[abstract] in recent years, more and more scholars have made researches on metaphor and an “upsurge of metaphor” has been formed gradually in modern society. the studies on metaphor in foreign countries have developed a complete system, which is typically represented by george lakeoff and mark johnson. and the studies on metaphor in china are also influenced by the two. however, if surveying these research achievements, we will easily find that few of them study the translation of metaphor from english into chinese. moreover, most traditional theorists believe that metaphor is only a figure of speech and belongs to the category of linguistics. but in fact, metaphor is not only a linguistic phenomenon, but also a cultural and cognitive phenomenon. this thesis breaks these restrictions and try to research into the translation of metaphor from english into chinese from the perspective of cultural differences between chinese and english. the whole thesis is divided into five parts. the first part is an introduction. based on the new belief that metaphor is a cultural and cognitive phenomenon, this part states the significance of studying metaphor from the cultural perspective. the second part focuses on the analysis of the close interrelations between language, culture and translation. the third part introduces some major factors about metaphor, such as its definitions, characteristics and classification. the fourth part emphatically illustrates the approaches to the translation of metaphor from english into chinese in terms of different corresponding relations between chinese and english. the last part summarizes the main points of this thesis.
[key words] metaphor; translation; cultural differences; cultural connotations; corresponding relation
【摘 要】 近年来，愈来愈多的学者对隐喻停止了研究，在现代社会逐步构成了一股“隐喻热”。WWW.relunwen.cOm对隐喻的研究在国外已构成较为完全的体系，个中以george lakeoff 和mark johnson的研究最具有代表性。国际对隐喻的研究也重要受这两小我的影响。而纵不雅这些研究成果，我们不难发明，很少有对英语隐喻汉译的研究，并且大年夜多半传统的实际家认为隐喻仅仅是一种修辞格，属于说话学的范畴。然则现实上，隐喻不只是一种说话景象，也是一种文明景象、认知景象。本论文克服了这些局限，试图从中英文明差别的角度来研究英语隐喻的汉译。整篇论文分为五个部分。第一部分是导入。该部分容身于认为隐喻是一种文明和认知景象这一新不雅点，说清楚明了从文明角度对隐喻停止研究的意义。第二部分重点分析了说话、文明与翻译之间的密切关系。第三部分简介了隐喻的一些要素，如隐喻的定义，特点及分类。第四部分根据不合的英汉对应关系，侧重阐述了英语隐喻的汉译办法。最后一部分总结了此论文的一些要点。
on seeing the title of this thesis, the reader may easily find out three key words: translation, metaphor, and cultural differences. in the view of most people, metaphor belongs to the category of language, but as we know that language has very close connection with translation and culture. as professor wang zuoliang, a master of translation, pointed out, translation involves language as well as culture. translation is not merely a task of replacing one language with another, but also needs to have a good command of the two different cultures represented by the two different languages. when we concentrate on translation studies, we should attach great importance to both language and culture.
over the past two decades, translation studies have assumed a sound momentum of advancement, and culture, as an indispensable factor in translation, becomes increasingly important. through thorough analysis, we can find that there are two tendencies in today’s development of translation studies: firstly, translation studies have been more and more integrated with communication theories; secondly, the focus of translation has been shifted from linguistic transfer to cultural transfer. based on these two tendencies, many scholars engaged in translation studies agree with the idea that translation is an act of intercultural communication.
since translation involves two languages and two cultures, and in different cultural backgrounds, there are different languages. both chinese and english are great peoples with long history and rich cultural resources, and naturally colorful languages. metaphor, as a category of language, is a common linguistic phenomenon in both chinese and english, but metaphors in these two different cultural backgrounds have great differences.
metaphor doesn’t exist on the birth of human. with the advancement of human civilization, the linguistic competence of our ancestors had been greatly strengthened. they gradually acquired the capability to express their ideas through association. in this way, metaphor——one of the most important means of expression in human language came into being. as the foundation of mankind’s conceptual system, metaphor is the common feature of human language. if there is no metaphor in our language, it will be very hard for us to clearly and vividly express our ideas, let along smooth and successful communication. traditional theorists viewed metaphor simply as an important stylistic device of the poetic imagination and rhetorical flourish, moreover a matter of words rather than thought or action, but in fact, “metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but also in thought and action.” our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. just as i.a.richards contends, “all language and thought are metaphorical, and metaphor is the ‘omnipresent principle of language’.”
