Literary Translations A Big Challenge!

Last Updated On: March 14, 2018

inTranslation Tips

Challenges Of Literal Translations

A literary translation is harder than you may have thought as it is a creative piece of work which is translated from one language to another. Literature is a verbal language which is particularly subjected to linguistic hurdles. It differs from painting, music, dance or sculpture, because literary work is really only accessible to those who really know the language the literary work is written in.  A literary translation is the translation of plays, poetry, literary texts and books, as well as novels, poems, songs, short stories, and rhymes.

In a literary translation, language becomes something that’s a little more than just a tool of communication for social purposes. When a literary work is written it involves a complex process where specific imagery is used as a creative tool. This makes it particularly difficult to translate directly into a new language.

Translating poetry can be a big challenge because the poem is written in such a way that it is conveying a very special message created by the poet with a very special set of symbols which may be almost impossible for a translator to translate exactly. This type of literary translation is harder than you may have thought. The translator has to face the challenge of being able to fully understand and replicate the message of the poet. A translator has to decide if he or she is able to capture the full meaning of the original text.


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    Style is an essential part of all pieces of writing and it is revealed by showing a writer´s emotions and personality at the time. Every writer possesses a unique literary style with this style being reflected throughout the piece of writing. There are a few authors who believe all translations should mimic the original text’s style, while others firmly believe that the translator’s style should be used in the translation.

    A good translator should have a thorough knowledge of the source and target languages, be able to identify with the author of the book or poem, understand his culture and country, and employ a good method for translating literary texts.

    To be a good translation it should replicate the same meaning as is found in the original poem. Otherwise, the translator is not sticking to the purpose of the translation.

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