Literary Translation in Persian Language Courses


Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi


March 16, 2024


Using translation in language teaching has been a controversial topic due to its associations with the dated grammar-translation method; however, I argue that current prevailing language teaching methodologies that are more in step with the times and inclusive of the linguistic and cognitive abilities of L2 learners—such as plurilingualism—call for using translation as a tool to facilitate L2 acquisition. In this talk, I will present the prevailing arguments for and against using translation in language pedagogy. I will then discuss how literary translation can be used in Persian language pedagogy, adopting a content-based and task-based approach to teaching. I will then present the guidelines of Persian literary translation as articulated by the leading scholars of the field. I will finish my talk by highlighting the significance of contrastive analysis of Persian and English in Persian language pedagogy and translation. Through using literary translation in Persian language courses, not only does the linguistic competence of L2 learners improve, but they will also be exposed to at least some samples of the Persian literary canon.


Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi is an Instructional Professor of Persian at the University of Chicago. She was awarded a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa in 2012 and an earlier one in Applied Linguistics from Tehran Azad University (2004). Her research focuses on second language acquisition and pedagogy, as well as psycholinguistics and Persian literary translation. She is the author of Processing Compound Verbs in Persian: A Psycholinguistic Approach to Complex Predicates (2014) and Translation Metacognitive Strategies (2009). In addition, she is the editor of The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy of Persian (2020) and co-editor of both The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics (2018) and The Routledge Handbook of Persian Literary Translation (2022). She has also published What the Persian Media Says (2014), as well as the three-volume series of Persian language textbooks published by Routledge, entitled, Persian is Sweet. Her forthcoming edited volumes are “The Art of Teaching Persian Literature: From Theory to Practice,” co-edited with Franklin Lewis and Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (Brill, expected in 2024), and “Persian Language Pedagogy: New Trends and Innovations,” co-edited with Azita H. Taleghani (Routledge, expected in 2025). She served as President of the American Association of Teachers of Persian (AATP) in 2018-2020.