Fiction translation expectancy norms in Iran: a quantitative study of reception


  • Masood Khoshsaligheh Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
  • Mohsen Kafi Victoria University of Wellington
  • Saeed Ameri Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


Translation expectations, reception studies, fiction translation, Iranian readership


Ever since the sociological turn in Translation Studies, readership has become a major consideration for translation researchers. An array of studies has focused on the reception of translated texts by professional (i.e. critics) and ordinary readers. In line with this view of readership, the current study adopts a quantitative approach to investigate the expectations of ordinary Iranian readers as to the features of a favourably received translation of foreign fiction into Persian. The authors validated the self-constructed Fiction Translation Expectancy Norms Scaleand used it to elicit the opinions of a sample of 385 adult readers in Iran. Confirmatory factor analysis through structural equation modelling was employed to establish the construct validity of the results and empirically support a conceptual reclassification of the expectancy norms identified in an earlier study. The participants unanimously agreed that for a Persian translation of foreign fiction to be favourably received, it should be faithful to the author’s tone and writing style. While most of the participants preferred a foreignising approach for the translation of culture-bound elements in the source text (ST), immersion in the translated text was found to be the most important dimension of foreign fiction translation for our sample of Iranian readers. These findings raise some doubts about the applicability of Venuti’s model of foreignisation and domestication strategies to the literary translation scene in Iran.