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Video Game Translation and Cognitive Semantics


Mateusz Sajna

The book concentrates on video game translation from the perspective of cognitive semantics. One of its objectives is to assert that translators’ knowledge of cognitive semantics can affect translation, i.e. decoding the sender’s mental states and evoking particular mental states in the target language recipient. The work is interdisciplinary and draws on such fields as games studies, cognitive semantics, and translation studies. It also aspires to complete gaps in the scientific research on video games, systematize the knowledge of localization, and ascertain the role played by translators in the localization process. The research material consists of eight video games which belong to different genres, and the investigated English video game texts cover almost 3000 standard pages.

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Chapter 3: Cognitive Semantics And Translation


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Chapter 3:  Cognitive Semantics And Translation


Chapter 3 attempts to uncover the nature of meaning construction through the analysis of several theoretical approaches which originate within cognitive semantics. Firstly, two models of meaning are investigated, namely the dictionary and encyclopedic ones. After determining what constitutes meaning for the purposes of this book, I move on to the presentation of Mental Space Theory, which laid the foundations for Conceptual Blending Theory – one of the latest theoretical approaches to meaning construction in cognitive semantics. Conceptual Blending Theory is juxtaposed with Mental Space Theory, and the problems and controversies it arouses are discussed. Last but not least, Conceptual Metaphor Theory is presented. Its main premises are introduced, its structure discussed, and a comparison between this theory and Conceptual Blending Theory drawn in order to investigate the differences and similarities of these two approaches and thus to ascertain their place within this project. Chapter 3 together with Chapter 2 constitute the theoretical framework upon which I shall base the analysis of the selected translation examples coming from video games, which will be conducted in Chapter 4.

3.  In Search of Meaning

As Coulson and Kutas (1998: 1) observe at the beginning of their article, life would be considerably more convenient if people simply said literally what they wanted to convey. However, the reality is not consonant with this observation, and, consequently, given the right circumstances, an expression such as “You’re such...

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