Metaphor Translation in Science Fiction: Some Implications of the Genre

Main Article Content

Sum Wong


This article scrutinises science fiction as a genre and discusses the generic implications for metaphor translation in science fiction. Taking science fiction as an example, it examines three crucial facets of metaphor translation (form, content, and pattern) and demonstrates through concrete examples how the consideration of genre could shed new light on metaphor translation research. It argues that genre as a context, heretofore insufficiently recognised, should be brought to the forefront of metaphor translation research, and suggests how further research could be carried out.

Article Details

How to Cite
Wong, S. “Metaphor Translation in Science Fiction: Some Implications of the Genre”. Linguaculture, vol. 14, no. 2, Dec. 2023, pp. 13-31, doi:10.47743/lincu-2023-2-0339.
Literary Genres in Translation
Author Biography

Sum Wong, Hong Kong Baptist University

Sum WONG is pursuing a PhD in Translation Studies at the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies of Hong Kong Baptist University, where he focuses on metaphor translation in contemporary Chinese science fiction. His research interests cut across the disciplines of Metaphor Studies, Literary Studies, and Translation Studies, including but not limited to metaphor translation, literary translation, translation criticism, bibliometric research, and digital humanities. He is also a poet and a literary translator.


Abell, Catherine. “Genre, Interpretation and Evaluation.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. 115, 2015, pp. 25-40.

Ahrens, Kathleen, and Siaw-Fong Chung. “Metaphor in Chinese.” The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics, edited by Chu-Ren Huang et al., Routledge, 2019, pp. 364-78.

Aloisio, Loïc. “Translating Chinese Science Fiction: The Importance of Neologism, Coined Words and Paradigms.” Translating Science Fiction, Translation in Science Fiction, special issue of Journal of Translation Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, 2019, pp. 97-115.

Altman, Rick. “A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre.” Cinema Journal, vol. 23, no. 3, 1984, pp. 6-18.

Andolfatto, Lorenzo, and James St. André. “Introduction.” Translating Science Fiction, Translation in Science Fiction, special issue of Journal of Translation Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1-6.

Askehave, Inger, and John M. Swales. “Genre Identification and Communicative Purpose: A Problem and a Possible Solution.” Applied Linguistics, vol. 22, no. 2, 2001, pp. 195-212.

Bould, Mark. “Pulp SF and its Others, 1918-39.” Science Fiction: A Literary History, edited by Roger Luckhurst, British Library Publishing, 2017, pp. 102-29.

Bould, Mark, and Sherryl Vint. The Routledge Concise History of Science Fiction. Routledge. 2011.

Boyd, Richard. “Metaphor and Theory Change: What is “Metaphor” a Metaphor for?.” Metaphor and Thought, edited by Andrew Ortony, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 481-532.

Brooke-Rose, Christine. A Grammar of Metaphor. Secker & Warburg. 1958.

Carston, Robyn. “Relevance Theory and Metaphor.” The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language, edited by Elena Semino and Zsófia Demjén, Routledge, 2017, pp. 42-55.

Chandler, Daniel. “An Introduction to Genre Theory.” Aberystwyth University, 1997, pp. 1-15, Accessed 12 May 2023.

Currie, Gregory. Arts and Minds. Oxford University Press. 2004.

Dancygier, Barbara. “Figurativeness, Conceptual Metaphor, and Blending.” The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language, edited by Elena Semino and Zsófia Demjén, Routledge, 2017, pp. 28-41.

DeFrancis, John. Visible Speech: The Diverse Oneness of Writing Systems. University of Hawaii Press. 1989.

Deignan, Alice, et al. Figurative Language, Genre and Register. Cambridge University Press. 2013.

Dorst, Aletta G.. “Textual Patterning of Metaphor.” The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language, edited by Elena Semino and Zsófia Demjén, Routledge, 2017, pp. 178-92.

Evnine, Simon J.. “‘But Is It Science Fiction?’: Science Fiction and a Theory of Genre.” Midwest Studies In Philosophy, vol. 39, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-28.

Fauconnier, Gilles, and Mark Turner. The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. Basic Books. 2002.

Friend, Stacie. “Fiction as a Genre.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. 112, 2012, pp. 179-209.

