Audiovisual Translation Avt
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What is audiovisual translation. Audiovisual translation is defined as the translation of recorded audiovisual material (Karamitroglou, 2000, p. 2). The concept of recordedness underlines the fact that there is a difference between the translation of recorded film products and the simultaneous subtitling or revoicing which should be regarded as a type of interpretation (Karamitroglou, 2000). AVT is also known as 'screen translation' or 'film translation'. Screen translation stresses on the location of the medium where the translation product appears (e.g., TV, cinema or video screen). On this basis, the translation of websites which can be viewed on computer monitors is considered as a type of screen translation. Film translation, on the other hand, is a restricted term due to some researchers who limit the term 'film' to full-length feature films; namely, movies and sometimes only cinema movies. According to this view, the concept of film does not include series, sports programs and documentaries. In AVT, the audio and visual aspects of communication are focused (Karamitroglou, 2000). Unlike books, radio, telephone or sign language which only use one semiotic channel, audiovisual communication benefits simultaneously from both the acoustic channel through air vibrations and the visual channel through light waves (Delabastita, 1989).
1.2. Translation theory and AVT
The consideration of AVT as a subfield of translation Studies may lead to raise a number of questions. O'shea (1996) distinguishes between AVT and (written) literary translation as the main objective of general translation theory because of a set of limitations which root in the audio-visual nature of the target and original products. These limitations can be considered as: a) temporal constraints in revoicing, b) spatiotemporal constraints in subtitling, c) the accompanying visual source-culture elements in both revoicing and subtitling, d) the accompanying aural source-language elements in subtitling, e) the lip-sync imperative in dubbing, f) the cross semiotic nature of subtitling, and g) the inability of backtracking (with the exception of video) in both subtitling and revoicing (p. 240).
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These parameters may result in the consideration of audiovisual translation as 'adaptation' rather than translation (Delabastita, 1989). What makes translation vs. adaptation a problematic issue is not merely a property of audiovisual translation; in fact, quite a few translated or adapted texts have raised the same issue within the field of literary translation (Delabastita, 1989). What plays a pivotal role in this case is the attitude we choose in defining the term 'translation'. Considering Toury's definition of translation as "any target-language utterance which is presented or regarded as such within the target culture, on whatever grounds" (1985, p. 20), we can freely include AVT as a part of translation studies.
Karamitroglou (2000) presents the following set of reasons to emphasize on the inclusion of AVT as a part of translation studies:
a) Audiovisual translation has more in common with written translation than one might primarily assume (Whitman-Linsen, 1992:103). Most audiovisual translations at the present time are performed with a written form of the original source text in hand (cf. Remael, 1995:128), sometimes even without any further access to the film product itself.
b) Typological studies in audiovisual translation have previously managed to present the various audiovisual language transfer methods within the general frame of translation studies and along with the other 'traditional' language transfer methods, in a coherent and scientific way, on the basis of the multiplicity of the semiotic channels involved and the relative time of presentation of the source and target products (Gottlieb, 1994b:271; Gottlieb, 1998:246; cf. Delabastita, 1989:199). Other studies in audiovisual translation have revealed connections between certain audiovisual language transfer methods and established concepts from general translation theory, as for example with subtitling and 'overt translation' (Ascheid, 1997:35).
c) Audiovisual translation was born out of the same drive that conducted literary translation: the necessity to overcome the communication barriers imposed by linguistic fragmentation (Luyken et al., 1991:3).
