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origen  origins

The term metaphor was introduced into English from Middle French métaphore, and this from Latin metaphora, in turn taken from Greek metaphorá, which in a literal sense means “transfer, carry across”. The origin of the term is thereof in itself metaphorical; moreover, metaphorá also meant “translation”. Both concepts, “metaphor” and “translation”, have a common etymology and a parallel history in the Western tradition (Guldin 2016).


origen  other names

The term metaphor covers a semantic field close to and partly coinciding with analogy. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a metaphor is “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them”, while and analogy is “a comparison of two otherwise unlike things based on resemblance of a particular aspect”. In this entry we will use the term metaphor, as it is more general, although we will do so from a cognitive perspective that brings us close to the notion of analogy. 


resumen  abstract

In most Western European languages, terms that denote translation are metaphorical in origin, and the use of metaphor is ubiquitous in discourses about translation and interpreting. According to the conceptual theory of metaphor, these metaphorical expressions are based on conceptual metaphors that allow us to organize complex, ill-defined experiential domains by importing cognitive structures from other domains that are more accessible to bodily experience. Research on metaphors of translation and interpreting addresses how these domains have been conceptualized through multiple metaphors of diverse origins.

Classical rhetoric, in general, considered metaphor an ornament of discourse that could be retranslated into literal language. Cognitive approaches, by contrast, define it as a cognitive structure that allows us to organize our experience. In the second half of the 20th century, the study of metaphor began to be approached from a cognitive perspective that had been anticipated by Nietzsche almost a century earlier. The conceptual theory of metaphor, developed in the 1980s, is the most explicit formulation of the idea that metaphor is ubiquitous not only in our language, but also in our thinking. Conceptual metaphors are described as sets of mappings between domains of experience that make it possible to provide conceptual structure to domains that are inaccessible to the senses or difficult to structure.

The theoretical shift that took place in metaphor theory was also echoed in the studies on metaphors about translation and interpreting. This entry presents different cognitive approaches to metaphor, in particular, the conceptual theory of Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999), and sketches the development of metatheoretical approaches to metaphors about translation and interpreting since the 1970s.


ficha   record

autor Celia Martín de León
fecha de publicación 2022
referencia (cómo citar) Martín de León, Celia. 2022. "Metaphors of translation" @ ENTI (Encyclopedia of translation & interpreting). AIETI.
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