Translators’ agency in translating economic metaphors in European Union institutions: the case of the European Central Bank

Luciana Tcaciuc, Vladislav MacKevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explores the translators’ agency and translation norms in institutional translation, namely at the European Central Bank (E.C.B.), illustrated by metaphors translated from English into Romanian. Two methods are used in the study: (1) quantitative and qualitative analysis of a corpus of texts produced at the E.C.B. – around 2 million tokens each for the English and the Romanian language version sub-corpora and (2) ethnographic observation. The strategies employed for translating metaphorical expressions belonging to the conceptual metaphor THE ECONOMY IS A MACHINE are used to illustrate the choices translators make. The findings of the study show that the translators use a number of strategies, from retaining the metaphor and the metaphorical expression to completely demetaphorising the expressions. Their choices are influenced by internal requirements of the institution (e.g. using translation memory tools) as well as by the linguistic norms and language conventions of Romanian – the target language, the formal style of the documents, and the expectations of the target audience. Moreover, different expressions in English are translated using the same expression in Romanian, which shows that the Romanian economic vocabulary is still developing and this fact also influences translation choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-433
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2017


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