Pragmatics and Cognition 28 (2):347-375 (2021)
AbstractIt is generally acknowledged that onomatopoeia poses challenges for translation. However, there is little research into the translation of onomatopoeia in Pragmatics. This study seeks to examine the nature of onomatopoeia and its implications for translation from the perspective of relevance theory, addressing, in particular, the following questions: Can notions from pragmatics help to account for the perceived challenges involved in translating onomatopoeia? Would the showing-meaning nature affect the translation of onomatopoeia? What other factors result in difficulties in translating onomatopoeia and why? To this end, a corpus-based analysis of onomatopoeia was conducted using user-generated data provided by Cookpad Inc. Findings show that the relevance-theoretic notions of the showing-meaning continuum and perceptual resemblance can indeed help account for the perceived challenges in translating onomatopoeia. Findings also show that stylistic aspects, such as types of expressions and text types, also impact on the translation of onomatopoeia.
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