A corpus-based study of metaphor in translation

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This paper aims to report reflectively on a major interdisciplinary research project designed to investigate patterns of metaphor translation. The project is based on popular science texts and tracks metaphor in translation from English into French, German, Italian, Polish and Russian (with examples from Chinese and Spanish being added subsequently). The paper looks at questions of text selection and corpus design and considers some of the pitfalls that need to be avoided in these areas by researchers embarking on a similar project. Other methodological issues are also covered. At each step the choices that researchers – and in particular those at an early stage in their careers – who are undertaking an investigation into metaphor in translation are faced with will be discussed explicitly with a view to offering some guidance. Research into metaphor in translation can take on a wide range of different forms. In the project in question the approach taken is exclusively text-based and concentrates on a) identifying a number of parameters derived from metaphor research according to which it is possible to classify metaphorical expressions and b) examining what procedures are used by translators to render them into the target language, what changes these bring about on the micro-level and what effect, if any, the changes that occur have on the overall macro-level ‘shape’ of the target text.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmpirical translation studies
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Methodologies Explored
EditorsMeng Ji
Place of PublicationSheffield
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781781793329
ISBN (Print)9781781790496
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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