Metaphoric proverbs in EFL learners’ translation
Metaphoric proverbs represent interesting cultural instances of conventional metaphors (Belkhir 2014, 2012). The ubiquity of metaphoric proverbs in language and the problems this phenomenon causes in translation is an issue that requires close attention. Translation aims at providing semantic equivalence between two languages. According to Vinay and Darbelnet (1995), equivalence constitutes the adequate method that should be used by translators when dealing with proverbs. However, no translator can provide perfect translation of a source text due to cultural specificities. The present paper offers a modest report of an experimental study conducted with a group of EFL students who have been taught translation as a subject in a higher education context (Mouloud Mammeri University). A set of English proverbs has been collected to build up the experiment that was administered to the subjects who were asked to translate them into Arabic, then into their first language, Kabyle. The question raised is whether these students are able to translate the proverbs appropriately. The study aims (1) to investigate translation strategies used by EFL learners; and (2) to show how leaners’ L1 (Kabyle) and L2 (Arabic) interfere in the translation of English proverbs. The results showed that the more the students were acquainted with proverbs, the more they used equivalence in their translation. Similarly, the lesser they were acquainted with proverbs, the more they used literal translation or paraphrase. In addition, some translations provided by the participants revealed the presence of language interference.
Keywords: translation, equivalence, metaphoric proverbs, language interference