6 March – Lettie Dorst

Translating Metaphor across Disciplines, Genres, Modalities

Although research in Translation Studies often mentions metaphor, it rarely includes the state of the art in Metaphor Studies – such as the use of reliable identification methods like MIPVU (Steen et al., 2010), the three-dimensional model of metaphor (Steen, 2008) or systematic attention to genre and register variation (Deignan et al., 2013). Both translation scholars and practitioners continue to treat metaphor as a linguistic phenomenon with a decorative function. As a result, discussions often remain restricted to the “translatability of metaphor” and “methods of metaphor translation” (Schäffner, 2017). Studies aim to determine “equivalent” linguistic expressions, or suggest standardized translation procedures for specific types of linguistic metaphor, such as Newmark’s (1988) procedures for “dead, stock, cliché, recent and original metaphors”.  In this presentation I will argue that such studies fail to consider genre restrictions, discourse patterns, rhetorical functions, and communicative effects. Using samples from a range of disciplines and genres – including novels, news texts, political speeches, legal contracts, movies, and songs – I aim to bring together the state of the art in Metaphor Studies with the state of the art in Translation Studies in order to offer new insights in metaphor translation across disciplines, genres and modalities. During the session we will engage in the evaluation of existing translations (English-Dutch), as well as try our hand at some on-the-spot translation. We will investigate the complex nature of metaphor translation from a multidisciplinary perspective and explore the possibility of devising a step-wise procedure for metaphor translation across genres and modalities.