from the importance of metaphor, we can see that translation of metaphor has great significance to the cultural translation. peter newmark has stated in approaches to translation that metaphor is at the center of all problems of translation theory, semantics and linguistics. especially in english, there are a great number of metaphors. it had been said that three-quarters of the english language consists of metaphors. in order to master english and successfully complete the task of translation from english into chinese, successful translation of english metaphor is essential. therefore, in this paper, the author attempts to discuss the problem of translation of metaphor from english into chinese from the cultural perspective in detail.
as far as translation theory is concerned, this paper adopts eugene a.nida’s functional theory, i.e. “functional equivalence”: the response of the receptors to the translated message=the response of the original receptors to the message when it was given in its original setting.from this point, we know that for truly successful translation, biculturalism is as important as bilingualism, and even more important at times.
2. culture and translation
“what is culture?” is a very difficult question, because culture is such a complex conception and an enormous subject that it is extremely hard for people to give an exact definition to it. one of the oldest and most quoted definitions of culture was formulated by the english anthropologist sir edward burnett tylor in primitive cultures (1871). “he defined culture as ‘a complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society’.”
although culture is very complicated, we can roughly classify it into three categories in scope: (a) material culture which refers to all the products of manufacture;(b) instituted culture which refers to social system, religious system, ritual system, educated system and kinship system etc;(c) mental culture which refers to people’s mentalities and behaviors, their beliefs, perceptions, concepts of value, thought patterns etc,
in the view of most anthropologists, culture possesses the following features: (a) culture is socially acquired instead of biologically transmitted; (b) culture is shared among the members of a community instead of being unique to an individual; (c) culture is symbolic. language is the most typical symbolic system within culture; (d) culture is integrated. each aspect of culture is tied in with the other aspects.
since language symbolizes and reflects culture, language communication is actually a kind of cultural communication and the communication between different languages is indeed communication between different cultures. from this perspective, the translation of language is essentially the translation of culture, and translation studies should be conducted in the context of culture. in the next section, the author is going to discuss the interrelations between language, culture and translation.
2.2 language, culture and translation
nobody will suspect the close interrelations between language and culture. a language may be a small but indispensable part of a culture. the relation between language and culture is mutually cause and effect. they penetrate into each other and cannot exist without each other. culture embraces and influences language. in the process of communication, the meaning of language is usually determined by its cultural context. on the other side, language is the important constituent of culture and it is also an essential tool for the reservation, communication and reflection of culture.  in a sense, language carries culture, mirrors culture, spreads culture and helps develop culture. it is no exaggeration to say that language is the life blood of culture and culture is the track along which language forms and develops.
just because of the close relation between language and culture, we have to pay attention to the cultural context when we research into language. according to linguistics, the origin of human language is always connected with the origin of human and human society. therefore, if we need to understand certain language and the laws of its development, we must closely relate it to the history of social development of this language and to the people using it and its history. the existence of culture cannot depart with its certain cultural context.
as for the relation between culture and translation, the author has mentioned above. translation is, in essence, an act of intercultural communication, and the translation of language is the translation of culture. nida holds that both language and culture are symbolic systems, and translation is the interaction between these two systems. thus, in translation we should not only focus on the literal meaning of words or sentences, but also pay special attention to their cultural connotations in certain cultural context. therefore, translation studies at least contain two types: in narrow sense it is literal translation, which aims at turning the content in one language into another; in broad sense it is cultural translation, which explores in turning the cultural connotation in one language into another cultural form.
