Zooming In

Micro-Scale Perspectives on Cognition, Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication

by Wojciech Wachowski (Volume editor) Zoltan Kövecses (Volume editor) Michał Borodo (Volume editor)
Edited Collection VIII, 280 Pages


This book explores the influence of culture and cognition on translation and communication and brings together revised versions of papers delivered at the First International TransLingua Conference, organized in 2015 by the Institute of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics and the Department of English at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The volume investigates various languages and cultures (including Japanese, Hungarian, English, Czech, Polish, German and Swahili) and examines a range of linguistic and translation issues from a micro-scale perspective. Alongside these case studies, it also includes reflections by two internationally renowned scholars, Elżbieta Tabakowska and Zoltán Kövecses, on the interplay between language, culture and cognition and the influence of collective and individual memory on translation.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Language, culture and cognition
  • 1 The interplay between metaphor and culture (Zoltán Kövecses)
  • Introduction: Cultural meaning-making
  • Metaphor and folk models
  • Metaphor and folk theories
  • Metaphor and expert theories
  • Fluid in a container and large size
  • Unity
  • Natural force (storm, wave, flood)
  • Metaphorical universality and variation
  • Metaphor and context
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • 2 Memory, imagination, translation (Elżbieta Tabakowska)
  • Preliminaries
  • Memory: Psychology, cognitive linguistics, translation studies
  • Memory and imagination
  • Translation
  • Can we teach translation?
  • Bibliography
  • Sources
  • 3 Metonymic hiding and cross-cultural communication (Wojciech Wachowski)
  • Introduction
  • Metonymy: A conceptual phenomenon
  • Metonymic hiding
  • Metonymic hiding: Universality
  • Metonymic hiding: Variation and context
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Websites
  • 4 Between text and silence: Ellipsis as a linguistic phenomenon and a case of English–Polish translation (Anna Lesińska / Jacek Lesiński)
  • Introduction
  • Cohesion
  • Ellipsis
  • Types of ellipsis
  • Nominal ellipsis
  • Verbal ellipsis
  • Operator ellipsis
  • Out in the hall Alex met Grace
  • Verbal lexical ellipsis
  • Verbal operator ellipsis
  • Nominal ellipsis
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Part II: Languages in contrast
  • 5 On “paying attention”: The objectification of attention in English and Polish (Marcin Trojszczak)
  • Introduction
  • Attention
  • Metaphorical conceptions of attention
  • Cognitive corpus-based approach to metaphor
  • Findings
  • Paying attention is having a physical object-attention turned in the direction of something
  • Paying attention is relocating a physical object-attention closer to something
  • Paying attention is having a physical object-attention taken in possession by something
  • Conclusion and further research
  • Bibliography
  • 6 Syntactic structures as carriers of emphatic expression in literary translation from English into Czech and vice versa (Jana Richterová)
  • Introduction
  • English and Czech word order systems and the FSP factors
  • Translation from English into Czech: Analysed samples
  • George Orwell: Animal Farm, translation by G. Gössel (1991)
  • Alan Sillitoe: The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner, translation by J. Škvorecký (1965)
  • Translation from Czech into English: Analysed samples
  • Josef Škvorecký: Zbabělci/The Cowards, translation by Jeanne Němcová (1970)
  • The pseudo-cleft (“thematic equative”)
  • Disputable usage of the pseudo-cleft
  • The It-cleft
  • Fronting
  • Inversion (full)
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Literary excerpts
  • 7 Translating doubt: The case of the Hungarian discourse marker vajon (Andrea Götz)
  • Introduction
  • Do discourse markers “translate”? Norms of language and translation
  • Vajon and rhetorical questions
  • Research design
  • Research questions and hypotheses
  • Corpus and methods
  • The effect of transcription
  • Results and discussion
  • Translation data of vajon: English source texts translated into Hungarian
  • Summary and discussion of results
  • Interpretation data of vajon: English speeches interpreted into Hungarian
  • Summary and discussion of results
  • Conclusion
  • Primary source
  • Bibliography
  • Part III: Translation in specialized discourses
  • 8 Incongruity of civil law terms under Polish and British legal systems (Anna Kizińska)
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Research
  • Spadkobierca ustawowy, spadkobierca testamentowy
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Legal acts
  • Website
  • Dictionaries
  • Civil Code translations
  • 9 Translation of individual lexical items for the purposes of lexicography: Practical considerations (Michał Janowski)
  • Introduction
  • The Lithuanian language and Proto-Indo-European reconstruction
  • The organization of the project
  • Selection of the translators through test translations
  • Characteristics of the text
  • The form
  • The content
  • Linguistic variation: alternant and variant forms
  • Hidden terminology
  • Lexical gaps
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Problems related to culture and technology
  • Bibliography
  • 10 Psychology in translation: Textual tendencies in selected English–Polish translations of popular science texts (Monika Linke-Ratuszny)
  • Translation of popular science texts as specialized translation
  • Polish psychological discourse and translation of texts on psychology into Polish
  • Case study
  • Materials
  • Study aims and methodology
  • Analysis of the position of translated texts
  • Documentation of sources
  • Analysis of selected lexical aspects
  • Titles of articles
  • Institutions, associations and academic titles
  • Terminology
  • Titles of publications within the texts
  • Examples of dominant textual tendencies
  • Deletions
  • Generalizations
  • Additions
  • Expansions
  • Shifts in register
  • Structural editing
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • Part IV: Between the global and the local
  • 11 Rendering accents, dialects and prosodic features in game localization (Paweł Aleksandrowicz)
  • The problem of accent rendition
  • The solutions to the problem of accent rendition
  • Partial or no localization
  • Retaining the original accent
  • Accent-to-accent transfer
  • Accent-to-dialect transfer
  • Neutralization
  • Prosody manipulation
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • 12 Between globalness and localness: The case of proper names in the philosophy of language (Tomohiro Sakai)
  • Introduction
  • Nature of the convention associating a proper name with its bearer
  • An overview
  • The homonymy view
  • The indexical view
  • Are proper names part of the language?
  • Proper names as a grammatical category
  • The essentially local character of proper names
  • The essentially global character of proper names
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • 13 Motoring and discourse speak one language: A case for globalized motoring discourse (Maciej Adamski)
  • Introduction
  • The language of motoring
  • Car-driven identities in communication
  • The stages of development
  • The Babel of cars
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Notes on contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

