Translation as Metaphor: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Translation as Metaphor

1st Edition

By Rainer Guldin


132 pages

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In today’s ever-changing climate of disintegration and recombination, translation has become one of the essential metaphors, if not the metaphor, of our globalized world. Translation and Metaphor is an attempt to draw a comprehensive map of these new, overlapping theoretical territories and the many cross-disciplinary movements they imply. In five chapters, this book examines:

  • the main metaphor theories developed in the West;
  • the way the notion of metaphor relates to the concept of translation;
  • different theoretical perspectives on metaphors of translation in translation studies;
  • the main metaphors developed to describe translation in the West and in the East;
  • spatial metaphors within translation studies, cultural studies and postcolonial theory;
  • the use of the metaphor of translation across psychoanalysis, anthropology and ethnography, postcolonial theory, history and literature, sociology, media and communication theory, medicine and genetics.

Comprehensive analysis of key metaphor theories, revealing examples from a wide range of sources and a look towards future directions make this a must-have book for students, researchers and translators working in the areas of translation and translation theory.


"Rainer Guldin’s Translation as Metaphor admirably fills a pressing need in our knowledge of changes in the humanities and social sciences over the past few decades, focusing on how translation functions as a metaphor in a wide variety of disciplines. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the way in which we know our new globalized world is being transformed."

James St. André, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

"Translation as Metaphor offers an absorbing account of the ways in which notions of translation and metaphor have informed each other across a very broad range of disciplines from psychoanalysis to genetics. Rainer Guldin offers a bold and lucid demonstration of how to understand translation as metaphor is to understand fundamental aspects of our contemporary condition."

Michael Cronin, Dublin City University, Ireland

"The book can be addressed as the latest effort to redefine translation concept and scrutinize its application in other disciplines on the basis of various case studies and critical reflections in the broad cultural and historical contexts. Overall, the comprehensive analysis makes it a must-have book for students, researchers and professional translators working in the field."

Liu Lisheng, School of Foreign Languages, Xuchang University, China.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments


I. Metaphor and Its Relationship to Translation

II. Metaphors for Translation

III. From Spatial Metaphors of Translation to Translation as a Spatial Metaphor

IV. Translation as Metaphor in Psychoanalysis, Anthropology and Ethnography, Postcolonial Theory, History and Literature

V. Translation as Metaphor in Sociology, Media and Communication Theory, Medicine, Genetics and Interdisciplinary Exchanges



About the Author

Rainer Guldin is Lecturer for German Language and Culture at the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano (Switzerland). His publications include Political Landscapes: On the Relationship between Space and National Identity (2014) and The Language of the Sky: A History of the Clouds (2006).

About the Series

Translation Theories Explored

Translation Theories Explored is a series designed to engage with the range and diversity of contemporary translation studies. Translation itself is as vital and as charged as ever. If anything, it has become more plural, more varied and more complex in today\'s world. The study of translation has responded to these challenges with vigour. In recent decades the field has gained in depth, its scope continues to expand and it is increasingly interacting with other disciplines. The series sets out to reflect and foster these developments. It aims to keep track of theoretical developments, to explore new areas, approaches and issues, and generally to extend and enrich the intellectual horizon of translation studies. Special attention is paid to innovative ideas that may not as yet be widely known but deserve wider currency.

Individual volumes explain and assess particular approaches. Each volume combines an overview of the relevant approach with case studies and critical reflection, placing its subject in a broad intellectual and historical context, illustrating the key ideas with examples, summarizing the main debates, accounting for specific methodologies, achievements and blind spots, and opening up new perspectives for the future. Authors are selected not only on their close familiarity and personal affinity with a particular approach but also on their capacity for lucid exposition, critical assessment and imaginative thought. The series is aimed at researchers and graduate students who wish to learn about new approaches to translation in a comprehensive but accessible way.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Translating & Interpreting