d) Just as "it is the discovery of the hierarchy of factors (constraints, parameters) which operate in translation processes, procedures and products which constitutes a major task for translation theory" (Even-Zohar & Toury, 1981:ix), the discovery of a similar chain of the factors that function within audiovisual translation is also the task of audiovisual translation theory. (p. 11)
1.3. Branches of AVT
A quite number of various taxonomies have been made for AVT among which the one prepared by Luyken et al. (1991) is known as the most outstanding. His suggested subfields for AVT are as follow: a) lip-sync dubbing, b) voice-over/narration, and c) free-commentary. (p. 40)
Gambier (1994) also presents the following audiovisual language transfer methods: a) subtitling, b) simultaneous subtitling, c) dubbing, d) interpreting (pre-recorded and consecutive), e) voice-over, f) narration, g) commentary, h) multilingual broadcast, i) surtitles and supratitles/supertitles, and j) simultaneous translation. (p. 277)
Subtitling can be defined as "the translation of the spoken (or written) source text of an audiovisual product into a written target text which is added onto the images of the original product, usually at the bottom of the screen" (Gottlieb, 1994a; Gottlieb, 1998: Luyken et al., 1991; Delabastita, 1989; qtd. by Karamitroglou, 2000, p. 5). It can be both 'intralingual' (or vertical), when the target language and the source language are the same, and 'interlingual' (or diagonal), when the target language and the source language are different (Gottlieb, 1994; Gottlieb, 1998; qtd. by Karamitroglo, 2000).
Subtitles can be 'open', when the target text constitutes a physical part of the translated film and is transmitted in addition to the film sound and image, or 'closed', when the target text is stored in a digital/teletext format which is transmitted in - as well as accessed via - a separately coded channel at the discretion of the viewers" (Luyken et al., 1991; Gottlieb, 1998; qtd. by Karamitroglou, 2000).
Subtitles are different from 'displays' which are 'fragments of text recorded by camera - letters, newspapers, headlines, banners etc.' (Gottlieb, 1994a; qtd. by Karamitroglou, 2000) or 'captions' (or 'toptitles') which are pieces of "textual information usually inserted by the programme maker to identify names, places or dates relevant to the story line" (Luyken et al., 1991; cf. Gottlieb, 1994a; qtd. by Karamitroglou, 2000, p. 5).
In this thesis, subtitling refers to interlingual open subtitling which does not include displays or captions.
1.5. The concept of metaphor
Metaphor is a trope based on which one thing is spoken of as if it is another thing. It is the permanent feature of language. The ability to understand and produce metaphor is the characteristic of mature linguistic competence so that metaphors are used in intelligence test or to evaluate creativity. Metaphor is basically used to state the experiences and concepts that literal language does not seem to be sufficient for their expression. Therefore, it happens to increase the range of articulation in language. Metaphor can refer to a novel and at the same time amazing use in language (e.g., He slept off the fumes of vanity). I van also refer to the frequently-used terms in the form of conventional metaphors (e.g., 'I see" as 'I understand'); or completely known dead metaphors (e.g., to grasp a concept). "Whether occupied with metaphors novel or commonplace, theorists of language and of cognition have come to recognize that no understanding of language and linguistic capacities is complete without an adequate account of metaphor" (Asher, R. E., 1994, p. 2452).
1.6. Purpose of metaphor
The most important rhetorical function of metaphor is to stimulate imagination, to arose feelings and to prompt action (Elliot, 1984). Metaphors are applied to beautify the ordinary language and to increase the effect of language use. Moreover, they express our intended concept in a more subtle way. In this case, metaphors highlight a particular feature of a phenomenon while leaving out other aspects in a way that we look at the phenomenon in hand form a certain angle. For example, in 'Life is a stage' we merely look at life as a stage regardless of its other features like sorrow, pain and the like.
