JoLIE 8/2015

Back to issue page







Teodora Popescu

1 Decembrie 1918 University of Alba Iulia, Romania






The aim of this paper is to present the findings of an experiment with MA students in English Philology, carried out during the translations class included in their academic curriculum. The texts that we used for translating purposes were taken from the business press and they represented quite a novelty for the students, since they had previously received training only in literary translations during their BA studies. The analysis of students’ work was made taking into account two methodological aspects: the linguistic dimension as well as the cultural one. During the explicit training throughout the semester, we analysed and translated texts by trying to frame them within the social, political and economic background of the countries where the articles were published. The findings revealed that although the students’ linguistic competence was relatively advanced, their intercultural competence was still in need of improvement. In particular, the complex issues of equivalence and non-equivalence at above-the-word level were tackled as part of the course activities, especially collocations, idioms, and metaphors which are culture-bound by nature. An important outcome was the students’ improvement in translation strategies awareness.


Key words: Business lexis; Linguistic competence; Intercultural competence; Translation competence; Figurative language.





Akbarov, A. (2010). A cross-linguistic application on idioms rendering a conceptual schema. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Eduation – JoLIE, 3, 137–146. DOI:


Avădanei, Ş. (1994). La început a fost metafora. Iaşi: Virginia.


Baker, M. (1992). In other words. A coursebook on translation. London/New York: Routledge.


Baker, M. (1993). Corpus linguistics and translation studies: Implications and applications. In M. Baker, G. Francis, & E. Tognini-Bonelli (Eds.), Text and Technology: In Honour of John Sinclair (pp. 233–252). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI:


Baker, M. (2008). Routledge encyclopedia of translation Studies. London/New York: Routledge.


Baker, M. (2009). Critical readings in translation studies. London/New York: Routledge.


Bassnett, S. (2002). Translation studies. London/New York: Routledge.


Bourdieu, P. (1994). Language and symbolic power. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


Brown, T. L. (2003). Making truth: Metaphor in science. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.


Campbell, S. (1998). Translation into the second language. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.


Cameron, L., & Low, G. (1999). Researching and applying metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Council of Europe. (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Retrieved December 11, 2015 from


Coșeriu, E. (1993). Omul și limbajul său. Iași: Ed. Universității “Al. I. Cuza”.


Chitoran, D. (1973). Elements of English structural semantics. Bucuresti: E.D.P.


Durdureanu, I. I. (2011). Translation of cultural terms: Possible or impossible? Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 3, 51–64. DOI:


Eco, U. (2001). Experiences in translation (A. McEwan, Trans.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


Glucksberg, S. (2001). Understanding figurative language: From metaphors to idioms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Goossens, L. (1995). By word of mouth: Metaphor, metonymy, and linguistic action in a cognitive perspective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


Herteg, C., & Popescu, T. (2013). Developing business students’ linguistic and intercultural competence through the understanding of business metaphors. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 93, 1080–1084. DOI:


Katan, D. (2004). Translating cultures: An introduction for translators, interpreters and mediators. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.


Kennedy, G. (1988). An introduction to corpus linguistics. London/New York: Longman.


Kenny, D. (2001). Lexis and creativity in translation: A corpus-based study. Manchester: St Jerome Publishing..


Kenny, M. (2004). Introducing corpora in translation studies. London/New York: Routledge.


Kovecses, Z. (2000). Metaphor and emotion: Language, culture and body in human feeling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Kovecses, Z. (2005). Metaphor in culture: Universality and variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Lakoff, G. (1993). The contemporary theory of metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and Thought (2nd ed., pp. 202–252). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: http://


Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Lakoff, G., & Turner, M. (1989). More than cool reason: A field guide to poetic metaphor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Lavion, S. (2002). Corpus-based translation study theory, findings, application. Amsterdam: Rodopi.


Laviosa, S. (2002). Corpus based translation studies: Theory, findings, applications. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B.V.


Maasen, S., & Weingart, P. (1995). Metaphors – messengers of meaning: A contribution to an evolutionary sociology of science. Science Communication 17, 9–31. DOI:


Mandelblit, N. (1996). The cognitive view of metaphor and its implications for translation theory. In M. Thelen, & B. Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (Eds.), Proceedings of the Maastricht Session of the 2nd International Maastricht-Łódź Duo Colloquium on “Translation and Meaning” Part 3 (pp. 483–495). Maastricht: Hogeschool Maastricht, School of Translation and Interpreting.


Millio, M. (1999). Dictionar de proverbe, maxime și zicători englez – român. București: Elis.


Munday, J. (2001). Introducing translation studies: Theories and applications. London/New York: Routledge.


Newmark, P. (1985). The translation of metaphor. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


Nicolescu, A., Teodoreanu, L., Preda I., & Tatos M. (1999). Dicționar frazeologic englez – român. București: Teora.


Nida, E. A. (1964). Towards a science of translation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


Nida, E. A., & Taber. C. (2003). The theory and practice of translation. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


Olohan, M. (2004). Introducing corpora in translation studies. London/New York: Routledge.


Popescu, T. (2009). The role of computers in developing students’ translation competence. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference Translation Studies: Retrospective and Prospective Views, 8-9 October 2009 (pp. 83–89). Galati: “Dunarea de Jos” University.  Retrieved from


Popescu, T. (2011). Linguistic competence vs. translation competence: A pedagogic approach. In FLTLAL 2011 Proceedings/1st International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 5-7 May 2011 Sarajevo (pp.1183–1189). Sarajevo: International Burch University.


Popescu, T. (2012). Business metaphors: A case study of Peugeot advertisements in different languages. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 5, 109–124. DOI:


Popescu, T. (2013a). Developing English linguistics students’ translation competence through the language learning process. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 93, 1075-1079.


Popescu, T. (2013b). A corpus-based approach to translation error analysis. A case-study of Romanian EFL learners. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 242–247. DOI:


Popescu, T., & Toma, M. (2009). Dictionary of business collocations: With Romanian translation and practice section. Alba Iulia: Aeternitas.


Reeves, C. (2005). The language of science. London: Routledge.


Savic, V., & Čutura I. (2011). Translation as cultural transposition. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 3, 125–150. DOI:


Shuttleworth, M., & Cowie, M. (1997). Dictionary of translation studies. Manchester: St Jerome.


Sinclair, J. (1991). Corpus, concordance, collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Smith, P. (2001). Cultural theory: An introduction. Malden/Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Sofer, M. (1996). The translator’s handbook. Rockville: Schreiber Publishing.


Venuti. L. (2000). The translation studies reader. London/ New York: Routledge.


Toury, G. (1978). The nature and role of norms in literary translation. In J. S Holmes, J. Lambert, & R. Van den Broeck (Eds.), Literature and Translation: New Perspectives in Literary Studies (pp. 83–100). Leuven: Acco.



How to cite this article: Popescu, T. (2015). Translation of metaphors and idioms – mission impossible? Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 8, 163178. DOI:



For details on subscription, go to:

[1] This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-2785.