Adding synesthetic metaphors in English-Ukrainian translations of fiction


  • Olha Zhulavska* Sumy State University, Ukraine
  • Vladyslava Kulish Sumy State University, Ukraine
  • Maryna Chernyk Sumy State University, Ukraine



addition, conventionality degree , cross-sensory transfer, synesthetic metaphor, translation


This article combines analytical tools of cognitive translation analysis and affordances of corpus linguistics to inquire into the translation procedure of adding synesthetic metaphoric descriptions in English-Ukrainian translations of fiction. The research is based on 40 examples of addition, extracted manually from Ukrainian translations of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Hours by Michael Cunningham, and The Secret History and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. All the 40 synesthetic metaphoric descriptions introduced into Ukrainian translations correspond to the source-text non-metaphoric descriptions, though in theory, added synesthetic metaphors could refer to a point in the original where there is no text at all. All of the added synesthetic metaphoric descriptions are based on the TOUCH source domain, which supports Ullmann’s (1957) claim that TOUCH, being the most accessible sensory mode, is a predominant source of cross-sensory transfer. Analysis of results suggests that the translators’ choice to add synesthetic metaphoric descriptions to the target text is influenced by the higher conventionality degree of such descriptions compared to that of the direct non-metaphoric translation equivalents of the non-metaphoric source-text material.

Disclosure Statement

The authors reported no potential conflicts of interest.

* Corresponding author: Olha Zhulavska,



Download data is not yet available.


Alves, F., Pagano, A., Neumann, S., Steiner, E., & Hansen-Schirra, S. (2010). Translation units and grammatical shifts. American Translators Association Scholarly Monograph Series, 109–142.

Baron-Cohen, S., Burt, L., Smith-Laittan, F., Harrison, J., & Bolton, P. (1996). Synaesthesia: Prevalence and Familiality. Perception, 25(9), 1073–1079.

Cytowic, ‪R. E. (1997). Synaesthesia: Phenomenology and neuropsychology – A review of current knowledge. In J. E. Harrison & S. Baron-Cohen (Eds.), Synaesthesia: Classic and contemporary readings (pp. 17–39). Wiley-Blackwell.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Day, S. (1996). Synesthesia and Synesthetic Metaphors. PSYCHE, 2(32), 1–19. Retrieved from

Deignan, A., Gabrys, D., & Solska, A. (1997). Teaching English metaphors using cross-linguistic awareness-raising activities. ELT Journal, 51(4), 352–360.

Duan, H. D., & Gao, Li. (2014). Construction of Sensory Transfer Model of Gustatory and Olfactory-Synaesthetic Metaphor (GO-STM) and English-Chinese Comparative Study. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 04(02), 290–300.

Grac v. 17. (n.d.). The General Regionally Annotated Corpus of Ukrainian. Retrieved from

Halverson, S. L. (2010). ‘Cognitive translation studies: Developments in theory and method’. In G. M. Shreve & E. Angelone (Eds.), Translation and cognition (pp. 349–370). Van Haren Publishing.

Jankowiak, K., & Lehka-Paul, O. (2021). Novel metaphor translation is modulated by translation direction. Applied Psycholinguistics, 43, 177-192.

Kenney, J. F, & Keeping, E. S. (1948). Mathematics of Statistics. New York: Van Nostrand.

Kovalenko, L., & Martynyuk, A. (2018). ‘English Container Metaphors of Emotions in Ukrainian Translations’. Advanced Education, 5(10), 190–197.

Kövecses, Z. (2002/2010). Metaphor: A Practical Introduction, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, USA.

Kövecses, Z. (2005). Metaphor in Culture: Universality and Variation (Illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Krings, H. P. (1986). Was in den Köpfen von Übersetzern vorgeht: Eine empirische Untersuchung zur Struktur des Übersetzungsprozesses an fortgeschrittenen . . . Beiträge zur Linguistik) (German Edition). G. Narr.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors We Live By (1st ed.). University of Chicago Press.

Langacker, R. W. (2008). Cognitive Grammar: A Basic Introduction (Illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press.