Newmark (1981) believes that the main and one serious purpose of metaphor is to describe an entity, event or quality more comprehensively and concisely and in a more complex way than is possible by using literal language. The process is initially emotive, since by referring to one object in terms of another ('a wooden face', 'starry-eyed'), one appears to be telling a lie; original metaphors are often dramatic and shocking in effect, and , since they establish points of similarity between one object and another without explicitly stating what these resemblances are, they appear to be imprecise if not inaccurate, since they have indeterminate and undeterminable frontiers. (p. 84)
Newmark (1981) states that I have never seen this purpose of metaphor stated in any textbook, dictionary or encyclopedia. The issue is clouded by the idea of metaphor as an ornament, as a figure of speech, or trope, as the process of implying a resemblance between one object and another, as a poetic device. Further linguists assume that scientific or technological texts will contain mainly literal language, illustrated by an occasional simile(a more cautious form of metaphor), whilst the purpose of metaphor is merely to live up other types of text, to make them more colourful, dramatic and witty, notoriously in journalism. All emotive expression depends on metaphor, being mainly figurative language tempered by psychological terms. If metaphor is used for the purpose of colouring language (rather than sharpening it in order to describe the life of the world or the mind more accurately), it cannot be taken all that seriously. ( p. 84)
1.7. Definition of metaphor
The term 'metaphor' roots in the Greek word 'metaphora' which includes two parts: meta meaning 'over' and pherein meaning 'to carry'. "It refers to a particular set of linguistic processes whereby aspects of one object are 'carried over' or transferred to another object, so that the second object is spoken of as if it were the first" (Terence Hawkes, 1972, p. 1).
The earliest definition of metaphor had been presented by Aristotle's The Poetics- quoted by I. A. Richards (1965) as "a shift carrying over a word from its normal use to a new one" (p. 89). As it can be viewed, this definition is so broad that can contain other figures of speech such as allegory, synecdoche, metonymy and the like. Most dictionaries refer to metaphor as a way of expressing something through the establishment of a comparison between that thing and another thing and without using the words 'like' or 'as'. The Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD) defines metaphor as "the application of a name or a descriptive term or a phrase to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable (e.g., 'a glaring error', and 'food for thought')". The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines the metaphor as "a way of describing something by comparing it to something else that has similar qualities without using the words 'like' or 'as' (e.g., 'the sunshine of her smile')".
In brief, metaphor as a figure of speech belongs to rhetoric. It helps us to use a word, which denotes a certain meaning, figuratively to refer to another meaning. This is basically done through a likeness or analogy between two things.
Other definitions of metaphor taken from the Purdue University's OWL (1995) include:
- The act of giving a thing a name that belongs to something else.
- The transferring of things and words from their proper significance to an improper similitude for the sake of beauty' necessity, polish, or emphasis.
- A device for seeing something in terms of something else.
- Understanding and experiencing one thing in terms of another.
- A simile contracted to its smallest dimensions.
1.8. Structure of metaphors
In the view of I. A. Rechards (1936; qtd. in Wikipedia), metaphor has two parts: the tenor and vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are assigned. The vehicle is the subject from which the attributes are borrowed. Other writers use the general terms ground and figure to denote what Richards identified as the tenor and vehicle. In 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players', the phrases 'the world' and 'men and women' are respectively tenor and vehicle.
Larson (1998) believes that metaphor is a figure of speech which is based on a comparison. Accordingly, he states that metaphor is a grammatical form which presents two propositions in its semantic structure. Each proposition includes a topic and a comment about that topic. In 'John is tall', John is topic and is tall is comment. Translating a metaphor is highly dependent on analyzing that metaphor and discovering the two propositions in its semantic structure. The relation between two propositions is comparison which can be detected in the comments of two propositions. Comments may be alike or identical. In 'John is a beam pole', the two propositions in the semantic structure can be discussed as follow:
1. John is tall
2. A beam pole is tall.
Here, the topic of the first propositions compared with the topic of the second. Comments are identical. The topic in the second propositions often called image. The point of similarity exists in the comments. Therefore, metaphor has four parts (see Beekman and Callow 1974 for more discussion):
Topic: the topic of the first proposition (nonfigurative), i.e., the thing really being talked about.
Image: the topic of the second proposition (figurative), i.e., what it is being compared with.
Point of similarity: found in the comments of the both of the propositions involved or the comment of the EVENT proposition which has the image as the topic.
Nonfigurative equivalent: when the proposition containing the topic is an EVENT proposition, the COMMENT is the nonfigurative equivalent.
