Peculiarities Of Translation And Metaphoric Modelling In Journalistic Texts


This article singles out the main problems connected with study of metaphoric modeling and special features of translation of morbial metaphors in political and economic journalistic texts. The main approach of metaphor study is a cognitive one which is considered to be the most extensive but general as well. Each functional style has its own language characteristics which influence on the process and the result of translation greatly. The study of metaphorization helps to reveal common features in the political and economic metaphorical pictures of the world, which allow to state the presence of basic metaphorical models, each of which represents a particular denotative sphere, using vocabulary related to the primary value to a completely different field. Comparison of the laws of metaphorical modeling of the political picture of the world helps to distinguish specific features of a national political discourse which is characterized by a variety of metaphorical models reflecting modern reality. As for the translation of metaphors, the typical “classical” variants of translation can be applied in most cases. Most of them are rendered into Russian by means of full or literary translation, sometimes using substitution, supplementation, omission or a loan translation. While assessing the adequacy of translation of journalistic texts into the target language it is necessary to take into account different facts. It is no coincidence that they distinguish semantic, linguistic and stylistic adequacy.

Keywords: Morbial metaphormass mediatranslationframejournalistic text


In all functional styles, a number of language features can be distinguished, which influence on the course and outcome of the translation process is quite significant. In the journalistic text, in addition to the important role of terms, names and titles – this is the special nature of the headlines and a large number of abbreviations. Degree of adequacy contributes not only to the lexical and grammatical features of the original, but also from their relationship with similar structures in the target language. For journalistic texts, the use of metaphors is usually regarded as an absolutely explicable phenomenon, in newspapers and magazines it acts as one of the characteristics means of text expression (Kupina, 2017, p. 28). A metaphor is a multifunctional phenomenon: calling economic and political realities, it aims to make the given text more understandable, based on specific images known to readers, creates an emotional background of the story.

Problem Statement

People think by metaphors, creating with their help the world in which they live. As emphasized by Lakoff and Johnson (2015), our conceptual sphere is primarily metaphorical in nature, our thinking, everyday experience and behavior are largely determined by metaphor. The modern people live in the conditions of the constant speech influence exerted on them by the media. One of the powerful means of such influence is the metaphor, which from a cognitive point of view is not just a figurative means, but a way of knowing, structuring and explaining the world, which has significant pragmatic potential.

Metaphorization processes are “specific operations on knowledge, often leading to a change in the ontological status of knowledge (the unknown becomes known, and the known is completely new)” (Baranov & Karaulov, 1991, p. 185). The metaphor connects two conceptual spheres, one of which (the source sphere) is well structured and known to the participants of communication, and the other (the target sphere) requires categorization, explanation, conceptualization. Since the verbalization of knowledge involves, as a rule, prototypical mental units well mastered in cognitive and communicative experience, studying metaphorization can show which fragments of reality are represented by the largest number of concepts and determine the most active ways of their language representation.

Comparing the metaphors of the original text and its translation into another language, we can identify the facts of metaphorical images and show that some metaphors can, others cannot be transferred to another language literally, which indicates differences in the metaphorical models existing in these languages. Chudinov (2001) gives the following definition of a metaphorical model: “this is the typical correlation of the semantics of the immediate motivation of primary and secondary values in a relationship that is a model for the emergence of new secondary values” (p. 35).

Research Questions

The study of metaphorization processes in political discourse is one of the promising areas of cognitive linguistics. A metaphor, being a polyfunctional unit, along with instrumental, cognitive and modeling functions has a rich pragmatic potential – the ability to influence the addressee, to prompt and tune to a certain type of decision and behavior (Dem'yankov, 2016). According to Gorban’ (2016), the metaphor is a “special kind of cognitive process aimed at generating new knowledge, structuring the “intermediate world” of representatives of the linguocultural community” (p. 63). Metaphor helps to model the world around people, offering them a certain way of categorizing reality, generating an appropriate emotive effect, which, in turn, affect the motivation and focus of human activity.

A feature of political discourse at the present stage is its mediation by the media . The current changes in economic, political and cultural life are reflected in the language of the media, especially the press. The media is an important participant in political communication, and the exclusion of media materials from analysis would significantly impoverish the picture of contemporary political discourse (Zlobina, 2017, p.74).

The media texts reflect the specificity of perception of reality by the carriers of a particular culture, in other words, they reflect the peculiarities of the cultural picture of the world as a refraction of the real picture of the world through the prism of concepts formed on the basis of a person’s ideas. New realities appear and are fixed in the materials of the media, they have a decisive influence on the formation of public views, opinions, on the perception of the surrounding reality and, as a result, on the formation of a cultural picture of the world, which, in turn, determines the way in which an idea is expressed, one or another concept. As noted by Min'jar-Belorucheva (2014), it is thanks to the media that citizens appear as witnesses, observers of political events.

In our view, the study of conceptual political metaphors in discourse is primarily a study of the degree of influence of various linguistic, cultural, social, economic, political and other factors on the national system of conceptual political metaphors. In this perspective, the metaphor appears as the result of a figurative vision of the world and figurative thinking. The subtext of the image, enhancing the "energy" of the journalistic text, increases the effectiveness of its impact on the reader (Ryabkova, 2016, p. 128).

