Approaches to translating English idioms into foreign languages

Božena Horváthová, Constantine the Philosopher University, Slovakia


In the following paper the attention is focused on the complexity involved in the translation of idioms. First, emphasis is put on the review of the characteristics of idioms and fixed expressions across languages. The study is based on comparative research of translating English idioms into foreign languages according to different translation strategies. The choice of appropriate and feasible translation strategies is discussed. Further, the prevailing translation theories and procedures proposed by well-known authors are summarized, which are used as a framework by translation practitioners when overcoming the difficulties they encounter. Recent studies which reflect current and highly valued theories of translation, and influence the practice of translation in general are also examined, while the questions how different translators cope with the aspects of idioms while translating idiomatic texts are answered. Culturally specific and thus the pragmatic meaning of idioms within a translation process should be more considered than the literal meaning.


translating idioms; translation strategies; equivalence; relevance theory; functional equivalence theory; skopos theory; pragmatics