AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 1. February 2023                  Pp. 70-100

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Cultural Filtering of Metaphor Translating: A Cognitive Science Perspective

Mohammed I. Alghbban[i]
Department of Modern Languages and Translation
College of Languages and Translation, King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding Author:

 Zouheir Maalej
Independent Researcher
Retired Professor from King Saud University
Mail: 188, Al-Jareed Road, Sakiet Ezzit, 3032, Sfax, Tunisia


Received:11/21/2022         Accepted:01/22/2023                 Published: 02/24/2023


The driving force of the current research runs as follows: Since metaphor is a carrier of thought, culture will be argued to act as a filter in metaphor translating, precluding unexpected, unfamiliar, and shocking knowledge both linguistically and conceptually from being smuggled into the target language and culture.  The study aims to show that metaphor translating can be best dealt with from a cultural perspective, isolating cultural knowledge as a guide for decision-making in translating. The significance of the study lies in the fact that metaphor translating should not be monitored by ready-made procedures but should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with consequences for ready-made procedures and new paths followed in translating. The study will seek to address the following question: How does cultural filtering take affect metaphor translating? The article adopts a three-step framework: (i) measuring cultural knowledge’s compatibility, or lack of it, carried by Source Language metaphor and its target language translation, (ii) triggering of cultural filtering in case of incompatibility, and (iii) comparing cultures based on Hiraga’s four-scenario scheme to assess the position of the two cultures in presence. Cultural filtering will be illustrated through concrete examples in disciplines such as politics, economics, and advertising across English and Arabic and written and pictorial metaphors.
Keywords: cognitive linguistics, cultural filtering, metaphor translating, re-conceptualizing, smuggling knowledge

Cite as: Alghbban, M. I., & Maalej, Z. (2023). Cultural Filtering of Metaphor Translating: A Cognitive Science Perspective.
Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (1). 70-100.


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Received: 11/21/2022   
Accepted: 01/22/2023 
Published: 02/24/2023

Mohamed Alghbban is an associate professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. His major is in Modern Hebrew Language and Translation.  He currently teaches Modern Hebrew Language and Translation at King Saud University. He published in several international journals. His research interests include metaphor translating and cognitive linguistics. ORCID:

Zouheir A. Maalej is a professor of cognitive linguistics. He contributed many journal articles, and book chapters, and presented talks at many international conferences. He edited a volume that was published by the University of Manouba in 2005 on metaphor, cognition, and culture. He also co-edited (with Ning Yu) a volume on outer body parts and their role in embodiment. ORCID: