Translation Of Meteorological Metaphors (On The Material Of English And Russian Languages)


The article analyzes English and Russian meteorological concepts. More than 1000 language units were used to identify nominative concepts and mechanisms for forming meteorological metaphors and determine their projection onto the area of ​​human feelings and emotions. The problem of translation of meteorological metaphors, transfer of metaphors into a different language picture of the world is understudied. The interaction of these conceptual spheres is due to the universality of meteorological and emotional concepts. Translation of nominative and metaphoric constructions describing the concepts STORM, RAIN, HEAT and COLD requires careful analysis of language means and selection of translation techniques for transmitting the author's idea. It was found that the most popular ways used for translating meteorological lexemes are as follows: word-for-word translation, lexical, syntactic and stylistic transformations. The data presented in the Tables clearly shows the frequency of one or another translation method depending on the concept representation. The analysis of nominative expressions and their translation correspondences made it possible to establish verbatim as a dominant translation method which is due to the universal nature of natural phenomena. The weather as one of the basic areas of human life penetrates into all areas at the level of categorical and conceptual interaction. The lexical transformation preserves national features of the concepts. Interaction between WEATHER and EMOTION conceptual fields was identified. It is reflected when translating into Russian. The interaction helps identify mechanisms for conceptualizing emotions, gives knowledge about linguistic pictures of the world of English and Russian communities.

Keywords: Meteorological conceptmetaphortranslation methods


Weather is one of the basic spheres of human life, and the meteorological picture of the world is a universal phenomenon reflected in all languages. The constituents of the meteorological picture of the world are nominative and metaphorical concepts. Interaction between WEATHER and EMOTION conceptual fields was identified. It is reflected when translating into Russian. The interaction helps identify mechanisms for conceptualizing emotions, gives knowledge about linguistic pictures of the world of English and Russian communities.

Problem Statement

The translation of nominative constructions describing meteorological concepts is understudied. The problem of translating meteorological metaphors, choosing the best way to transfer them into a different linguistic picture of the world is understudied.

To translate metaphors, it is necessary to analyze language means and the compositional structure of the work, select translation techniques for conveying the meaning and features of the author’s style, and preserve the aesthetic function for conveying the author’s idea.

Research Questions

Having compared original texts and their translations, the dominant translation technique of the meteorological metaphor formed as a result of interaction of English and Russian anthropocentric and meteorological vocabulary was identified.

Purpose of the Study

Based on the analysis of translation of linguistic units describing English meteorological concepts, the article aims to determine dominant means for transmitting them into Russian and establish differences and similarities of meteorological pictures of the world in the English and Russian languages.

Research Methods

The following methods were used: theoretical analysis, systematization and generalization, contextual analysis, linguistic stylistic analysis, conceptual analysis, transformation of the source text and quantitative analysis.


Aristotle's Poetics describes the theory of metaphor which is a theory of hierarchical types. For a long time, the “multidimensional model” of metaphor has been considered as a means of expressiveness (Lakoff & Johnson, 2003). Within the cognitive-communicative approach, the study of metaphor as a means of human communication is directly linked to the cultural experience of a native speaker. For the representatives of a single culture, verbalization of basic conceptual metaphors is a natural and imperceptible phenomenon. Verbalization of basic concepts in different culture (Tabakowska, 1993) seems to be problematic. The translator must decide whether to translate it and how to do it.

For the theory and practice of translation, distinction between conventional (erased, linguistic) metaphors and author’s (individual, speech) metaphors is crucial. When translating conventional metaphors, one should strive to find a common analogue in the translation language, while author's metaphors should be translated as close as possible to the source ones. The main task is to preserve the meaning and style of the author. When translating conventional metaphors, the translator has a wider field for imagination (Andreeva, 2014). This is due to the fact that the system meanings of words include literal meanings that relate to specific contexts where these meanings are realized. When the word is used outside the box, its new verbal environment does not confirm the generally accepted meaning and forms a basis for interpreting the new meaning (Gvishiani, 2018).

Alekseeva (2004) recommends taking into account structural characteristics of metaphors (a part of speech, a metaphorical context) and semantic relations between the figurative and subject plan, taking into account the degree of individualization. The choice of translation methods depends on various factors: functions of the metaphor in the text, stylistic considerations, rules and norms of the text type, translation tasks, etc. (Sdobnikov & Petrova, 2006).

There are many approaches to translation methods. The most extensive classification of translation methods belongs to Shemetov (1999) who describes lexical, syntactic, and stylistic transformations, literal translation techniques, loan translation, equivalency and explication. Based on this classification, we analyzed methods used for translating STORM, RAIN, HEAT, COLD meteorological concepts from English into Russian. As mentioned above, metaphorical representatives of these concepts are difficult to render. They result from the interaction of conjugated conceptual spheres MAN and WEATHER. The human, his inner world, ethical norms, aesthetic ideals, emotions, physical actions, complex cognitive processes are in the focus of attention of cognitive linguistics seeking to correlate language forms with their mental categories (Selemeneva, 2012). The weather is not created by human activities. It is perceived through the prism of its emotional sphere and is reflected in the language pictures of the world of the English and Russian languages.

Meteorological concept STORM/БУРЯ

The concept STORM, like all meteorological concepts, has a multi-layered structure. Analysis of lexemes storm , wind, air, gust, draught, hurricane, tornado (Browning & Litt, 1978) identified the following translation correspondences in Russian. It is interesting to note that the English concept STORM has the Russian equivalent БУРЯ.