so far as now, the author has illustrated the intimate interrelations between language, culture and translation. and among the relations between individual constituent of linguistic system and social development, the most direct one is lexicon. it is because that lexicon is most sensitive to the development of society. and metaphor, as the minor system of lexicon，is most deeply affected by social culture. as discussed in introduction, metaphor is the common feature of human language and the foundation of mankind’s conceptual system. so when we do translation studies, metaphor is necessarily enlisted in our consideration. although metaphor differs greatly, the acceptance of metaphor from an alien culture is possible, because human beings all live in the earth, and they share more or less similar living environment and similar feelings and sentiments. however, the acceptance of metaphor is usually incomplete, because it is limited by the diversity of culture. as we know, different nations have different culture, and in different cultural context, metaphor is surely different. what’s more thinking itself is metaphorical and metaphorical concepts constitute people’s values and thought patterns. therefore, how to deal with metaphor in translation is a pragmatic problem in translation studies. in the following chapter, the author is going to first introduce metaphor thoroughly.
3.1 definition of metaphor
“the word ‘metaphor’ derives from the greek word ‘metaphora’, which means ‘transference, carrying over’. it is a very common figure of speech in english.” metaphor, whose basic constituents are tenor, vehicle and ground, uses words to indicate something different from their literal meaning-----one thing is described in terms of another so as to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.
on the definition of metaphor, different scholars and academic works give their different opinions. next the author is going to list some of them:
(a) a figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily and primarily used of one thing is applied to another. (webster’s new world dictionary)
(b) a figure of speech in which one thing is described in terms of another. the basic figure in poetry. a comparison is usually implicit; whereas in simile it is explicit. (a dictionary of literal terms)
(c) the use of one reference to a group of things that are related in a particular way in order to discover a similar relation in another group. (i.a.richards, 1936: 89-90, the philosophy of rhetoric)
(d)the figure of speech in which a name or descriptive term is transferred to some object different from, but analogous to, that to which it is properly applicable; an instance of this, a metaphorical expression. (oxford english dictionary, second edition, 2002)
(e) a textbook of translation (peter newmark, 1988:104) defines metaphor as follows: “by metaphor, i mean any figurative expression: the transferred sense of a physical word; the personification of an abstraction; the application of a word or collocation to what it does not literally denote, i.e., to describe one thing in terms of another. all polysemous words (a ‘heavy’ heart) and most english phrasal verbs are potentially metaphorical. metaphors may be ‘single’-viz. one- word——or ‘extended’ (a collocation, an idiom, a sentence, a proverb, an allegory, a complete imaginative text)”
(f)a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in “a sea of troubles” or “ all the world’s a stage”(shakespeare) (the american heritage of the english language, fourth edition,2000)
(g)a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “a mighty fortress in our god”. (random house compact unabridged dictionary, special second edition, 1996)
each of the above-quoted definitions points out more or less the essence of metaphor. the common feature of these definitions is that all of them think that metaphor is a figure of speech, containing an implicit comparison. among the seven definitions of metaphor, the first is very concise; the second makes a contrast between simile and metaphor to point out the fundamental difference between these two rhetorical devices; the third points out that in metaphor, the tenor and the vehicle are related through their similarity in a particular way; the fourth is abstract for it provides no concrete examples to help the reader better understand the notion it intends to convey; the fifth seems to be the most comprehensive and the most specific of the above-quoted definitions as it includes several ways of manifestations which all belong to metaphor; the sixth is somewhat clear with two examples provided; the last one is quite similar with the first one.
but this thesis is mainly based on the view of george lakeoff and mark johnson. “they claim in metaphors we live by, ‘…… metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action.’ they point out, ‘our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.’” this point of view is very consistent with i.a.richards’ “metaphor is omnipresent principle of language” mentioned in introduction.
3.2 characteristics of metaphor
from the seven definitions on metaphor above and according to our knowledge of metaphor, we may conclude that metaphor possesses at least the following four characteristics:
(a) unlike simile, metaphor doesn’t contain such linking words as “as” and “like”, so the comparison is implicit rather than explicit.
(b) in a metaphor, the tenor is compared to the vehicle because they share an abstract quality, which functions as a tie connecting the two together. in other words, the tenor and the vehicle possess a similar abstract feature or quality, which serves as the basis of their comparison.
(c) the tenor and vehicle are by nature different from each other, though they possess something abstract in common on which their comparison is based.
(d) the vehicle in a metaphor creates a specific image, which is usually vivid and impressive. by comparing the tenor to the vehicle, we not only get a concrete image of the tenor but also make its typical quality or feature stand out.
to sum up, the author would rather believe that metaphor is not just a matter of language, a figure of speech, which implies a resemblance between one object and another, but a cognitive mode from the perspective of cognitive linguistics, which helps people understand the world.
so far as now, this thesis has thoroughly illustrated some major factors of metaphor. in the next part, the author will pay special attention to discuss the translation of metaphor from english to chinese from the perspective of cultural differences between chinese and english.
4. translation of metaphor from english into chinese from the perspective of cultural differences between chinese and english
4.1 cultural translation of metaphor
as we have discussed above, metaphor is not only a matter of words, but also a kind of cognitive mode. thus, it is not enough to explore the translatability of metaphor only from the perspective of linguistics, but also from other perspectives. “culture is the most important one of them in that in metaphors, the semantic ingredients restricted by context can stimulate readers to associate others, especially certain major definitional ones, which can shape an image in readers’ mind, then make the imparted information more clear and vivid.” while image and culture are closely linked. therefore, it is necessary for us to discuss the translatability of metaphor from the cultural perspective.
whether a metaphor is “translatable” (i.e. whether literal translation could create identical dimensions), how difficult it is to translate, how it can be translated and whether it should be translated at all cannot be decided by a set of abstract rules, but must depend on the structure and function of the particular metaphor within the text concerned. the translatability of any given source language metaphor depends on two factors: one is particular cultural experiences and semantic association exploited by it; the other is the extent to which these can, or cannot, be reproduced non-anomalously in target language, depending on the degree of “overlap” in each particular case. let’s look at an example:
(1) “don’t be scared, chickens!” came her voice with teasing gaiety.
in this example, “chickens” should not be literally translated into “小鸡” in chinese, because in western culture, “chicken” is often used to refer to a cowardly and fearful person. thus, “怯弱如鼠” is a better translation.
4.1.1 management of cultural factors in translating english metaphors
english metaphors contain abundant and vivid cultural connotation of the nation and strongly reflect the cultural characteristics of the nation with english as its native language. the key of successful translation of english metaphors lies in the extent to which the translator understands the cultural context and the translation of the cultural features. thus, the translator should try to master the source and cultural context of english metaphors as much as possible, which is very necessary to exactly understand their connotations and the cultural characteristics they reflect. then the translator can use proper methods to translate these connotations and characteristics in order to achieve the most faithful and perfect translation.
as to translation standard and approach, in foreign countries, there are nida’s “formal correspondence” and “functional equivalence”, and c.f.newmark’s “semantic translation” and “communicational translation”; in china, there exists “direct translation” and “indirect translation”. although they are different standards, all of them do not conflict with each other but complement with each other. therefore, there are many approaches to translating metaphors. while in the process of translating metaphors, which approach is the best choice? it will depend on the nature and position of metaphors in text, on the relation between metaphor and context and on the type of the text itself.
above all, during the process of translation of metaphors, the translator should try to flexibly keep the cultural features while translating meaning. as a result of cultural similarities and differences, the target language and the source language have different corresponding relations: sometimes full-corresponding, sometimes semi-corresponding, and sometimes non-corresponding. such a phenomenon will further affect the accuracy of translation. in fact, any translation may bring about the loss of meaning and/or image. therefore, we should adopt different complemental methods in order to achieve what nida called “functional equivalence”.
