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A Cognitive Approach To The Translation Of Culturally-loaded Words

Posted on:2008-11-19Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:M WuFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360245466780Subject:English Language and Literature
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Meaning should be the main preoccupation of all translation. The explanation of meaning has followed two diametrically different directions: objectivism and subjectivism. Objectivism treats meaning as static, or compositional, while subjectivism lays emphasis on the indeterminacy of meaning, even to the denial of the existence of definite meaning of a text. The two extreme views divorced from human cognition contribute little to translation studies. In cognitive linguistics, meaning is conceptualization and related to experience or knowledge stored in the human mind. Translation is a cognitive process that involves the interaction among language, culture, and cognition. Therefore studying translation from the perspective of cognition, especially cognitive linguistics, will throw more light on the translation process.How to deal with cultural factors is a hard nut to crack in translation. The translation of culturally-loaded words in particular presents a special problem, for culturally-loaded words presuppose a large portion of a nation's culture. Traditionally and conventionally formed, they reflect the ecological, material, social, conceptual, or linguistic culture of a nation. To translate culturally-loaded words, a translator has to face the problems of zero of equivalent word, conflict of word meaning, and the same image with different metaphorical meanings. The theories of frame semantics and metaphor provide a new theoretical perspective for viewing and solving these problems.A frame is described as a coherent region of human knowledge, or of conceptual space. A word is just a profiled part functioning both as a trigger to activate and as an anchor to stabilize the cognitive frame on which meaning in language relies heavily for its generation. Therefore, the task of translation is to find in the target language the linguistic expression which helps to activate the cognitive frame identical or similar to that in the source language. Some so-called equivalents in TL of culturally-loaded words in SL can hardly activate the corresponding cognitive frames in the TL readers' minds but rather produce frame-to-frame and element-to-element conflicts. A translator needs to explicate some elements in a frame to help readers to understand its meaning or to find a strategy to produce a harmonious translation.Most culturally-loaded words carry metaphorical features. Metaphors can never be avoided in the translation of culturally-loaded words. Metaphor involves a mapping relationship between a source domain, the source of the literal meaning of the metaphorical expression, and a target domain, the domain of the experience actually described by the metaphor. The mapping relationship is grounded on experiences, and as people in different cultures have different experiences, metaphor often has culture-specific features. Making an analysis of culturally-loaded words with or without a corresponding metaphorical mapping helps a translator to find a proper approach to translating them.
Keywords/Search Tags:culturally-loaded words, cognition, frame, metaphor, translation
PDF Full Text Request
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