According to the above-mentioned points, the propositions in 'The moon is blood' are as follows:
1. The moon is red.
2. The blood is red.
An analysis on these propositions can lead us to the following results:
Point of similarity: red
In 'The righteous judge will give you the crown of life', the metaphor includes a sentence which is encoding an event proposition. Hence, four parts should be discovered here:
1. (The officials) give (the victorious athlete) a crown.
2. (God), who judges righteously, will give you (eternal life).
Topic: God who judges righteously
Point of similarity: receive a reward for doing well
Nonfigurative meaning: will give you eternal life
What looks helpful in analyzing metaphors is to write down the propositions which make a vital role in the comparison. It includes topic, image, point of similarity and nonfigurative meaning (in case of Event Propositions). In fact, an adequate translation is only possible when the above points have been clearly discovered.
Besides the up-coming view, Newmark (1981) has also considered the following parts in the structure of a metaphor:
a) Object - that is, the item which is explained by the metaphor (Refered to by Beekman and Callow (1974) as 'topic').
b) Image - that is, the item in terms of which the object is explained (Richard's 'vehicle').
c) Sense - that is, Richard's 'tenor', Beekman and Callow's 'point of similarity', which illustrates in what particular aspects the object and the image are similar.
d) Metaphor - the word(s) taken from the image.
e) Metonym - a one-word image which places the object, which may later turn into a dead metaphor, e.g. the 'fin' of a motor cycle. In many cases, a metonym is 'figurative' but not metaphorical, since the image distinguishes an outstanding feature of the object. It may also be a synecdoche ('the seven seas' is 'the whole world") which the translator may have to clarify within the text, and would normalize. (p. 85)
1.9. Types of metaphor
Metaphors have been taxonomized in different ways. A more commonly identified taxonomy of metaphors is as follow (Wikipedia):
a) A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of a transferred image is not present. Examples: "to grasp a concept" or "to gathered what you've understood" Both of these phrases use a physical action as a metaphor for understanding (itself a metaphor0, but in none of these cases do most people of English actually visualize the physical action. Dead metaphors, by definition, normally go unnoticed. Some people make a distinction between a "dead metaphor" whose origin most speakers are entirely unaware of (such as "to understand" meaning to get underneath a concept), and a dormant metaphor, whose metaphorical character people are aware of but rarely think about (such as "to break the ice"). Others, however, use dead metaphor for both of these concepts, and use it more generally as a way of describing metaphorical cliche.
b) An extended metaphor, or conceit, sets up a principal subject with several subsidiary subjects or comparisons. The above quote from As You Like It is a very good example. The world is described as a stage and then men and women are subsidiary subjects that are further described in the same context.
c) A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification that is inconsistent with the first one. Example: "He stepped up to the plate and grabbed the ball by the horns," where two commonly used metaphoric grounds for highlighting the concept of "taking action" are confused to create a nonsensical image.
The following is another less common classification of metaphors which is not universally accepted (Wikipedia):
a) An absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-metaphor) is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. Example: The couch is the autobahn of the living room."
b) An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor.
c) A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor and there is no actual light.
d) A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Examples: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.
e) A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that is not dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a clichââ‚¬Å¡. Example: Achilles' heel. Orwell suggests that writers scan their work for such dying forms that they have 'seen regularly before in print' and replace them with alternative language patterns.
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f) An epic metaphor or Homeric simile is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-story crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'"(Blackadder)
g) An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example: "Shut your trap!" Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.
h) An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two. An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-stic person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.
i) A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and vehicle. Example: "Cool it". In this example, the vehicle, "Cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.
j) A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implied, or indicated by one aspect. Example: "my winged thought". Here, the audience must supply the image of the bird.
k) A synecdochic metaphor is a trope that is both a metaphor and a synecdoche in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole. For example "a pair of ragged claws" represents a crab in T.S. Eliot's The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Describing the crab in this way gives it the attributes of sharpness and savagery normally associated with claws.