4.1.2 cultural connotation of metaphor
“both nida and newmark classify linguistic culture into five categories:(a) ecology (b) material culture (c) social culture (d) religious culture (e) linguistic culture.” it clearly tells us that: cultural information carried by all kinds of languages is certain to be different, because the ecology, material, social and religious environment which different nations own are impossible to be identical. the cultural differences directly influence the thinking mode and value orientation of human being, thus become the main reason for the differences of metaphorical concepts of the two nations. through researches on metaphors, we can find the cultural differences between chinese and english.
firstly, metaphors reflect geological and natural conditions of a nation. different nations have different geological environment and national circumstances, and this difference often finds expression in metaphors. for example (2), when describing the emergence of a large amount of new objects, chinese always say “雨后春笋般地”, while in english people usually say “grow like mushrooms” (像蘑菇普通). from this example, we can find that for the same phenomenon, chinese and english use different images to describe. the reason just lies in the different environment of the two nations：china abounds with bamboo shoots, while the english speaking countries with mushrooms.
different climates also play a very important role in the use of metaphor. in the eye of chinese, summer is an uncomfortable season when the blazing sun bakes the earth all the time but sometimes it suddenly rains heavily without any notice. so when seeing the metaphor “shall i compare thee to a summer’s day? thou are more lovely and more temperate.” in shakespeare’s 18th sonnet to praise his friend, most chinese may feel confused. it is very hard for us to connect the summer with a good friend. at this time, we need to make researches on the climate of britain. britain lies in the northern temperate zone and is near to the atlantic ocean, so it has an oceanic climate and its summer is warm but never hot. in the mind of english, the summer is the most pleasant season to live in, which forms sharp contrast with the continental climate decided by the location of china. therefore, there is no doubt that the same wind triggers different associations in chinese and english.
besides climate, terrain and species of animals and plants, distribution of mineral deposits is an important factor for us to consider in terms of geological conditions. the ancient poem “问君能有若干好多愁，好似一江春水向东流” reflects china’s terrain is high in the west and low in the east; and the english idiom “carry coals to newcastle” (近乎做白费无功的事) arises from the background that newcastle is an industrial city in england’s northeast, famous for coal exportation.
secondly, metaphors reflect traditional culture and values. people in different nations have different ways of life, thinking, culture and mentalities. as shown above, metaphor and culture have close relations. through metaphor, people can well understand the objective world. and metaphor, to some extent, reflects and determines the shaping of a nation’s culture and values. it is because that when people make metaphors on certain images, their views of culture and values must be manifested in these metaphors consciously or unconsciously. for example, in chinese culture the pine, the bamboo and the plum are called three gentlemen in winter. because the three of them can survive the extremely cold winter and remain vital. for chinese, they represent a noble spirit. while in english culture, they are just three common plants and cannot give people any association.
people in chinese and english culture have different understanding of color. for example (3), “red” is the kind of color chinese admire and has the meaning of luck, success, faithfulness and wealth, etc. this phenomenon can be explained from the angle of culture. in chinese culture, chinese special admiration for red originates from people’s worship and desire for the sun in ancient times. and our forebears’ attachment for the red sunshine is native. therefore the positive meaning represented by red naturally comes into being. for example, in ancient times, the house, the clothes, and the carts the influential officials lived in , wore and sat in were respectively called “朱门”, “朱衣”, “朱轩”.in modern times, people use “分红” to refer to the profits distributed to the business cooperators. on the contrary, in english culture, red is a negative word. because red is also the color of blood, and in the mind of english, blood is the liquid of life, once one bleeds, the flower of life will soon wither. therefore, they often associate “red” with “violence” and “danger”. then there are “the red rules of tooth and claw”, “red revenge”, “a red battle”, “red hand” etc. all of these expressions show that red is a kind of unlucky color in english culture.
besides, because of traditional cultural differences, metaphors on love in chinese and english are entirely different. for example (4), in both chinese and english, there is a metaphorical concept——“love is a journey”(爱情是路程). then english say “we cannot turn back now”; in chinese, there is a similar expression: “我们再也回不去了”《十八春》（张爱玲）. however, the connotations of these two expressions are completely opposite. in the former, love is compared to journey metaphorically, which means that lovers must overcome the difficulties in the love journey together, otherwise they cannot maintain their love. what the expression emphasizes is the determination that lovers strive shoulder by shoulder. while in the latter, the expression implies the speaker’s confusion. though the lovers regret for their departing love, they cannot go back like before any more.
