Translation is the process of conversion from one language to another. However, there are different types of translation and each of them requires a different approach. This is particularly due to various reasons such as specialized terminology. Content that involves specific vocabulary, technical jargon, or industry-specific terms requires the expertise of a translator in the relevant field, otherwise, translation may not yield accurate and precise results. Similarly, content includes cultural references and idiomatic expressions or any humor that’s specific to a certain country, place, or culture, it will necessitate a translator who has an eye for the cultural context in both source and target languages. One such content type that requires a specialized approach is literary translation. Literary subject matter experts and literary translation services carry out these translations.
Table of Content
- Importance of Translation in Literature
- What is Literary Translation?
- The Importance of Literary Translation
- It Promotes Shared Values
- It Enriches and Revitalizes Language
- It Revitalizes Literary Sources
- It Regenerates literature
- It Allows the Best Reading Experience
- It Provides a Valuable Teaching Tool
- It Develops New Readers and Writers
- It Leads to the Development of New Markets
- It Contributes to Economic Growth
- The Last Word
Importance of Translation in Literature
Before we dig further into literary translation, we need to realize the importance of translation in literature. Literature is a representation of a whole culture. It represents the work of linguists, writers, and artists from a certain region and country. Since the inception of the literature people from divergent ethnicities have had to consult and go through the foreign literature for multiple reasons. They could need as a part of their comparative studies, cultural and religious exploration, for personal interest and whatnot. They can only enjoy the literature when they understand the language and hence translation intervenes to play its part. Translating literary books has been the practice of publishers for more than 2000 years now. Interestingly, the first-ever book that they printed in the English language was a translation work. Willian Caxton is credited with introducing the printing process in English.
Additionally, he printed the English translation of The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye back in 1473. This book was originally written and published in the French language and is an important part of French literature. Hence translation holds great significance in the literary world and is inevitable to let people from different cultures experience and enjoy each other’s literature. Literature is a powerful tool that facilitates people and quenches their thirst for exploring different cultures and perspectives.
What is Literary Translation?
Literary translation is basically the translation of creative prose into other languages. It includes the translation of literature related to modern fiction so that it can reach a wider audience. In most cases, ancient languages are translated.
While it is true that the translation of creative content is different from the other translations, literary translation is tricky. The main aim of literary translation is the communication of poetic function. translation of this work gets difficult and challenging due to the fact that the translator has to keep the original essence and literary intent reserved for the readers to enjoy.
A literary translation should consider the special features of the text. This is because when a reader reads a story or a poem translated from a foreign language, he perceives the text along with its meaning, characters, and emotions. Nonetheless, translators who understand the importance of translation in literature with proven experience always do a better job.
It is a challenge to achieve that particular image for the reader. Therefore, literary translation might involve some different rules than other types of translations.
The Importance of Literary Translation
Literary translators are constantly seeking to choose which elements of the text to preserve as well as which to let go of. They have to navigate through the challenges of literary translation tactfully.
Here are some reasons why literary translation is important and how opting for it can facilitate the readers with a good read.
1. It Promotes Shared Values
Translation of literary text takes a closer look at the literature and ideas from different countries. A large amount of literature has been written on human rights issues, environmental phenomena, and elements of common humanity.
Translation of these texts helps to promote shared values among the people of different communities. So whether it’s Anna Politkovskaya’s Putin’s Russia or Antoine de Saint’s Petit Prince, the translation makes these works available and accessible in multiple languages and enables people to make the most from these books.
It is important to have access to stories and experiences beyond the borders of one’s own country. This is the reason why the translation of the literary text is of such importance.
2. It Enriches and Revitalizes Language
The translation of literary work and text can benefit as well as enrich the language it is translated into. This helps to bring new terms and ideas with it. The target language is promoted as each translation of a text is the renewal of language and imagery.
Translation makes us experience different cultures and norms through literature. As literature is an overview of a culture. By reading the translation of the literary text, we get a chance to view the viewpoints of other languages.
3. It Revitalizes Literary Sources
Translation of literary text allows it to travel across nations and boundaries. It renews the literary impact of ancient literature, giving it meaning and regeneration.