Black (1962a) believes that "the only entrenched classification is grounded in the trite opposition between 'dead' and 'live' metaphors." On this basis, he asserts that "this is no more helpful than, say, treating a corpse as a special case of a person: A so- called dead metaphor is not a metaphor at all, but merely an expression that no longer has a pregnant metaphorical use". His classification of metaphors is as follow:
1. Extinct metaphors whose etymologies, genuine or fanciedÃ¿propose a metaphor beyond resuscitation (a muscle as a little mouse, musculus)
2. Dormant metaphors where the original, now usually unnoticed, metaphor can be usefully restored (obligation as involving some kind of bondage)
3. Active metaphors that are, and are perceived to be, actively metaphoric (p. 25)
Black (1962a) also distinguishes between two types of active metaphor: an emphatic metaphor whose "producer will allow no variation upon or substitute for the words used", and a resonant metaphor which supports "a high degree of implicative elaboration". (p. 26)
Newmark (1988) considers the following six types of metaphors in his suggested taxonomy:
a) Dead metaphor which frequently relates to universal terms of space and time, the main part of the body, general ecological features and the main human activities. Dead metaphors have lost their figurative value through overuse and their images are hardly evident (e.g., 'reflect' as 'think' and 'shine' as 'excel').
b) Clichââ‚¬Å¡ metaphor is usually known to be a murky area between dead and stock metaphor which consists of two types of stereotyped collocations; figurative adjective plus literal noun (simplex metaphor), as in 'filthy lucre'; or figurative verb plus figurative noun (complex metaphor), as in 'explore all avenues', 'leave no stone unturned', and 'stick out a mile'. This type of metaphor has outlived its usefulness, and is used as a substitute for clear thought, often emotively, but without corresponding to the facts of the matter.
c) Stock or standard metaphor is an established metaphor, which in an informal context is an efficient and concise method of covering a physical and/or mental situation both referentially and pragmatically. Unlike dead metaphors, a stock metaphor is not deadened by overuse. Examples of this kind of metaphor include: 'she wears the trousers' and 'he plays second fiddle'.
d) Adapted metaphor usually includes proverbs or is actually a stock metaphor that has been adapted into a new context by its speaker or writer (e.g., 'almost carrying coals to Newcastle').
e) Recent metaphor is produced through coining and spreads rapidly in the source language (e.g., 'pissed' as 'drunk', 'fuzz' as 'police', 'spastic' as 'stupid', 'skin' as 'bankrupt', and 'greenback' as 'note').
f) Original metaphor is created or quoted by the SL writer, and in the broad sense, contains the core of an important writer's message, his personality, his comment on life. Examples are 'let's weight the night of a village, the slumber of a gazelle', 'and I can hear "the clear sound of solitude, opening and closing its window"', and 'where the Norweyen banners flout the sky, and fan our people cold'. (p. 106-112)
1.10. How to interpret metaphors
Larson (1998) believes that understanding metaphors is not always an easy task. A literal or word-for-word translation of metaphors in target language may lead to a partial or complete misunderstanding on the part of readers. On this ground, he presents a number of reasons to emphasize on the fact that the translation of metaphors is not always an easy task and literal translation of metaphors, in some cases, might not be the adequate one. These reasons are as follows:
First, there is a possibility that the image of metaphor is unknown in the receptor language. For example, 'I washed my clothes snow white' might be meaningless in some parts of the South Pacific because people in these religions have no idea about snow; instead, the images in seashell white or bone white are quite comprehensible for these people.
Lack of clearance over the topic of a metaphor may result in some problems for readers. In 'The tide turned against the government', the phrase public opinion has been left implicit and hence is kind of vague for readers.
The hardness in understanding metaphors may be due to the implicit concept of the point of similarity. For example, the point of similarity is uncertain in a sentence like 'He is a pig'.A reference to pig may connotes different concepts such as dirty, gluttony, stubborn and the like in different cultures.
