Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

The Conceptual Metaphor and Its Translation: A Case Study on Obama’s Speeches

Author ZhangLiMei
Tutor LiuRongQiang
School Hebei Normal
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords public speech conceptual metaphor translation
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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The study of metaphor could be traced back to Aristotle period, over two thousand years ago. Traditionally metaphor had been viewed only as a kind of rhetorical device. With the publication of Metaphors We Live By written by Lakoff and Johnsen in 1980, conceptual metaphor theory was proposed for the first time. Based on the theory, metaphor was viewed not only as a kind of linguistic phenomenon but also a kind of thinking mode and cognitive means. It’s a kind of cognitive activity by which people could comprehend the experience of one field by the experience of another field. Metaphor is pervasive in our daily life and it exists in our thinking and speaking, hence our conceptual system with which we think and act is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.Metaphor has also attracted more and more researchers in the translation studies. Many traditional translation theories were based on the comprehension of metaphor from the figurative perspective and static comparisons of cultures, literary styles and linguistic forms. With the rising and development of cognitive linguistics, there have been more and more scholars doing their metaphor researches from the cognitive view. Translation and metaphor are closely connected. Cognition is the foundation of constructing metaphor which is the common core of expressing meaning in all languages. It’s not advisable to talk about metaphor translation by neglecting cognition.This thesis is intended to investigate the conceptual metaphors used in public English speeches and their Chinese translation methods. The data are from U.S. President Obama’s speeches and their Chinese versions translated by Wang Ruize and published by Yilin Press. The selected speeches are as follows: Obama’s first speech to the Congress, his remark for NAACP Centennial, his address at the opening session of the First Round of U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, his speech on winning the Nobel peace prize,his remark at Shanghai Museum of Science and Technology and his speech at Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic. On the basis of the conceptual metaphor theory proposed by Lakoff and Johnsen, the typical conceptual metaphors in Obama’s speeches are analyzed. The conceptual metaphors in Obama’s speeches mostly belong to six categories: journey metaphor, building metaphor, war metaphor, religion metaphor, human metaphor and nature metaphor. Analyzed with Peter Newmark’s view on metaphor translation, these conceptual metaphors are translated into Chinese with five methods– literal translation, literal translation with notes, free translation, the translation into four-character Chinese expressions and the replacement of the conceptual metaphors.In short, this thesis is aimed at connecting metaphor translation with metaphor cognition, analyzing the cognitive process of choosing translation methods and putting forward suggestions on the conceptual metaphor translation.

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