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This volume brings together representatives of various academic fields to reflect upon the influence of culture and cognition on translation and communication. The chapters are based on the papers delivered at the First International TransLingua Conference organized in September 2015 by the Institute of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics and the Department of English of Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Following a cross-disciplinary approach, the material contained in this book has been divided into the following parts: “Language, culture and cognition”; “Languages in contrast”; “Translation in specialized discourses”; and “Between the global and the local”. The chapters feature a number of micro-scale discussions and analyses of a wide spectrum of linguistic, cultural and translation issues. Apart from the case studies, certain general problems concerning the interplay between language, culture and cognition, and the influence of collective and individual memory on translation, are discussed by two internationally renowned scholars, Prof. Elżbieta Tabakowska and Prof. Zoltán Kövecses.

The theoretical framework for the chapters contained in Part I of this volume is provided by cognitive linguistics. The chapters concern the influence of our experience and culture on the translation process, and investigate the rendering of the so-called figures of speech, that is, metaphor, metonymy and ellipsis, in translation. In the opening chapter, Zoltán Kövecses concentrates on the interaction between metaphor and culture. He demonstrates the ways in which metaphors interact with the so-called cultural models and considers the issue of universality or lack of universality of selected conceptual metaphors. Kövecses also analyses specific contextual factors that lead to divergent uses of metaphors in particular discourse situations. Elżbieta Tabakowska’s chapter centres on memory and translation. It reveals the subjective and selective nature of human memory, how significant a role it plays at every stage of the translation process, and how it is linked to imagination. It also demonstrates that the translation ← 1 | 2 → process (understood as a chain of memory operations) may be discussed in terms of the cognitive linguistic theory of mental spaces proposed by Gilles Fauconnier. The examples used by Tabakowska are taken from two contemporary Scottish and English novels, The Accidental by Ali Smith and The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan, and their Polish translations by Agnieszka Andrzejewska and Aldona Możdżyńska respectively. The focal point for discussion in the chapter by Wojciech Wachowski is conceptual metonymy and, in particular, one of the functions it serves, namely metonymic hiding. The author shows why the phenomenon takes place and what forms it may take on. His claims are substantiated with examples of metonymically based verbal and visual humour as well as metonymically derived euphemisms. In the final chapter of Part I, Anna Lesińska and Jacek Lesiński investigate ellipsis, which they understand as a semantic phenomenon. The authors look at how ellipsis is rendered in translation and how the ellipted parts of the text are recovered in the original and in the translated texts. In their analysis they use an excerpt from the English novel The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith and its Polish translation by Zbigniew Batko.