thirdly, some metaphors have historical and cultural backgrounds. in both chinese and english, there are many expressions implying rich historical and cultural backgrounds and produce various associations. for example (5), in chinese, we say “说曹操，曹操就到”, “声东击西”, “东施效颦”, “卧薪尝胆”, “负荆请罪”, “四面楚歌”. each of these allusions and idioms contains a great deal of historical and cultural information. while english say “meet one’s waterloo” (惨遭掉败), “ that’s all greek to me” (一窍不通). the story of “meet one’s waterloo” can be tracked back to june8, 1815, when the allied forces of britain and germany crushed napolean’s troops in waterloo, south of belgium. later, this expression can be used to describe any situation when one encounters a total defeat.
english historical allusions mostly originated from greek myth. for example (6), as long as we say “银河”, “银河”, we will associate the folk story about that the altair and the vega meet on over this gutter. while english will call “the milky way”, which comes from the greek myth. it refers to both the road formed by the dripping milk when queen hera fed hercules, a warrior with great strength, and a milky road from the human world into the palace in the universe.
fourthly, metaphors give expression to people’s way of living. researches on the connotative meanings of animals in chinese and english cultures also reveal the impact of metaphor on people’s living. for example (7), in chinese, we often encounter such expressions like “像老黄牛一样干活”, “气壮如牛”, “鞭打快牛” etc. while if expressing the same meaning, english will say “work like a horse”, “as strong as a horse”, “flog a willing horse”. why chinese and english use two different images? it is because that usually chinese use cattle to plow, while english horses. cattle and horses respectively become the good helper of chinese and english in farming, so there are usages about them above. and since horses in ancient china are mainly used for riding and war, the associative meaning of horse in chinese is that it can be ridden and it runs fast, which gives rise to the expression like “立时”, “马到成功” and “一马当先”.
fifthly, metaphors reflect people’s religious beliefs. religion is an important source of metaphorical expression. as christianity is the main spiritual support of westerners and is critical for the formation of english culture, it has penetrated every aspect of english social life, including the english language. and it is manifested most obviously in english metaphors. in fact, “most english metaphors come from religious beliefs and fairy stories. many characters and events of the bible make up a large part of english words with unique connotations, and many images of this kind are widely used in metaphors.”
e.g. (8) the two-party system is the apple of the capitalists’ eye, so far as maintaining their political control of the workers is concerned.
in this sentence, the metaphor “the apple of the eye” (掌上明珠) comes from the old testament of the bible, “he kept him as the apple of his eye.”(保护他好像保护眼中的瞳人). in ancient times, people noticed that pupil in eyes was just like an apple, so they called pupil as “apple of the eye”. as pupil is a very precious part in human body, “apple of the eye” is also used to refer to the person or thing most liked.
besides, expressions, such as noah’s ark, olive branch, paradise, forbidden fruit, adam’s apple and a juda, also have rich metaphorical meanings.
instead of christianity, most of chinese people believe in confucianism and taoism. like those in english, expressions related to chinese religious beliefs find their way to metaphors such as “临时抱佛脚”, “道高一尺，魔高一丈”, “改过自新，顿时成佛”, “做一天和尚，撞一天钟”, “不看僧面看佛面” and “借花献佛”. after repeated use, the metaphorical meanings of these expressions have already overstepped their literal meaning as religious words.
4.2 corresponding relations and approaches to the translation of english metaphors
as we know, every nation has its own unique social and cultural backgrounds. there exists great cultural differences between nations, especially in modern times, thanks to the development of advanced and convenient means of communication and transportation, the inter-cultural communication becomes more and more frequent. meanwhile, because people in different nations must have some similar experience to some extent, the cultural overlap cannot be avoided under this condition.
as shown above, language, especially metaphor has close relation with culture. metaphor widely exists in both chinese and english, and typically represents the rich and unique culture of each nation, while the fact that different nations often have different ways of making metaphors poses problems for translators. in the last section, also the most important section, based on a large number of convincing examples and from the angle of cultural analysis, the author is going to discuss the corresponding relations between chinese and english metaphors, and offer several approaches to the translation of metaphor from english into chinese.
