Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

The Issue of Metaphor in Literary Translation: Focusing on the Analysis of a Short Story Translation

Ocksue Park1
1Yeungnam University

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


This paper defines metaphor translation in literary texts translated into Korean. Specifically, it presents concepts related to metaphor translation such as ‘text types’ and ‘semantic/ communicative translation’ necessary for discovering how the issues of culture and metaphor are defined. Then it introduces a method of data analysis and seeks out an appropriate metaphor translation technique. The results of the analysis of five Korean translations of a short story by Poe show that the main feature of the metaphor translation into Korean in the data is the priority on the transfer of meaning rather than that of form. As for desirable translation of metaphor in high literature, a suitable method is to reproduce the image in the TT as closely as possible. Therefore, it is important for a metaphor to be retained in the translation. However a metaphor translation cannot be always identical to its ST. When the semantic translation cannot help TT readers understand the metaphor, the translator should try to find equivalence rather than identity. In other words, if metaphors cannot be translated by using metaphors, it can be done by focusing on communicative rendering and/or cross-cultural translation.

Keywords: metaphor; semantic translation; communicative translation; text types; cross-cultural translation



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