In Part II of the volume, entitled “Languages in Contrast”, in a number of micro-scale case studies, English is juxtaposed with Polish, Czech and Hungarian to discuss and highlight syntactical, lexical and conceptual differences between the languages. In the opening chapter of this part, Marcin Trojszczak concentrates on three conceptual metaphors in which paying attention is the target domain. Drawing on Aleksander Szwedek’s Objectification Theory and Olaf Jäkel’s model of mental activity, the author shows the similarities in the objectifications of paying attention between English and Polish. The linguistic data for the study was collected from the British National Corpus and the National Corpus of Polish. In Chapter 6, Jana Richterová analyses syntactic structures seen as carriers of emphatic expressions. She discusses selected excerpts from classic English and Czech literary works and their translations, and compares the degree of sentence dynamism in these excerpts created by syntactic devices. Richterová also highlights certain problems students of translation or trainee translators may face, related to the typological differences between English and Czech, and, in particular, to the fact that the status of word order is substantially ← 2 | 3 → different in each of these languages. In the closing chapter of Part II, Andrea Götz discusses the translation and interpretation data of the Hungarian discourse marker vajon, collected from the Hungarian translations of English European Parliamentary speeches. The author seeks to address the issues related to the translation of discourse markers and, using contrastive analysis, examines the functions of contexts in which vajon occurs. The chapter also addresses the questions of omission and addition as they, it is suggested, could offer an insight into the function of discourse markers and the process of translation.

“Translation in specialized discourses” is the theme of Part III of this volume, in which the authors address various problems related to translating texts from such fields as law, psychology, lexicography and lexicology. They also analyse the strategies applied by the translators of such texts. The chapter by Anna Kizińska focuses on Polish and British incongruent terms used in succession law: spadkobierca ustawowy and spadkobierca testamentowy, which are literally translated as statutory heir and testamentary heir respectively, and which appear in five Polish Civil Code translations into English and in bilingual legal dictionaries. The author discusses the adequacy of the English equivalents and proposes a new functional equivalent for the Polish term spadkobierca testamentowy. Chapter 9, by Michał Janowski, looks at lexicology and lexicography, and the practical aspects of translating an etymological dictionary. It presents the chronological order of actions taken before and during such a demanding task. The description covers the initial process of selecting translators for the project through test translations, and the subsequent work on translating the entries. The chapter also features comments on overcoming the challenges facing the translator of a dictionary, such as cultural differences, old crafts and technologies, or forgotten traditions. Part III closes with a discussion of Polish translations of articles on psychology, which were originally published in English in popular science magazines. In this chapter, Monika Linke-Ratuszny provides a brief overview of the history of English–Polish translations in the field of psychology. She also presents the profile of Charaktery, a leading Polish magazine popularizing psychology, focusing on the role of translations of texts originally published in English. In the practical part, Linke-Ratuszny analyses selected Polish versions of articles and book excerpts in ← 3 | 4 → terms of the strategies applied by the Polish translators, including omissions, additions and modifications.

The fourth and final part of this volume is preoccupied with issues that go beyond translation as such. It deals with adapting source content to the needs and expectations of either a global or local audience. The issues raised in this section concern onomastics, the video game industry and the automotive industry. The opening chapter in this section, Chapter 11 by Paweł Aleksandrowicz, centres on the problem of rendering accents and dialects in game localization. The rich array of dialects and accents of the English language often exploited by video game producers to give local colour to a given scene poses a great difficulty for translators. The author discusses a number of techniques employed by translators in their attempts to cope with this highly demanding task. In Chapter 12, Tomohiro Sakai addresses a number of issues related to onomastics. Proper names, which the author considers a special category in the natural language, are analysed in relation to certain local and global issues. Among other things, the author discusses the changes local proper names may undergo as a result of the influence of the global culture. In the closing chapter, Maciej Adamski describes the process of international integration, which arises from the accelerated interchange of products and ideas in the world today, concentrating on the automotive industry and international motoring terminology. He also draws an intriguing parallel between the global expansion of multinational automotive companies and the development of language.

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Language, culture and cognition

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1 The interplay between metaphor and culture

Introduction: Cultural meaning-making

As our starting point, we can take the definition of culture as offered by Clifford Geertz (1973), who wrote: “Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun. I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning” (Geertz 1973: 5). Geertz’s definition of cultures as webs of significance allows us to think of culture as a non-monolithic social construction.

