With Associate Professor Siri Fürst Skogmo, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
This project investigates metaphor in learner translations, to explore both the real and perceived translatability of metaphor. Metaphor has traditionally been considered difficult to translate, and much previous work has focused on the translatability of metaphor and top-down development of guidelines for metaphor translation (see e.g. Philip, forthcoming). By contrast, our study is situated in the field of Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS), investigating what translations actually are rather than what they “should” be (Toury, 1995). Our research goals in the first phase of this project are two-fold. First, we follow the DTS approach by producing an empirical description of the various strategies learners apply to L1-L2 translation. Second, we explore learner perceptions concerning their perceived challenges and motivations for translation choices.
Our informants consist of Norwegian L1 students enrolled in English courses at Norwegian universities: that is, L1 Norwegian to L2 English translation. We identify and categorize their individual translations of metaphors from a single Norwegian source text (ST) specifically designed for this study, thereby providing comparative descriptions of multiple translated texts (TTs) derived from the same ST. We crafted our ST text to mirror the genre of newspaper horoscopes, and in this way to ensure a natural context for metaphors with varying degrees of L1-L2 transparency, sometimes necessitating creative solutions.
Metaphors are identified using the Metaphor Identification Procedure Vrije Universitet for English and its Scandinavian version for Norwegian (Nacey et al., forthcoming; Steen et al., 2010). Our first research aim is achieved through categorization of all identified TT metaphors following a taxonomy adapted from Toury (1995). Although oriented mainly towards metaphors in the ST, this taxonomy also allows us to identify “new” metaphors with no obvious source. To address our second research aim, we observe and analyze classroom discussion concerning translation challenges and solutions, subsequent to the students’ independent translation and submission of their TTs.
The data for this project is here. (Subject to update)
Visualizations for this project are here. (Also subject to update)
Nacey, S., Greve, L., & Falck, M. J. (forthcoming). Linguistic metaphor identification in Scandinavian. In S. Nacey, A. G. Dorst, T. Krennmayr, & W. G. Reijnierse (Eds.), Metaphor identification in multiple languages: MIPVU around the world. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Philip, G. (forthcoming). Metaphorical reasoning in comprehension and translation. In A. M. Piquer-Piriz & R. Alejo (Eds.), Metaphor in foreign language instruction: Studies in honor of Fiona MacArthur. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Steen, G. J., Dorst, A. G., Herrmann, J. B., Kaal, A. A., Krennmayr, T., & Pasma, T. (2010). A method for linguistic metaphor identification: From MIP to MIPVU. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Toury, G. (1995). Descriptive translation studies– and beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.