An example is The Fortunes of The Reader by Bernhard Schlink which was transformed after its translation from German to English.
A film adaptation of the work was carried out as more readers began to read it. Not surprisingly, it was a huge success.
Translation allows literature to travel across borders and time. For example, the translation of literary work from age-old Latin to English has led many readers to take a look at the ancient way of life.
4. It Regenerates literature
Translation of books into multiple languages allows for the regeneration and revitalization of literature. This is because having more translated books encourage readers to experiment with their own literature.
An example is Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, where he explores the borders between English and Hindi.
In doing so, he draws attention to the absorption of one language into another. This is the reason why it is important to continue experimenting with cultural and linguistic and cultural boundaries.
Translation of literary text regenerates and revitalizes unexplored literature allowing people to explore new cultures, relate to theirs, and carry out a comparative analysis while absorbing useful information.
5. It Allows the Best Reading Experience
The art world is huge and diverse. It is made of thousands of cultures and customs that people practice in their regions. Whenever we want to enjoy “the best”, we choose the art form we prefer. Literature is a significant part of art. A proper infrastructure needs to be in place to ensure quality books are read. Nevertheless, translation allows us to read the best literature from across the globe.
A proper infrastructure needs to be in place to ensure quality books are read. Nevertheless, translation allows us to read the best literature from across the globe.
6. It Provides a Valuable Teaching Tool
The translation is more than just a conversion of one language to another. With literary work, however, translation can generate a deeper understanding of the complexities of language. It improves written and spoken communication skills, leading to valuable teaching experience.
The benefits of learning new languages are evident, both through translation projects and scientific research. Translation enhances language learning and exploration. Certain initiatives such as Translation Nation show that translation leads to enhanced language learning.
This leads to young people gaining confidence as well as developing critical thinking. As translation opens doors for experimenting with new languages, it ultimately results in readers getting more engaged in language learning.
7. It Develops New Readers and Writers
One interesting aspect of literary translation is that it encourages audiences across the globe to read about new subject matters. Moreover, it provides an understanding of different stances from other countries and languages.
The literary festivals that take place internationally attract new readers, fostering the habit of reading. In addition, translation is promoted as these festivals cater to different linguistic groups.
By providing access to literary works through these translations, it gives a chance to the readers to experiment with different languages.
Hence, literary translation presents opportunities for the masses to explore their languages as well as compels them to read more.
In addition, it also encourages those shy readers to take up reading, making the reading community larger.
8. It Leads to the Development of New Markets
Translation allows for experimentation with new literary texts. In the world of literature, huge markets are being discovered. Translations of renowned works open the doors for new market exploration and new business opportunities.
This is because the translation of literary text belonging to ancient and unexplored regions develops an understanding of those regions.
Literal translations develop previously unexplored markets. This is because people across the globe learn more about unexplored regions and the people residing there. Consequently, translation of the literary text can lead to developing and promoting new markets.
9. It Contributes to Economic Growth
It is counter-productive to be confined to a single language only. This is why literary translation is vital for establishing an understanding of economic competition and financial decisions.
Translation of literature leads to a greater understanding of issues such as literacy. This, in turn, makes economic growth easier to achieve.
Moreover, reading works in translation, be it a Scandinavian novel or an autobiography of an environmental activist, leads to fostering a generation that speaks and understands different languages.
Moreover, having a skill in a second language enables graduates to communicate confidently in global societies. This, ultimately, contributes to economic growth and progress.
It makes good leaders and thinkers who improve the economic situation of that region as well as the target region.
The Last Word
Translation of literary work may seem like a tough task, but it is a creative one that is interesting in itself. A translated book or poem may attract readers and enthusiasts of other regions who might have wished to get their hands on the translated versions.
However, the translation of literary text should contain certain elements so that they can be read across the globe.
The translation should preserve the original expression of the literature. It might be possible not to be able to convert the whole reading experience, but the essence of a text can be translated into other languages.
Moreover, a literary translation expert should have a clear understanding of the cultural nuances of the target market. This will help him in striking a chord with the local reader community.