The main goal of political speech is to change the addressee’s ideas about political reality, a kind of preconception of the political world. One of the important means of such re-conceptualization is a metaphorical model, which allows you to either highlight some aspect of the problem, make it more meaningful, or, conversely, divert public attention from it, show some scenario as completely impossible.

Cognitive linguistics analyzes metaphors from the standpoint of metaphorical modeling, the essence of which consists in the disclosure of implicit parallel meanings that are complementary to the explicitly expressed meaning of metaphorical statements. Developments in this field of knowledge affect a fairly wide range of issues, one of which is the analysis of metaphors actively functioning in a political language.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to analyze the morbial metaphors in journalistic texts. Comparative studies of metaphorization can reveal common features in the political metaphorical picture of the world, similarities in the way of thinking of representatives of various linguocultural communities, which allow to state the presence of basic, universal metaphorical models, each of which represents a particular denotative sphere, using vocabulary related to the primary value to a completely different field. Comparison of the laws of metaphorical modeling of the political picture of the world in political discourses of various countries “will allow, on the one hand, better to distinguish between the patterns common to the entire civilized world or some part of it, and on the other, specific features of one or another national political discourse” (Chudinov, 2003, p. 182).

Research Methods

The modern political discourse is characterized by a variety of metaphorical models reflecting modern reality. The most typical sources of metaphorical expansion are areas that were originally the most structured in the person’s view, in his everyday picture of the world (Boldyrev, 2016, p. 38). Thus, in the agitation-political speech of the last century, the metaphorical model “Society is a healthy / sick organism”, which is characteristic not only for the Russian, but also for the American political discourse, became widespread. The images of the patient's body are united by the conceptual vectors of aggressiveness, anxiety, deviations from the natural order of things, which reflects "hopelessness, bad forebodings", "ideas about the irregularity and inadmissibility of the existing situation" (Chudinov, 2001, p. 67). Pragmatic meaning of morbial metaphors can be determined as follows: the economy, like the rest of the political situation in the United States and Russia, and resembles patients who require immediate medical attention, otherwise there may be death. Accordingly, the subjects of political activity are represented as doctors, healers, designed to heal wounds or heal a sick organism.

Numerous studies of the morbial metaphor make it possible to recognize it as “a fact of modern cultural consciousness”, in connection with which, it can be assumed that this phenomenon is not just national, but “more general, if not global” (Shmeleva, 2000, p. 5). According to Murane (2002), “medical” metaphors are used in political discourse to conceptualize, as a rule, social and political phenomena characteristic of a certain stage in the life of society. In other words, the metaphor of the disease is more occasional than systemic.

On the other hand, it is important to emphasize that morbial metaphors (also known as “medical”) are very traditional, in particular, they were actively used in literary-critical articles and journalism of the XIX century. In the middle of the 20th century “medical” metaphors have become linguistic, an evaluation element has come to the fore in meaning, which has led to their preferential use in newspaper and journalistic style (Balashova, 2018).


To describe the metaphorical model “Society is a healthy / sick organism”, this study uses cognitive categories of the frame, slot of the script, borrowed from the theory of knowledge representation. A frame is a description of a typed situation consisting of slots. Slots are elements of a situation that include some part of the frame, some aspect of its concretization. Unlike a frame, a script is a procedural way of representing stereotypical knowledge, which is formulated in terms of an algorithm and is a sequence of situations typical of a particular model.

In accordance with the ideas of modern cognitive semantics, metaphorical modeling is a means of comprehending and evaluating any fragment of reality using scripts, frames and slots belonging to a different conceptual area in the presence of an emotional-semantic component that connects the primary and secondary values ​​of the units covered by this model. .

The morbial metaphor can be represented by the following frames: "Patients and medical personnel", "Types of illness", "Causes of illness", "Symptoms of illness", "Methods of treatment", "Patient's condition".

Consider the frame-slot structure of the “Society is a healthy / sick organism” model in the Russian and American political discourse.

Frame "Patients and medical personnel"

Slot 1.1. Patients

Very often, the economy, political structures, individual regions, sectors of the economy of both Russia and the United States are metaphorically designated as a diseased organism or a patient requiring urgent treatment.

  • America's sick economy will make life difficult for Republicans ...

  • It is time to treat the Russian health care system.

Slot 1.2. Medical staff

If the economy and political situation in Russia and the United States is considered as a patient in need of treatment , then people, parties and other organizations seeking to do something for the country appear in the form of doctors, surgeons , therapists.

  • Doctors have long been aware of the fact that the patient's condition (Germany) is much worse compared to the state of America.

  • The Senate's only physician is on call to restore his party to health.

  • The only doctor of the Senate is on a call to return his party to a healthy state.

  • Putin knows about himself that he is a national hero, but not a surgeon. With his rating, he could have made such an amputation to the society!

Donors also carry their noble mission.

  • Russia is thenet donor” of the world economy: in addition to oil, the best brains and capital flow from it.

