Componential Analysis of Equivalents in Multimodal Translation: A Study of English and Persian Descriptions of Historical Objects in Iranian Museum Captions

Razieh Shivaei1,, Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi1,
Author Information & Copyright
Corresponding Author : Razieh Shivaei, English Department, University of Isfahan Hezar Jarib Ave. Isfahan, Iran. phone: 00983117932111; Email:, Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi, English Department, University of Isfahan Hezar Jarib Ave. Isfahan, Iran. Phone: 00983117932111; Email:

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Dec , 2010; Revised: Dec , 2010; Accepted: Jan , 2011

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


Translating the descriptions of museum objects, as a sort of multimodal translation, is now widely used in Iran. English as an international language is the target language of this type of translation which introduces historical and ancient objects to tourists. Although there are many experts of museum affairs in Iran, the significant task of translation in museums lacks language competence on the part of the native translators. In addition, this type of translation requires congruity among all museums, for in many cases the names of the same objects are translated differently in different museums. This research was thus aimed at examining the accuracy of English translations of the Persian texts written for historical objects, and suggesting a unified method for this type of translation. The necessary data were initially gathered through photographing 524 historical and ancient objects from 7 main museums in Iran. Then, the information related to the names, raw materials and types of decoration of objects, in both languages (Persian and English), were selected and their meaning components were analysed. The semantic features of both Persian and English terms and their relevant synonyms were then compared and contrasted. Finally, the English terms with the highest degree of correspondence in terms of meaning were specified as the most pertinent equivalents. The findings of the study will be offered to museums as a consistent list of Persian and English equivalents of different names, kinds of materials and types of decoration of objects. This, it is hoped, will remove inconsistency in the translations of museum items at the national level.

Keywords: multimodal translation; componential analysis; semantic feature; museum; accuracy; equivalent



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