of modern poetic texts, one could infer that some translators who were sensitive to the importance of these deviations opted for retaining them often by utilizing compensatory methods. This is mainly related to the fact that it is difficult to replicate the exact same idiosyncrasies, especially in a language that belongs to a different family and does not have much in common with English. Other translators, however, were heedless of the implications of these deviations and decided to change them, or to translate them in harmony with their readings and Arabic language structure and norms. Nonetheless, the researcher claims that there is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ translation; there is always a better translation or a translation that is closer to the source text. Each translation offers a different ‘reading’ of a translated text that is influenced by the translator’s metaphysics of presence and by his/her spatiotemporal realities. The study concludes that these deviations are essential in augmenting the meaning potential of texts and in obviating the fallacious notion of a ‘transcendental signified’ in addition to being a fundamental aspect in the formulation of a comprehensive reading of any modern poetic text. This results in making faithfulness in translating modern works imperative since any deviation from its modes of expression will blur the map of this forceful trend in the history of poetic evolution.