Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8722
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8730
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Metaphoric proverbs represent interesting cultural instances of conventional metaphors (Belkhir 20142012). The ubiquity of metaphoric proverbs in language and the problems this phenomenon causes in translation is an issue that requires close attention. Translation aims at providing semantic equivalence between two languages. According to Vinay and Darbelnet (1995), equivalence constitutes the adequate method that should be used by translators when dealing with proverbs. However, no translator can provide perfect translation of a source text due to cultural specificities. The present paper offers a modest report of an experimental study conducted with a group of EFL students who have been taught translation as a subject in a higher education context (Mouloud Mammeri University). A set of English proverbs has been collected to build up the experiment that was administered to the subjects who were asked to translate them into Arabic, then into their first language, Kabyle. The question raised is whether these students are able to translate the proverbs appropriately. The study aims (1) to investigate translation strategies used by EFL learners; and (2) to show how learners’ L1 (Kabyle) and L2 (Arabic) interfere in the translation of English proverbs. The results showed that the more the students were acquainted with proverbs, the more they used equivalence in their translation. Similarly, the lesser they were acquainted with proverbs, the more they used literal translation or paraphrase. In addition, some translations provided by the participants revealed the presence of language interference.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. At Mensur, R.
    (2010) Dictionnaire de proverbes kabyles. Tizi-Ouzou: Editions Achab.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Baker, M.
    (1992) In other words: A course book on translation. New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Belkhir, S.
    (2012) Variation in source and target domain mappings in English and Kabyle dog proverbs. InS. Kleinke, Z. Kövecses, A. Musolff, & V. Szelid (Eds.) Cognition and culture – The role of metaphor and metonymy (pp.213–227). Budapest: Eötvös University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. (2014) Cultural influence on the use of dog concepts in English and Kabyle proverbs. InA. Musolff, F. MacArthur, & G. Pagani (Eds.), Metaphor and intercultural communication (pp.131–145). London: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. (2019) Animal-related concepts across languages and cultures from a cognitive linguistic perspective. Cognitive Linguistic Studies, 6(2), 295–324.   10.1075/cogls.00042.bel
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cogls.00042.bel [Google Scholar]
  6. (2020) Does MIP promote EFL learners’ cognitive ability to identify metaphors in written discourse?InS. Belkhir (Ed.) Cognition and language learning (pp.23–32). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. (2021) Cognitive linguistics and proverbs. InX. Wen & J. R. Taylor (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of cognitive linguistics (pp.599–611). New York & London: Routledge. 10.4324/9781351034708‑40
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351034708-40 [Google Scholar]
  8. Bock, J. K., & Brewer, W. F.
    (1980) Comprehension and memory of the literal and figurative meaning of proverbs. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 9(1), 59–72. 10.1007/BF01067302
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01067302 [Google Scholar]
  9. Boers, F.
    (2003) Applied linguistics perspectives on cross-cultural variation in conceptual Metaphor. Metaphor and Symbol, 18(4), 231–238. 10.1207/S15327868MS1804_1
    https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327868MS1804_1 [Google Scholar]
  10. Boers, F., & Demecheleer, M.
    (2001) Measuring the impact of cross-cultural differences on learners’ comprehension of imageable idioms. ELT Journal, 55(3), 255–262. 10.1093/elt/55.3.255
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/55.3.255 [Google Scholar]
  11. Byram, M.
    (1997) Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Fergusson, R.
    (2000) The penguin dictionary of proverbs. England: Market House Books Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Ghazala, H.
    (1995) Translation as problems and solutions: A course book for university students and trainee translators. Beirut: Dar wa Maktabat Al-Hilal.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Holmes
    Holmes (2000) The name and nature of translation studies. InL. Venuti (Ed.) The translation studies reader (pp.172–185). London & New-York: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203446621
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203446621 [Google Scholar]
  15. Jabak, O. O.
    (2008) One thousand and one English proverbs translated into Arabic. Halab: Author.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B.
    (1994) Toward a theory of proverb meaning. InW. Meider & A. Dundes (Eds.) The Wisdom of many: Essays on the proverb (pp.111–121). Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Kövecses, Z.
    (2005) Metaphor in culture: Universality and variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511614408
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511614408 [Google Scholar]
  18. Lakoff, G.
    (1993) The contemporary theory of metaphor. InA. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and thought (pp.202–251). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139173865.013
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139173865.013 [Google Scholar]
  19. Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M.
    (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Lakoff, G. & Turner, M.
    (1989) More than cool reason: A Field guide to poetic metaphor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226470986.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226470986.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  21. Littlemore, J.
    (2003) The effect of cultural background on metaphor interpretation. Metaphor and Symbol, 18(4), 273–288. 10.1207/S15327868MS1804_4
    https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327868MS1804_4 [Google Scholar]
  22. Littlemore, J. & Low, G.
    (2006) Metaphoric competence and communicative language Ability. Applied Linguistics. 27(2), 268–294. 10.1093/applin/aml004
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/aml004 [Google Scholar]
  23. Maalej, Z.
    (2009) A cognitive-pragmatic perspective on proverbs and its implications for translation. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies (IJAES), 10, 135–154.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Munday, J.
    (2008) Introducing translation studies: Theories and applications. London & New-York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Nacib, Y.
    (2009) Proverbes et dictons kabyle. Alger: Enag.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Newmark, P.
    (1988) Textbook of translation. UK: Prentice Hall.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Seitel, P.
    (1994) Proverbs: A social use of metaphor. InW. Meider & A. Dundes (Eds.) The Wisdom of many: Essays on the proverb (pp.111–121). Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Shehab, E., & Daragmeh, A.
    (2014) A context-based approach to proverb translation: The case of Arabic into English translation. Translation Review, 90(1), 51–68. 10.1080/07374836.2014.986779
    https://doi.org/10.1080/07374836.2014.986779 [Google Scholar]
  29. Vinay, J. P., & Darbelnet, J.
    (1995) Comparative stylistics of French and English: A methodology for translation, translated byJ. C. Sager and M. J. Hamel, Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/btl.11
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.11 [Google Scholar]
  30. Wilson, F. C.
    (2010) A model of translation based on proverbs and their metaphors: A cognitive descriptive approach. Translation Journal, 14(4). https://translationjournal.net/journal/54proverbs_en.htm
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): equivalence; language interference; metaphoric proverbs; translation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error