An even more serious problem is that the point of similarity may be understood in two cultures in two entirely different ways so that one certain image may be used with different meanings. In different cultures, a sentence like 'John is a rock' may convey different meanings such as He is still, He can't talk, He is always there or He is very strong. Linking a person to 'ship' may raise a wide variety of images in different cultures (e.g., long-haired man, a drunkard, a person who doesn't answer back, one who just follow without thinking and a young fellow waiting for girls to follow him). Therefore, it can be concluded that a literal translation for 'He is a ship' without determining the point of similarity will be misleading in the second language.
On the other hand, the comparison in Target Language (TL) may be done in a different way compared to that of Source Language (SL). For example, despite of the SL metaphor in 'There was a storm in the national parliament yesterday', storm may have never been used in the receptor language to speak of a heated debate. Keeping this metaphor in the translation, we will have no choice but to replace the image of the SL metaphor (a storm at sea) with a familiar equivalent image for TL readers (e.g., fire to refer to heated debate).
Languages differ in how they produce metaphors and how often they use them. If the production of new metaphors is a common issue in a language, it is possible to create new metaphors when translating to that language. However, one should be assured that the newly-made metaphor will be practical in the receptor language. There are other languages, as well, with a very low frequencyin producing metaphors. For such languages, direct translation of SL metaphors may result in the hardness of understanding on the part of SL readers.
In languages with high frequency of metaphor usage, most images have already had metaphorical meanings. Therefore, using an image in a different way in the Source Text may cause misunderstanding due to its difference with the accepted common image in the receptor language. For Example, the literal translation of 'John is a rock' when it means He is severe in the SL and he has hard muscles in the TL will only make wrong meaning.
1.11. How to translate metaphors
The translation of metaphors has always been focused by translation experts and linguists due to The problems in the way of understanding and interpreting metaphors and their direct influence on translating this figure of speech. Accordingly, Larson (1998) suggests the following strategies for translating metaphors:
1. The metaphor may be kept if the receptor language permits (that is, if it sounds natural and is understood correctly by the readers)
2. A metaphor may be translated as a simile (adding like or as)
3. A metaphor of the receptor language which has the same meaning may be substituted
4. The metaphor may be kept and the meaning explained (that is, the topic and/or point of similarity may be added)
5. The meaning of the metaphor may be translated without keeping the metaphorical imagery (p. 277-279)
Newmark (1988b) has also presented seven strategies to translate metaphors. These strategies which could won the attention of language and translation experts and later will be focused in this thesis to process its data are as follows:
1. Reproducing the same image in the TL
2. Replacing the image in the SL with a standard TL image which does not clash with the TL culture
3. Translation of metaphor by simile, retaining the image
4. Translation of metaphor (or simile) by simile plus sense, or occasionally metaphor plus sense
5. Conversion of metaphor to sense
6. Deletion. If the metaphor is redundant or serves no practical purpose, there is a case for its deletion, together with its sense component
7. Translation of metaphor by the same metaphor combined with sense. The addition of a gloss or an explanation by the translator is to ensure that the metaphor will be understood (p. 107)
1.12. Rationale of this study
Cinema is considered as one of the most influential media in the field of culture. What gives cinema such a high status is not merely due to its great potential in entertaining its audience. It is a medium which sends rather important messages to the people of a community or peoples in different communities. These messages can cover a wide range of issues including science, imagination, religion, morality, culture and the like.
On the other hand, language is known to be among the most outstanding ways of transferring such messages particularly in the field of culture. Thus, the study of subtitling metaphors in cinema movies could be significant in different ways. Metaphors have been long regarded as cases of untranslatability. This is mostly due to their unique structure based on which one cannot guess the meaning of a metaphor from its constituent parts. So the matter of subtitling metaphors turns to reveal unique features and constraints. Another outstanding point about the translation of metaphors is in regard with their role as the key cultural components in language. Metaphors root in the culture of a nation so th
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