Hereinafter, the data presented demonstrate the prevailing type of translation methods for each meteorological concept (Table 01 ).

Table 1 -
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The analysis of translation of STORM into Russian allows us to conclude that word-for-word translation (89%) is the main translation method, since all the examples are cases of primary nomination characterized by a similar connotative orientation.

Let us consider examples of verbalization of this concept in Russian.

Table 2 -
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In transferred use, the intensional of the lexeme storm coincides with that of the Russian lexeme where the lexeme storm means a restless environment. It is quite natural that they coincide at the level of external meaning (Table 02 ).

We identified phraseological expressions used by translators, but unlike metaphors, translation of phraseological units has its own characteristics. The translator has to choose in favor of the stable image of the translation language, the image that has developed in the language consciousness of the source language. In the first case, he chooses between the concepts that are not in the overlapping zone.

Metaphoric representations of concepts do not coincide in the languages undergoing lexical transformations in 57% of cases due to the peculiarities of concept verbalization.

Meteorological concept RAIN/ДОЖДЬ

We have identified nominal lexemes used for nomination of this concept in English: rain, shower, flood (Browning & Litt, 1978). Table 3 contains a summary of the analysis results for translation correspondences of these lexemes in the Russian language.

Table 3 -
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When translating the representatives of the concept RAIN in the direct meaning, preference is given to their literal correlates (65%). According to meteorological dictionaries, SHOWER is interpreted as precipitation. A similar interpretation is characteristic of scientific discourse. If we do not adhere to a strict lexicographic description of SHOWER, the share of correspondences could be 97%.

Table 4 -
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As can be seen from Tables 3 and 4 , when translating lexemes that nominate RAIN in the metaphorical meaning, the main translation technique is word-for-word translation (44%). Its dominance over other translation methods speaks for the systemic nature of metaphorization and the identity of metaphorical thinking. Weather conditions as a universal basis for the transfer in the process of metaphorization form similar English and Russian language pictures of the world (Kadachieva & Ulakaeva, 2016).

Meteorological concept HEAT/ЖАРА

HEAT in the English picture of the world is nominated by the following nominal lexemes: heat, warmth, draught, glow, summer (Browning & Litt, 1978). As a result of the analysis of lexicographic sources and contextological data, we identified the following correspondences of direct nominative meanings in the source and target languages (Table 05 ):

Table 5 -
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When translating lexical representatives in the direct sense, the main translation technique is word-for-word translation (82%) because the weather is related to the basic level concepts (Table 06 ).

Table 6 -
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Пыл, жар and пламя can be considered as literal translations of heat due to the hypo-hyperonymic relationship within this semantic group. The metaphorical transfer of heat from the subject domain to the emotional domain of is predetermined by the presence of Russian meanings similar to the English ones: “strong internal excitement, ardor, passionate impulse, zeal”. Therefore, this group of examples demonstrates the literal translation technique. The overwhelming majority of meteorological metaphors with lexemes included in the HEAT concept are literally translated (88%).

Meteorological concept COLD/ХОЛОД

This meteorological concept can be nominated by nominal lexemes (Table 07 ) cold, coldness, coolness, chill, frost, snow, sleet, winter (Browning & Litt, 1978).

Table 7 -
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As in the previous concepts, the meanings of meteorological phenomena are identical in the languages, and the share of literal translation cases was 89% (Table 08 ).

Table 8 -
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As you can see, in the English language, the meteorological metaphors within the COLD concept are represented by a larger range than in the Russian language. The famous “coldness” of the English people is confirmed by diverse lexical representations of this concept. At the same time, quantitative indicators do not affect conceptual differences between the English and Russian languages – the main translation technique is word-for-word translation (70%).


It is generally accepted that metaphors are translated by recreating source language metaphors in the target language picture of the world, where there are often no ready-made correspondences. Therefore, it is necessary to search for new translation decisions. The procedure for analysis of translation correspondences makes it possible to determine the degree of interaction and interpenetration of concepts.

The analysis carried out on the material of more than 1000 linguistic units representing meteorological concepts in the English and Russian languages made it possible to trace mechanisms for creating meteorological metaphors and their projection on the area of human feelings and emotions. The data obtained indicate the frequency of use of a particular translation method depending on concept representation.

The comparison results allow for conclusion that the word-for-word translation method is popular among the translators: STORM - 89%, RAIN - 65%, HEAT - 82% and COLD - 89%. The lexical transformation method is much less popular: STORM - 8%, RAIN - 34%, HEAT - 8% and COLD - 8%. The data speak for identical perception of the environment by English and Russian speakers, their ability to similarly categorize information received from the outside world.

When complex cognitive mechanisms (conceptualization) are used (Shafikov, 2007), the translation process is different. The word-for-word translation technique is much less applicable to STORM (27%) and RAIN (44%0 concepts. It is used for translating megaconcepts HEAT (88%) and COLD (70%) which do not differ in their semantic composition from their Russian counterparts.

Lexical transformations are used for translating lexemes verbalizing STORM (57%). It is due to a variety of lexemes that structure this concept in English and ethnocultural factors.


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28 December 2019

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society

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Ashurbekova, T., Omarova, P., Aidieva, S., & Kadachieva*, K. (2019). Translation Of Meteorological Metaphors (On The Material Of English And Russian Languages). In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1423-1430). Future Academy.