Publication details [#969]

Negro Alousque, Isabel. 2012. The translation of motivated idioms. Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca. 10 pp.
Publication type
Book – conference proceedings
Publication language


This paper contributes to the bulk of research devoted to idioms (e.g. Boers and Stengers 2008; González Rey 2002, inter alios) and more particularly, to the motivation behind idiomatic expressions in relation to translation. The analysis presented here draws on Dobrovol’skij and Piirainen (2005) who put forward two types of motivation, to wit, symbolic and iconic. On the one hand, symbolically-motivated idioms are grounded in cultural knowledge. On the other, iconically-motivated idioms rely either on conceptual metaphor and/or metonymy or on images. Negro focuses on different strategies employed to translate the two kinds of idioms presented above. She thus argues that symbolically-based idioms are rendered into the target language by means of a literal translation or a description (depending on the cultural specificity of the symbol). In turn, iconically-grounded idioms are rendered by a literal translation or a coined equivalent. In conclusion, the aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the type of underlying motivation has an influence on the strategy used to translate idiomatic expressions.