Gentner, Dedre. “Are Scientific Analogies Metaphors?.” Metaphor: Problems and Perspectives, edited by David S. Miall, Harvester Press, 1982, pp. 106-32.

Goatly, Andrew. The Language of Metaphors. Routledge. 1997.

Hanff, William. “Fiktions des Wissenschaft – Is Science Fiction Translatable? Or Is Translation a Science Fiction?.” Flusser Studies, vol. 30, 2020, pp. 1-8.

Hong, Wenjie, and Caroline Rossi. “The Cognitive Turn in Metaphor Translation Studies: A Critical Overview.” Journal of Translation Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, 2021, pp. 83-115.

Hoosain, Rumjahn. “Psychological Reality of the Word in Chinese.” Language Processing in Chinese, edited by Hsuan-Chih Chen and Ovid J.L. Tzeng, North-Holland, 1992, pp. 111-30.

Koller, Veronika. “Metaphor Clusters, Metaphor Chains: Analysing the Multifunctionality of Metaphor in Text.”, vol. 5, 2003, pp. 115-34.

Kövecses, Zoltán. “Conceptual Metaphor Theory.” The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language, edited by Elena Semino and Zsófia Demjén, Routledge, 2017, pp. 13-27.

Lakoff, George. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. University of Chicago Press. 1987.

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphor We Live By. University of Chicago Press. 1980.

Liu, Cixin. 三体 [Three-Body]. Chongqing Publishing Group, 2008.

Liu, Ken, translator. The Three-Body Problem. By Cixin Liu, Head of Zeus, 2015.

Luckhurst, Roger. Science Fiction. Polity Press. 2005.

Nichols, Ryan, et al. “Toward a Science of Science Fiction: Applying Quantitative Methods to Genre Individuation.” Scientific Study of Literature, vol. 4, no. 1, 2014, pp. 25-45.

Merakchi, Khadidja, and Margaret Rogers. “The Translation of Culturally Bound Metaphors in the Genre of Popular Science Articles: A Corpus-Based Case Study from Scientific American Translated into Arabic.” Intercultural Pragmatic, vol. 10, no. 2, 2013, pp. 341-72.

Miller, Carolyn R.. “Genre as Social Action.” Quarterly Journal of Speech, vol. 70, no. 2, 1984, pp. 151-67.

Muñoz Martín, Ricardo, et al., editors. Advances in Cognitive Translation Studies. Springer. 2021.

Reynolds, Kimberley. Children’s Literature: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2011.

Richards, I.A.. The Philosophy of Rhetoric. Oxford University Press. 1936.

Schäffner, Christina. “Metaphor and Translation: Some Implications of a Cognitive Approach.” Journal of Pragmatics, vol. 36, 2004, pp. 1253-69.

Semino, Elena. Metaphor in Discourse. Cambridge University Press. 2008.

Shuttleworth, Mark. “Translation Studies and Metaphor Studies: Possible Paths of Interaction between Two Well-Established Disciplines.” Tradurre Figure/Translating Figurative Language, edited by Donna R. Miller and Enrico Monti, Bononia University Press, 2014, pp. 53-65.

Shuttleworth, Mark, et al. “Studying Patterns of Metaphor and Their Translation: Breaking through an Analytical Logjam?.” Advancing Translation Studies, European Society for Translation Studies 10th Congress, 22 June 2022, Oslo, Video-Recorded Online Presentation.

Sperber, Dan, and Deirdre Wilson. Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Blackwell. 1986.

Stockwell, Peter. The Poetics of Science Fiction. Longman. 2000.

Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre, edited by Gerry Canavan, Peter Lang. 2016.

Swales, John M.. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Setting. Cambridge University Press. 1990.

Terrone, Enrico. “Science Fiction as a Genre.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 79, no. 1, 2021, pp. 16-29.

Wang, Ben Pin-Yun, et al. “Linguistic Metaphor Identification in Chinese.” Metaphor Identification in Multiple Languages: MIPVU Around the World, edited by Susan Nacey et al., John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2019, pp. 247-65.

Woodstein, B. J.. Translation and Genre. Cambridge University Press. 2022.