Publication details [#4948]

Gentzler, Edwin. 2000. Translating metaphor: Beyond the Western tradition. Philosophical Trends 11 : 3–22. 20 pp.


It is noted that, although traditional translation studies have generally neglected many aspects of the translation of metaphor, modern literary theorists, feminists, and postcolonial scholars have devoted increasing attention to the cultural configuration of metaphor and its translation. This development toward a culturally more inclusive view on the translation of metaphor is described and exemplified with translations of the word sun and related concepts (e.g., "light"). (1) Traditionally, literal translations have usually been proposed for metaphors (e.g., Nida, Eugene A., 1969), often resulting in the loss of cultural complexity associated with metaphor. (2) In poststructuralist literary theory and philosophy, the metaphoric potential to effectuate shifts of meaning by remarking seemingly impossible word combinations has been foregrounded (e.g., Derrida, Jacques, 1982). (3) In feminism and postcolonial studies, the ways in which metaphor is embedded in logocentric discourse are emphasized (e.g., Niranjana, Tejaswini, 1992); translation is viewed as a creative process in which the verbal situation and the metaphor's context rather than the strict semantic references are reproduced, resulting in an original text respecting the source text's cultural and potentially subversive elements. (S. Paul in LLBA 2001, vol. 35, n. 1)