Most people understand the importance of translation when it comes to issues such as translating medical documents for cancer research or technical documents that can help ensure workers follow safety procedures in every country. When it comes to the translation of literary works, however, some people fail to understand the need. Does everyone in Australia really need to understand what a French author wrote about two centuries ago? On the surface, it might seem inconsequential. But when you dig deeper, the importance becomes clear.
Literary Translation Opens Doors
Translation expands and deepens our world, our consciousness, in countless, indescribable ways.
Literary translators open doors to other worlds. They take a piece of work and unravel the confusion so that people can look into another place and time. Well-known Spanish to English literary translator Edith Grossman says, “[Translation] expands and deepens our world, our consciousness, in countless, indescribable ways.” Take for example The Diary of Anne Frank. Anyone who has read this classic piece has felt the fear, trauma and ultimate power of what the author went through while hiding from the Nazi regime for 25 months.
Some people may forget that the original text was written in Dutch. According to History.com, the diary “has been translated into almost 70 languages and is one of the most widely read accounts of the Holocaust.” Without the people who took the time to translate the raw and real emotions of the ordeal, the world would be less connected to the experiences of those who suffered during the Holocaust.
Literary Translation Poses Challenges
On BookBrinch.com, Nicholas Clee explains, “By conveying human rights issues, the experiences of the marginalized, and elements of common humanity, translation encourages a greater understanding between different communities and cultures.” Literary translators have a difficult job of conveying the tone of the piece. They must find the dramatic and creative element that inspired the work and bring it into a place where someone from another culture can feel what the original author intended them to feel. This can be difficult for works of poetry that follow a specific pattern, such as a limerick or a haiku. Finding words in other languages to meet the meaning and the composition can be a challenge. Humour, irony and cultural practices pose dilemmas that must be overcome.
Literary Translation Requires Skill
Those who go into literary translation need a skill set that goes far beyond linguistics. They must also be able to understand and write prose or poetry in the language into which the text is being translated.
Choosing the Right Translation Partner
The need for translation continues to grow, even beyond literature. For businesses who want to extend their reach, to people who want to expand their world, translation is the key that opens the right doors. If your business is in need of translation services, contact us. We have over 2500 handpicked translators who specialize in not only the language you need, but in the industry you need it for. They have the confidence and the ability you need to be understood no matter where you are.