Frame "Types of Disease "

When analyzing metaphorical images, it turns out that in modern political discourse different types of illness are constantly attributed to America and Russia. From the point of view of the sphere of violations, two variants of diseases can be distinguished: physical disorder and mental disorder.

Slot 2.1. Physical illness

Often, the government, the economy suffer from infectious diseases such as influenza, colds , fever, plague, leprosy. The scale and spread of the diseases of the political system are given in the texts by means of a metaphor - an epidemic.

  • It seems that only this week the government began to relate to epidemics (in economy) with due seriousness, albeit belatedly.

  • V. Zhirinovsky about military reform: " Now on the ground, the army is being shaken away from the problems like a plague. "

  • The professional participation of experts in a more accurate determination of the diagnosis of the disease that has arisen in the Belarusian-Russian relations is required.

  • If they sneeze in the Balkans, it is given in Moscow; if they cough in Kiev, we run a cold.

The presented metaphors explicate negative associative signs associated with ill health, unnatural functioning of socio-political systems. A diseased organ, an infected person invariably suffers from pain, and is quite vulnerable.

Slot 2.2. Mental illness

In other cases, the mental ill health of subjects of economic and political activity is noted, e.g. Paranoia, hysteria, schizophrenia , etc.

  • A certain amount of guilt falls on the party organizers, who have done too little to protect Mr. Duncan from the paranoid pursuit .

Frame "Causes and pathogens of the disease"

The causes of diseases that swept across America and Russia are often metaphorically the words viruses, allergens, microbes .

Slot 3.1. Infections

  • So, if a default occurs in Argentina or the country is forced to repay debts, the consequences of this “infection” for other regions can be dire.

  • Can we talk about the existence of a new virus in the financial markets? Some economists believe that the new form of financial infection is gaining momentum through the stock exchanges.

  • And then it can be remembered only in 201 7. Of course, if there is no other national allergen.

Frame "Methods of treatment, used tools and drugs"

Political, economic, social relations within society are infected and afflicted with various diseases; recovery and a return to the normal, natural course of things require the immediate adoption of effective measures that can take the patient out of a serious condition.

Slot 4.1. Treatment methods

In the treatment of diseases, injections are used, sometimes intensive or even shock therapy, surgical intervention, anesthesia, or even resuscitation.

  • Have the USA finally found a way to cure its sick economy?

  • In addition to Switzerland, all banks in the world have removed taboos about the provision of data on so-called suspicious bills and large injections.

  • Then the president managed to solve the problem, but only by applying shock therapy during price liberalization.

  • There is a feeling that from time to time G. Zyuganov feels the need to deal with some of his namesake. Recently expelled from the party of Gennady Semigin, now exposes Gennady Seleznev. Such is the "gene therapy" .

Slot 4.2. Medicines

In the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that engulfed the United States and Russia, tablets, pills, and narcotic substances are used.

  • Now they (economists) have information and can decide in the choice of drugs.

  • As a rule, only large companies can afford loans. Hence the lack of credit for home purchase. And it could be a panacea for our country.

  • Many in Belarus have long understood that cheap gas (of Russia) is turning into a specific drug for the economy.

Frame "The patient's condition"

In many contexts, when metaphor is deployed, it turns out that treating a patient either helps, or does not, the patient either recovers or dies. Often, treatment methods do not bring the expected results, which is fatal.

Slot 5.1. Incurable Diseases / Patient Death

  • But to bury the Russian Federation is not in our interests. This is primarily an economic space where Russian goods are still competitive.

Slot 5.2. Recovery of the patient

As part of this slot, a number of metaphorical words of use are distinguished, which carry a positive pragmatic potential.

  • Hatred of wealthy citizens is retreating, the recovery process in society is underway to adopt a new social stratum.

Sometimes a patient may develop a strong immunity to the disease;

It seems that through trade relations Europe has developed an immunity to the (economic) recession in America.


The analyzed examples testify to the underlined metaphor of the language of modern politics. It is obvious that metaphors do not arise by themselves and the activation of one or another metaphorical model to a certain extent depends on the state of the economy and the country as a whole. During periods of crisis and depression, Russian and American economic and political reality cannot be perceived otherwise than as a sick human organism, which allows us to speak about the typical perception of the modern world today as being physically and mentally unhealthy. At the same time, it is significant that in the American media, the morbial metaphor is most often used in its “external” form, that is, to describe social diseases in other countries, whereas our press especially actively exposes the metaphorical diseases of the native country (Chomsky, 2017).

In many cases, the analog translation of the English metaphor and its literal translation are essentially the same (the internal form of the English and Russian metaphors coincide). The parallelism of form can be explained by the fact that many English words are traced in Russian terminology, and by the fact that comparable images can appear in the process of autonomous development of languages.


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07 August 2019

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Denisova*, I., & Telesheva, I. (2019). Peculiarities Of Translation And Metaphoric Modelling In Journalistic Texts. In & Z. Marina Viktorovna (Ed.), Journalistic Text in a New Technological Environment: Achievements and Problems, vol 66. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 155-162). Future Academy.