MWOD. (n.d.). The Merriam-Webster.Com Dictionary. Retrieved from

Newmark, P. (1988). A Textbook of Translation. Prentice Hall.

Papadoudi, D. (2010). Conceptual Metaphor in English Popular Technology and Greek Translation. M. Olohan, Ed.. Amsterdam University Press.

Preminger, A., Warnke, F. J., & Hardison, O. B. (1974). Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Enlarged ed.). Princeton University Press.

Ramachandran, V. S., & Hubbard, E. M. (2001). Synaesthesia – a window into perception, thought and language. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8(12), 3–34.

Risku, H. (2013). Knowledge management and translation. Handbook of Translation Studies, 4, 92–97.

Simner, J. (2007). Beyond perception: Synaesthesia as a psycholinguistic phenomenon. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(1), 23–29.

Schäffner, Ch. (2004). ‘Metaphor and translation: some implications of a cognitive approach’. Journal of Pragmatics, 36(7), 1253–1269.

Shen, Y. (1997). Cognitive constraints on poetic figures’. Cognitive Linguistics, 8(1), 33–72.

Shuttleworth, M. (2017). Studying Scientific Metaphor in Translation. Taylor & Francis.

Strik-Lievers, F. (2016). Synaesthetic Metaphors in translation. In V. Piunno & R. Simone (eds.), Studi e saggi linguistici (2017) (pp. 43–68).

Tirkkonen-Condit, S. (2002). Metaphoric Expressions in Translation Processes. Across Languages and Cultures, 3(1), 101–116.

Toury, G. (1995). Descriptive Translation Studies – and beyond (Benjamins Translation Library). John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Ullman, S., 1957. The Principles of Semantics: A Linguistic Approach To Meaning. (2nd Edition). Basil Blackwell.

Werning, M., Fleischhauer, J., & Beşeoğlu, H. (2006). The Cognitive Accessibility of Synaesthetic Metaphors. In R. Sun & N. Miyake (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2365–2370). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Williams, J. M. (1976). Synaesthetic Adjectives: A Possible Law of Semantic Change. Language, 52(2), 461.

Yu, N. (1992). A possible semantic law in synesthetic transfer: Evidence from Chinese. The SECOL Review, 16(1), 20–40.

Yu, N. (2003). Synesthetic metaphor: A cognitive perspective. Journal of Literary Semantics, 32(1), 19–33.

Zhao, Q., & Huang, Ch-R. (2015). A Corpus-Based Study on Synaesthetic Adjectives in Modern Chinese. Springer International Publishing.

Zhao, Q., Huang, Ch-R., & Ahrens, K. (2019). ‘Directionality of linguistic synesthesia in Mandarin: A corpus-based study’. Lingua, 232, 102744.


ADUL. (n.d). Academic Dictionary of Ukrainian Language. Academic Dictionary of Ukrainian Language. Retrieved from

Cunningham, M. (2000). The Hours: A Novel (Picador Modern Classics, 1) 1st ed. Picador.

Cunningham, M. (2017). Hodyny [The Hours: A Novel (Picador Modern Classics, 1)]. Klub Simeinoho Dozvillia.”

Multitran Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Ng, C. (2018). Usiudy Zhevriuiut Pozhezhi [Little Fires Everywhere] [E-book]. Klub Simeinoho Dozvillia. Retrieved fromусюди

OUP. (n.d.). | Oxford University Press. Definitions, Meanings, Synonyms, and Grammar by Oxford Dictionary on Lexico.Com. Retrieved from

Tartt, D. (1992). The Secret History. Alfred A Knopf.

Tartt, D. (2016). Shchyhol [The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)] [E-book]. Klub Simeinoho Dozvillia”. Retrieved fromтарт

Tartt, D. (2017). Taiemna Istoriia [The Secret History] [E-book]. Klub Simejnogo Dozvilla. Retrieved fromтарт





Vol. 11

How to Cite

Zhulavska, O., Kulish, V., & Chernyk , M. (2024). Adding synesthetic metaphors in English-Ukrainian translations of fiction. East European Journal of Psycholinguistics , 11(1).