We have meaning-making not only in the sense of producing and understanding language but also in the sense of correctly identifying things, finding behaviour acceptable or unacceptable, being able to follow a conversation, being able to create or generate meaningful objects and behaviour for others in the group, and so forth.

The brain is the organ that performs the many cognitive operations that are needed for making sense of experience. These include categorization, figure-ground alignment, framing knowledge, metaphorical and metonymic understanding, conceptual integration and several others (see, for example, Kövecses 2006). It can be assumed that the same cognitive operations that human beings use for making sense of experience in general are also used for making sense of language.

In the emergence of meaning, that is, in the process of something becoming meaningful, the human body plays a distinguished role (Johnson 1987; Lakoff 1987; Lakoff and Johnson 1999; Gibbs 2006). It is especially what is known as image schemas that are crucial in this regard. Image ← 7 | 8 → schemas are based on our most basic physical experiences and are inevitable in making sense of the world around us. However, Rakova (2001) emphasizes that a theory that builds on image schemas and, in general, on the universality of essential physical experiences cannot in the same breath be a theory of cultural variation. In relation to metaphor, the question, then, is whether CMT can simultaneously account for both the universal and culture-specific aspects of metaphorical conceptualization. This was the general issue I tried to raise and resolve in my 2005 book Metaphor in Culture. I argued that metaphorical conceptualization in natural situations occurs under two simultaneous pressures: the “pressure of embodiment” and the “pressure of context”. This dual pressure essentially amounts to our effort to be coherent both with the body and context (including culture) – coherent both with universal embodiment and the culture-specificity of local culture in the course of metaphorical conceptualization. Which metaphor is used in a particular situation does not only depend on which (potentially) universal metaphor is available in connection with the given target domain for the expression of a given meaning but also on the immediate context in which metaphorical conceptualization takes place (see Kövecses 2015). Our effort to be coherent with the local context may be an important tool in understanding the use of metaphors in natural discourse.

Metaphor and folk models

If culture is a shared set of folk (cognitive-cultural) models, we need to be able to account for several issues concerning the relationship between metaphors and cognitive models in general. Cognitive models can either be folk models, or theories, or expert theories (Holland and Quinn 1987). This situation leads to at least two issues: (1) What is the relationship between metaphors and folk models? (2) What is the relationship between metaphors and expert theories? ← 8 | 9 →

Metaphor and folk theories

On one view, Quinn (1991) suggests that preexisting folk models select certain conceptual metaphors. This goes against the view in cognitive linguistics in which conceptual metaphors can actually be regarded as constituting or create folk models. One good example for the latter situation is the TIME IS MOTION conceptual metaphor, since it would be very difficult to think about time the way we do without the preexistence of this metaphor. We think about time as a result and in terms of the metaphor TIME IS MOTION.


VIII, 280
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2017 (August)
translation civil law cognitive linguistics equivalence euphemisms localization humour motoring interpreting lexicography memory metaphor metonomy
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2017. VIII, 280 pp., 4 b/w ill., 34 tables, 4 fig.

Biographical notes

Wojciech Wachowski (Volume editor) Zoltan Kövecses (Volume editor) Michał Borodo (Volume editor)

Wojciech Wachowski is Assistant Professor in the Institute of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics at Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz. He has published on various topics in linguistics, particularly cognitive linguistics and sociolinguistics. His main research interests include metonymy and metaphor, and teacher and translator training. Zoltán Kövecses is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of American Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. His main research interests include the theory of metaphor and metonymy, the conceptualization of emotions, the relationship between cognition and culture, and the issue of cultural variation in metaphor. His books include Where Metaphors Come From (2015), Language, Mind and Culture: A Practical Introduction (2006), Metaphor in Culture: Universality and Variation (2005), Metaphor: A Practical Introduction (2002/2010) and Metaphor and Emotion (2000). He received the Charles Simonyi Award in 2008. Michał Borodo is Assistant Professor in the Institute of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics at Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz, where he is also Head of Postgraduate Studies in Translating and Interpreting. He has published on various topics in translation studies and his main research interests include translation and language in the context of globalization and glocalization, the translation of children’s literature and comics, and translator training. His monograph, Translation, Globalization and Younger Audiences: The Situation in Poland, is forthcoming in 2017.


Title: Zooming In