(i) full- corresponding relation
so-called full-corresponding is, in fact, such a kind of relation that the object and the image of a metaphor are fully corresponding in chinese and english. the reason why there is full-corresponding relation in chinese and english is the cultural overlap we have mentioned above. although different countries have different cultures, traditions and ways of thinking, we still have a lot in common in using metaphor, because we human beings live in the same material world. as mammals, human beings’ basic living necessities and activities, regardless of their races, are fundamentally the same, or tend to be the same. people from different cultures also share much identical understanding of the nature. our living environment, such as ecological environment and climate change, as well as our own bodies provide us with the possibility to have same understanding of the outside world and ourselves. at the same time, the common cognitive experience enables people to have basically same mentality to accept metaphors that are fresh to them.
under the condition of full-corresponding relation, there are two approaches to the translation of this kind of metaphor:
(a) literal translation-----reproducing the same image in the target language provided that the image has comparable frequency and currency in the appropriate register. that’s to say, through literal translation, the image in source language is entirely retained and the information and effect brought about by the image also can be achieved in target language. “the advantage of literal translation is to enable the readers of the target language to be exposed to and gradually accept the cultural feature of the source language.” for the translation of one-word metaphors, this approach is most useful.
e.g. (9) a ray of hope 一线欲望
(10) chain reaction 连锁反响
(11) the white terror 白色恐怖
(12) cold winds 冷言冷语
while for the complex metaphors with a high degree of cultural overlap, this approach is also feasible.
e.g. (13) to go through fire and water 历尽艰险
(14) to head a wolf into the house 引狼入室
(15) to give somebody green light 给或人开绿灯
also some sentences with metaphors are translated by this approach.
e.g. (16) life is a journey .人生是一种旅途。
(17) all the world’s a stage. (shakespeare) 全部世界是个舞台。
(18) the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. it is its natural manure.
（b）translation of metaphor by simile, retaining the image. as a matter of fact, metaphor is condensed simile. aristotle believed that simile derives from metaphor and pointed out that simile is a kind of metaphor. they are identical in essence. this approach can be used when target language is not emotive in character. under this condition, this way can modify the shock of a metaphor.
e.g. (19) a thunder of applause 雷鸣般的掌声
(20) a lion at home, a mouse abroad 在家如狮,在外如鼠
(21) love and cough cannot be hid. 爱情像咳嗽一样是掩盖不了的。
(22) a good surgeon must have an eagle’s eye, a lion’s heart and a lady’s hand.
the contents above are about the approach to the translation of metaphor under the condition of full-corresponding relation. however, cultural overlap doesn’t often occur. in most cases, due to the differences in history, geological conditions, ways of life, traditions and habits, english and chinese people don’t always have identical thinking, understanding, views and opinions on the same object. therefore, not many full-corresponding relations can be found, and more metaphors in chinese and english have semi-corresponding and non-corresponding relations.
(ii) semi-corresponding relation 
in both chinese and english, we often come across that different words are used for the same metaphorical meaning and many metaphors have the same metaphorical meaning but different literal meaning (images are different). “metaphors of this kind only partly convey the corresponding cultural features of their equivalents, so the relations of these metaphorical equivalents are called semi-corresponding relations.” the reason why semi-corresponding relations happen is because people from different cultures have different associations of the same or different images. in view of this, there are two approaches to translation of metaphor of this kind.
