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Cogno Cultural Issues in Translation Metaphors

Cogno Cultural Issues in Translation Metaphors



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Published by: lixiaoxiu on Feb 19, 2009
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Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t794297831
Q. Al-Zoubi Mohammad
; N. Al-Ali Mohammed
; R. Al-Hasnawi Ali
Al al-Bayt University, Jordan
Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan
Ibri College, Sultanateof OmanOnline Publication Date: 31 January 2007
To cite this Article
Mohammad, Q. Al-Zoubi, Mohammed, N. Al-Ali and Ali, R. Al-Hasnawi(2007)'COGNO-CULTURAL ISSUES INTRANSLATING METAPHORS',Perspectives,14:3,230 — 239
To link to this Article: DOI:
Full terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdfThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
 Mohammad Q. Al-Zoubi, Al al-Bayt University, Jordan, Mohammed N. Al-Ali, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan,and Ali R. Al-Hasnawi, Ibri College, Sultanate of Oman
 Metaphor translation has been treated as part of the more general problem of ‘untranslatability’.This trend stems from the fact that metaphors in general are associated with ‘indirectness’, whichin turn contributes to the diculty of translation. Dierent theories and approaches have been
 proposed with regard to metaphor translation, each of which has tackled this problem from a dif- ferent point of view. In this paper, the writers argue in favor of a cogno-cultural framework for
metaphor translation based on the ‘Cognitive Translation Hypothesis’ (henceforth CTH) pro
- posed by Mandelblit (1995). Using authentic examples from English and Arabic along with theirtranslation, the paper discusses translation of metaphor with reference to culture, and ‘similar
mapping conditions’ as well as ‘dierent mapping conditions’ proposed by the cognitive approach.The core of this framework is based on the hypothesis that the more two cultures conceptualizeexperience in similar ways, the more the rst strategy, ‘similar mapping conditions’, applies – andthe easier the task of translation will be. Otherwise, the second strategy will apply and the taskwill be more dicult.
Key words
: Cognitive approach; metaphors and culture; metaphor translation.
1. Introduction
Regardless of its popularity and mechanism of operation, metaphor as a lin
guistic device exists in all human languages. The word ‘metaphor’ comes fromGreek
meaning ‘to transfer’ or to ‘carry over’. Reference to this uni
versal linguistic phenomenon can be found in the writings of classical Greek phi
losophers and rhetoricians as well as contemporary linguists (cf. Richards 1965,Leech 1969, Dagut 1976 and Maalej 2002). The earliest denition of metaphor– quoted from Aristotle’s
The Poetics
by Richards (1965: 89) – talks about ‘a shicarrying over a word from its normal use to a new one’. Under this quite broaddenition, all other instances of semantic extension (allegory, synecdoche, me
tonymy, etc.) might be categorized as being metaphoric. Whichever term is usedfor labeling these expressions, they all exhibit some kind of semantic and logi
cal violation to the referential components of their lexical constituents. Hencethey are studied as instances of gurative language (as opposite to literal usage)where words gain extra features besides their referential ones. As the meaningof these lexical constituents cannot be predicted from their referential meaning,translators will ‘suer’ twice when approaching these metaphoric expressions.First, they have to work out their gurative meaning intralingually (i.e. in thelanguage in which a metaphor is recorded). Second, equivalent meanings andsimilar functions of these expressions must be found in the TL.Studies of metaphor have been largely dedicated to issues such as the mean
ing, forms, components, typology, and role of metaphors as speech ornamentsand meaning-enhancement analogies. These studies deter from the explorationof the continuous connection of metaphors as mental representations or visu
alizations of the real world and the language used to realize these images in
0907-676X/06/03/230-10 $20.00Perspectives: Studies in Translatology© 2006 M.Q. Al-Zoubi, M.N. Al-Ali, A.R. Al-HasnawiVol. 14, No. 3, 2006
words. Despite the large amount of literature available on the literary aspectsof this linguistic phenomenon, very lile research has been done on the cog
no-cultural translation of metaphors. The present study intends to show howmetaphors reect cogno-cultural human experiences encoded by language as ameans of recording human experience and how culture models and constrainsthis cognition. In particular this paper is an argument in favor of a cognitiveapproach in the translation of metaphors, especially between culturally distinctlanguages, e.g. English and Arabic. The study of the metaphoric expressionsof a given culture would, hopefully, give us a chance to see how the membersof that culture structure or map their experience of the world and record it intheir native tongue. Since one of the basic assumptions is that culture inuencesmetaphor in an important way, the following section aempts to clarify howmetaphor is a product of culture. For a cognitive conceptualization of meta
phor, the present study draws on Mandelblit’s (1995) “Cognitive TranslationHypothesis” which is the subject of Section 3.
2. Cultural Conceptualization of Metaphor
According to Katan (1999), the word ‘culture’ comes from the Latin
‘cultivation’, and
to ‘till’. The metaphorical extension is apt. ‘Seeds con
tinually absorb elements from the land, or rather the ecosystem, to ensure their
development. In the same way, people continually absorb, unaware, vital ele
ments from their immediate environment which inuence their developmentwithin the human system’ (ibid. 17).One of the oldest denitions of culture, coined by Edward Burne Tylor in1871 and cited by, among others, the
Encyclopædia Britannica
(1983, vol. 4: 657),describes culture as ‘that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art,morals, law, customs, and other capabilities and habits acquired by man as amember of society’.The following section will illustrate how the metaphoric choices availableto a user are ltered by the value and belief systems prevailing in the culturalcommunity into which the text is translated. Following Lako & Johnson (1980:12) ‘a culture may be thought of as providing, among other things, a pool ofavailable metaphors for making sense of reality’, and ‘to live by a metaphoris to have your reality structured by that metaphor and to base your percep
tions and actions upon that structuring of reality’. This is related to the factthat people of a given culture use language to reect their aitudes toward theworld in general and the life of their community in particular. This in turn givesrise to our argument in favor of a cognitive approach to translating metaphors;one which takes into account cultural beliefs and values, which is especiallyimportant when dealing with culturally distinct speech communities such asthe Anglophone and the Arabic-speaking ones. To put it dierently, since dif
ferent cultures classify the world’s complexities in dierent ways, translationsfrom one language to another are oen very dicult, especially when tradi
tions, symbols, life conditions and methods of experience representation dier between the two cultures involved. For example, if you say “a man has a bighead” in English, it means “he is arrogant” whereas the similar expression inItalian means that he is clever.This also explains the ease of translating certain universal metaphors
 Al-Zoubi, Al-Ali & Al-Hasnawi. Cogno-Cultural Issues in Translating Metaphors.

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