Translating English Idioms into French: The Interplay between Flexibility and Creativity - Akiri

Akiri

Revue Akiri

ISSN-L : 2958-2814
ISSN-P : 3006-306X

Translating English Idioms into French: The Interplay between Flexibility and Creativity

Publication Date : 31-03-2023


Auteur(s) :

Mamoutou COULIBALY.


Volume/Numéro :
Volume 2
,
Issue 1
(03 - 2023)



Résumé :

A controversial aspect of investigations into idioms has been their flexibility and creative use for achieving stylistic effects. While much of previous work has considered frozenness as a feature of idioms, this property arguably gives rise to their creative variability through lexico-grammatical transformations. This qualitative study was designed to describe and compare the interplay between literal and semi-literal English idioms translated into French. Two markedly differing patterns emerged from the analysis of the two groups of idioms under study. Literal idioms pose no particular translation difficulty. In stark contrast, the subset of semi-literal idioms with a partial transfer of meaning and lexical modification is more challenging than literal idioms. More notably, shorter, coalesced semi-literal idioms stand out as particularly more challenging. This comparison reveals interesting correlation between idiom translation difficulty and the extent to which their internal composition is shorter or longer, fairly transparent, and therefore flexible at syntactic and semantic levels. The study underlines the strong persistence of idiom translation difficulties in non-native translation. In addition to the contribution to translation practice, this study helps understand how idiom flexibility can be conceptualized.


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