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Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Linguistics » Literary Translation: A Practical Guide

Literary Translation: A Practical Guide


In Literary Translation: A Practical Guide, both beginning and experienced translators will find pragmatic techniques for dealing with problems of literary translation, whatever the original language. The specifics of translating, say, Bulgarian, obviously differ from those of rendering French, Chinese, or any other language into English. But certain challenges and certain themes recur in translation, whatever the language pair. This guide proposes to help the translator navigate through them.
Because a book about translation without examples is like a book about photography without pictures, illustrations, mostly from my language of specialty - Portuguese - appear frequently. They are meant not as models but as stimuli to thinking. The same kinds of associations and thought processes that 'solve' problems in one language are usually transferable to another tongue.
The quotation marks around solve are a reminder that translation problems are not like math problems that have only one or at most a strictly limited number of right answers. As a subfield of literature - and literature is indisputably an art rather than a science - translation is subjective in essence. Reasonable people may well disagree about which of several proposed alternatives to a particular translation problem best addresses it. Nevertheless, there are guidelines that can help us work our way through, to use a Borgesian metaphor, the seemingly infinite labyrinth of forking paths.

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Tags: language, translation, whatever, Guide, Translation