Original Metaphors and Their Translation
The preservation of original metaphors in imaginative prose is obligatory as they belong to the main features of a writer’s individual style. If for some linguistic reason (different valency, different semantic structure, etc.) the original metaphor cannot be preserved, resort is taken to stylistic replacements or compensation either by substituting another image or by using another stylistic device, e.g.
And Might by limping Sway disabled. (Shakespeare Sonnet 66)
И мощь в плену у немощи беззубой. (пер. С.Маршака)
The metaphoric epithets “limping” and беззубый are formally not identical semantic units but as they have a common seme denoting a physical defect, stylistically they may be regarded as equivalents.
The sun would pour through the shutters, tiger-striping the table and floor…
Сонце сяяло крізь ставні, і стіл і підлога були схожі на тигрову шкіру.
The metaphor is rendered by a simile.
An original metaphor has sometimes to be substituted for grammatical reasons, for instance, the category of gender may be a case in point.
Can’t think how he married that glass of sour milk. (W.Deeping).
Не можу собі уявити, як він міг одружитися з цієючашкою кислого молока.
The Ukrainian noun стакан is masculine and must in this case be substituted by a feminine noun чашка.
A trite metaphor is sometimes revived by adding to it a new image expressed by one or more words.
He was a rich vein of information, and I mined him assiduously. (G.Durrell).
Він був невичерпним джерелом інформації, і я невтомно черпав з нього.
Sometimes the difficulty of rendering metaphors in translation is due to the fact that the metaphor is based on some phraseological unit which has no equivalent in Ukrainian.
Never before had Lucy met that negative silence in its full perfection, in its full cruelty. Her own edges began to curl up sympathy. (J. Tey).
Ніколи ще Люсі не зіштовхувалась з такою абсолютною мовчанкою, настільки характерною для англійців і настільки немилосердною; в ній самій почало кипіти обурення.
The metaphor in this example “her own edges began to curl up in sympathy” is linked up with two phraseological unities:
1. to be on edge – to be excited or irritable; 2. to set person’s teeth on edge – jar his nerves, affect him with repulsion (The Concise Oxford Dictionary). The semes in this case are reshuffled, the referential meaning of the word “edge” is revived, and the meaning of the two phraseological unities (to be irritable, to have one’s nerves jarred) is present. This interaction of two meanings is perceived as deliberate interplay.
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