Translation and ‘similarity-creating metaphors’ in specialised languages

Pedro A. Fuertes Olivera and Isabel Pizarro Sánchez

This corpus-based research deals with the translation of metaphor in specialised texts. In these texts, metaphor is both a cognitive tool and aesthetic device. Some metaphors, particularly those which create a new similarity, seem to develop into technical terms, and this can cause translation problems. The study focuses on metaphors for ‘inflation’ in English economics texts, and their translation into Spanish. The translation strategies are analysed and their results assessed.

Table of contents

Past decades have witnessed a major development in applied linguistics. Different researchers have published on lexical components of scientific and technical discourse; for example, emphasising that scientific and technical discourse uses a lot of metaphors. As terminological phenomena metaphors have contributed to the development of recent approaches to terminology (Meyer et al. 1997; Cabré 1999; Temmerman 2000). Temmerman (2000),for example, has studied the impact of metaphorical models on categorisation and naming. In her view the cognitive approach to metaphor furnishes evidence supporting two important issues: (i) the lexicalisations which can be interpreted as resulting from metaphorical scenarios help to distinguish between creative and educational metaphor; (ii) in studying the vocabulary of a new discipline it makes sense to look for metaphorical scenarios and to see how the underlying Idealised Cognitive Models (ICMs) leave their traces in a number of lexicalisations. She is claiming, then, that the belief defended by traditional Terminology [ p. 44 ](Felber 1984; ISO TC 37) that “metaphor is only relevant as an aspect of language’s naming capacity” (2000: 163) is inadequate, since many terms are the result of understanding and naming on the basis of a “metaphoric Idealised Cognitive Model” (m-ICM)(Lak off 1987).

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