Кандидат богословия, Тобольская Духовная Семинария
ON THE ISSUE OF TRANSLATION OF METAPHOR (WITH REFERENCE TO EVANGELICAL TEXTS)
In the paper author considers theoretical and practical aspects of translating metaphor with reference to evangelical concept “THE EYE IS THE LAMP OF THE BODY”. The aim of the first part of the paper is examining of theoretical approaches to the metaphor. The second part of the paper deals with the question about conditions of metaphor’s keeping in translation. In the third part of the paper author illustrates how these theoretical aspects of metaphor’s translation are realized in practice. Author proposes the resume, that neglecting of source form of metaphor for reader’s comfort is the worse way in translating.
Key words: Metaphor, Bible, translation.
Metaphor is the problem of theoretical and practical translation studies. The main difficulty in the process of metaphor translation is the present of differences in metaphorical systems of Source and Target languages. As the tool of showing of conceptual picture of the world, Metaphor is always based on the national mentality. So when we plan to translate it we can take account of the differences between concept-building in different languages. In the paper author considers theoretical and practical aspects of translating metaphor with reference to evangelical metaphor “THE EYE IS THE LAMP OF THE BODY”.
There are two main approaches to theoretical rethinking of the metaphor in contemporary investigates. Traditional linguistic considers metaphor as figure of speech at all. It means that metaphorical phrase can be transformed into non-metaphoric form without any loss of meaning. Cognitive linguistic is aware of role of the metaphor as the main tool of cognitive processes. In this case translation of metaphorical concept is the problem of semantic equivalence at first.
The classical approach to the metaphor applies three different way of its translating:
- Metaphor is not translatable (Dagut 1976:22)
- Metaphor can be translated as well as every other word (Mason 1982:149)
- Metaphor can be translated, but there are an inter-linguistic and inter-cultural limits for it (Newmark 1998: 58).
P.Newmark shows different ways to translate metaphorical figures: To preserve the same metaphor – to substitute it for other metaphor– to change it for comparison – to add an explanations – to translate metaphor by paraphrase.
The cognitive approach to the metaphor means that its translation is the inter-cultural process, so it is too hardly to translate the metaphor adequately. Therefore translation of metaphor, which based on cultural factors, can’t be examined as linguistic phenomenon. So for adequate translation of conceptual metaphor one must deeply know intercultural ties. However the practical rules of translation suggested by cognitive linguistics’ researchers are the same as traditional one. N. Mandelblit considers certain practical operations: To translate metaphor as comparison – to translate it by paraphrase – to explain sense of metaphor on notefood – remove it in translation (Mandelblit 1995: 488-493).
The question about conditions of metaphor’s keeping in translation is important too. The question of metaphor keeping in translation is linked with theoretical decisions about role of form of original text.
There are two trends in the theory of translation: The keeping of the form of original text (F. Schleiermacher, M. Heidegger, G. Steiner) and the neglecting of it. The first way considers that demetaphorization of original text in translation is the depletion of its initial expression. The second way shows that metaphor can and must be eliminate in translation in any convenient case. F. Schleiermacher suggests two way for overcoming language and cultural barriers: to bring the reader to understanding of foreign actual of original text, or to change the text for comfort of readers (Schleiermacher). For authors the act of translation is the “act of violence” for original. Readers don’t feel that they read texts of another culture. Replacement of metaphor brings us to depletion of original, and only keeping of the metaphor allows us to touch culture of original text (Venutti 1995:17-19).
Other theoreticians of translation believe that the aim of translation is to transfer the meaning of original without strong biding with its form. E. Nida designates two kinds of translation: formal equivalence, when translator follows the form of original; and functional equivalence, when translator’s aim is to bring the meaning of text closer to reader.
Neglect of the form of original is also the basis of popular theory of “the scopos” (K. Rise, H. Fermeer), which claims that the action is formed by its aim. Text don’t exist “per se” but it belongs to culture, so when we transfer text into another culture we change it inevitably. Translator must transform original text for cultural comfort of readers.
We would like to show how these theoretical aspects of metaphor’s translation are realized in practice by example of evangelical concept “THE EYES IS THE LAMP OF BODY”. As a stuff of research was used different kind of English translations of The Bible, such as: New King Jame’s Version (NKJV), Today’s English Version (TEV), New Living Translation (NLT), The Message (MSG), Easy-to-Read Version (ERV).
The metaphor “EYE IS THE LAMP OF BODY” is used by two evangelist in identical form:
The lamp of the body is the eye.
Lk. 11: 34 (NKJV)
The lamp of the body is the eye.
King James Version follows original text closely: “ho luhnos tou somatos estin ho oftalmos”. This is an example of classical metaphor. The connotation meaning of the lamp (luhnos) as the source of the light transfers to the eye (oftalmos). These denotations have no clear semantic context, so the recognition of metaphorical image is entrusted to the reader. From Nida’s opinion simple readers are not able to understand the meaning of the phrase, so the metaphor must be translated by comparison:
The eyes are like a lamp for the body.
Lk. 11: 34 (TEV)
Your eyes are like a lamp for the body.
The next example is the instance of keeping of metaphor in translation with some explanations inserted into the text:
Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body.
Lk. 11: 34 (NLT)
Υour eye is a lamp that provides light for your body.
Authors of NLT chose one of possible meaning of the metaphor and gave appropriate explanation for it. But hidden meanings of the metaphor remain without any attention and readers have no chance to get to know about it.
The next examples show how translators can impose chosen meaning on readers:
Your eyes are windows into your body.
Lk. 11: 34 (MSG)
Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body.
The only source of light for the body is the eye.
Lk. 11: 34 (ERV)
The only source of light for the body is the eye.
The form of original has no value in these translations. The aim of translators is to carry the message to the readers without leaving any place for free interpretation.
We show that there are varieties in the modes of translation transformations of metaphor, and we propose the resume, that neglecting of source form of metaphor for reader’s comfort is the worse way in translating. When metaphors are abolished, semantic power of original text is weaken. Researchers of XX century show it clearly that the metaphor can’t be boiled down to literal meaning without semantic losses. So the rejection of metaphor in translation is the depriving of cultural context and aesthetical power.
- Dagut, Michael. “Can metaphor be translated?” Babel, 32 (1976): 21-33.
- Mandelblit, Neli. “The Cognitive View of Metaphor and its Implications for Translation Theory”. Translation and Meaning. Part 3.Maastricht: Universitaire Press, 1995.
- Mason, Kirsten. “Metaphor and Translation”. Babel,28 (1982): 140-149.
- Newmark, Peter. Approaches to Translation.New York: Prentice Hall, 1998.
- Schleiermacher, Friedrich. Ueber die verschiedenen Methoden des Uebersezens. http://www.bible-researcher.com/schleiermacher.html
- Venuti, Lawrence. The translator’s invisibility: a history of translation.London: Routledge, 1995.
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