Publication details [#4171]

Dobrzynska, Teresa. 1995. Translating metaphor: Problems of meaning. Journal of Pragmatics 24 (6) : 595–604. 10 pp.


Metaphor provides a case study for the problem of the interaction of participants in the communicative act. Metaphor can be defined as a linguistic sign used in the predicative function outside its normal usage as determined by the code. Metaphorical sense emerges through exploiting the set of associations that accompany linguistic elements in the consciousness of code users. This pragmatic material is a more amorphous complex than ordinary linguistic meaning. The sets of associations fixed in the consciousness of native speakers of a given language make metaphorical communication always extremely 'sensitive' to the communicative context. The interpretation of metaphors is strongly culturally conditioned. This is especially the case with translated metaphor. Adopting a metaphor to a new context a translator can choose among three possibilities: he or she can use an exact equivalent of the original metaphor; he or she can seek another metaphorical phrase which would express a similar sense; finally, he or she can replace an untranslatable metaphor of the original with its approximate literal paraphrase. In this paper the three strategies mentioned above are developed, and discussed in semantic, pragmatic and communicative terms. (Teresa Dobrzyska)