(a) substitution of the image in source language with a standard target language image. when the image in source language cannot convey the real meaning in target language, even clashes with target language culture, this approach is adaptable. at this time, we should try to understand both the superficial structure and the deep connotation of the metaphor in source language at first, and then fully display them by a proper image in target language that has similar metaphorical meaning.
e.g.(23) birds of a feather 全无分别
(24) lame duck 落第的议员
(25) swan song 最后的言行；最后的作品
(26) better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion. 宁为鸡头, 勿为牛后
(27) every life has its roses and thorns. 人生有苦有乐
(28) money makes the mare go. 有钱能使鬼推磨
(b) reproducing metaphor with simile (or metaphor) plus sense or note. as a result of social and cultural factors, sometimes in translation of metaphor from english into chinese, although the image in source language is retained, it is still hard for chinese readers to understand because the image is of obvious cultural features of english nation or implies certain historical events or character allusions. meanwhile, in translating some english metaphors, whose connotations may be lost if through direct translation, we cannot find equivalents in chinese. for metaphors of this type, especially for a number of names of people and places with cultural connotations, we usually adopt this approach to translation.
e.g. (29) the plan, which seems so promising, turned out to be a pandora’s box.
（30）the die is cast. 骰子一出, 大年夜局已定。
(31 ) a little pot is soon hot. 壶小易热, 量小易怒。
(iii) non- corresponding relation
as chinese and english have their own unique culture, many metaphorical concepts only exist in either chinese or english. in addition, there are metaphors that may have similar literal meanings, but their metaphorical meanings are totally different. metaphors of this kind have non-corresponding relations and we should adopt the following two approaches to the translation of these metaphors:
(a) conversion of metaphor to sense. for certain metaphors, the degree of correspondence between source language and target language is very low. under this condition, we should take connotation as the first and image as the second. that’s to say, in translation of metaphors, sometimes we have to change the image in source language in order to correctly express the connotations. under this condition, the approach of conversion of metaphor to sense can be applied.
e.g. (32) the heel of achilles 致命的弱点
(33) love me, love my dog. 爱屋及乌
(34) homer sometimes nods. 智者千虑，必有一掉
(35) i supported him from the egg to the apples though he once told me off.
(b) deletion. just from the literal meaning of “deletion”, we know that through this approach, the metaphor is deleted in translation. if a metaphor can find no metaphorical equivalent in chinese, and after a thorough analysis of the text, we find it is redundant and its function has been fulfilled in other parts of the text, we can choose to directly delete it. through this approach, the original aesthetic value may be lost and the force of infection in source language may be lessened. of course, sometimes it is inevitable. but the translation can complement the loss brought about by deletion of images through other means. the four-word idioms in chinese often can play this role.
e.g. (36) the ship is plowing the sea. 船在披荆斩棘。
(37) by the winter of 1942 their resistance to the nazi terror had become only a shadow. (winston churchill)
(38) i have a dream that one day even the state of mississippi, a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. (martin luther king, jr. i have a dream)
in example (38), the mississippi is compared to a desert which forms a sharp contrast with oasis. however, in the translation, the desert is not translated, but replaced by “悲凉的” to express the speaker’s intention. in doing so, the translation can avoid misunderstanding that mississippi is a real desert state.
based on the belief that metaphor is not only a linguistic phenomenon, but also a cognitive mode, the main idea of the thesis is to talk about the translation of metaphors from english into chinese from the perspective of cultural differences between chinese and english. for this purpose, the body of this thesis is divided into three parts. the first part, the author mainly analyzes the interrelation between language, culture and translation. the second part introduces some major factors related to metaphor, including definition, characteristics and classification. the third part, also the most important part of this thesis, thoroughly illustrates the translation of metaphors from english into chinese from the perspective of cultural differences, including cultural connotation of metaphors and approaches to translation of english metaphors in terms of the corresponding relations.
as metaphor has rich cultural connotations, in order to achieve successful translation of english metaphors, a translator should cultivate and continually enhance his own cultural awareness. this requires a translator to have both bilingual competence and bicultural or even multi-cultural knowledge in order to adapt to effective communication in different cultural context. the author hopes the six approaches to translation of english metaphors will be helpful. they are: literal translation, reproducing the same image in the target language; translation of metaphor by simile, retaining the image; substitution of the image in the source language with a standard target language image; reproducing metaphor with simile (or metaphor) plus sense or note; conversion of metaphor to sense; and deletion.
of course, there must be many improper places and immature views in this thesis. the author sincerely wishes for individual reader’s criticism and correction.
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