When it comes to literary work it can be a difficult process to ensure the poetry and artistry of the piece of work remains intact when completing a translation for a different language and audience. There are many different factors in place that can have an impact on the success of a literary translation, and working with specialist translators, with a feel for literary work, as well as the specialist nuances and dialect of various target languages will help to keep the heart and soul of a novel intact.
Despite wishing to keep the original intent there is no way that a translation cannot take on a life of its own, even if only in some small way. Translation is a delicate balancing act, with important choices to be made at all times. It is easy to take a fresh piece of literary work, translate it into a new language and be left with something that is flat, boring and doesn’t have the same flow and life that the original did.
The best literary translators understand this potential flaw in the process and so each piece of writing should take on a life of its own. There will be some words in a new language that don’t exist in the original, and vice versa. Sometimes there will have to be additional words that can draw attention to aspects of the original, but overall a literary translation as well as being accurate and dedicated to the original, will also be a creative process. A translator will constantly have to make important choices in the type of word to use and how that changes the nuance of the original text, which parts of the original text has to be left behind as it doesn’t work in the target language, and how that might affect the flow of the story.
An important process that can often be overlooked is to have the author on board to provide assistance about the text. If the translator can speak to the author of the original text, or have their understanding of it, it can help to inform the decision making process throughout the translation. Without the understanding of the original text it can become impossible to translate into a new language in an effective way that portrays the real meaning of the original.
Working with literary translation is a thorough process that requires tenacity of approach, a dedication to the craft and careful, accurate translation. The best literary translations are made with translation companies that have a long history of working with literary projects, have the capacity to deal with writers and publishers on tight deadlines, and have the ability to work in a number of languages and to understand the delicate differences and nuances in language and dialect. If you find a company that works in that way the heart and soul of the literary work in question should remain intact and read in the way the writer intended it in the original language, no matter which target language is being worked on.