Archive | November, 2014

Part II. Selection of translators for literary/non-literary translation process

5 Nov

(based on “Translation in Practice”, a symposium edited by Gill Paul, 2009)

Both types of translation require careful selection of a person who will produce the translation. Although time spent on pre-translation and/or post-translation activities is much greater in case of literary translation, that does not mean you can bring the text to an indifferent translator, which is not rarely the case with non-literary translation. On the contrary: “those who translate literary fiction require something beyond this [an ability to convert words liter­ally from one language to another] —something much more creative, involv­ing an instinctive understanding of the way that words and phrases can work together to best effect.” Once again, literary translation of any given book will most probably be read by at least hundreds of people, which makes it vitally important to allocate much more of proper resources (both time and people) to the translation process.

The next aspect to cover is the relationship between project manager/editor and translators. It should be noted that the process of literary translation in most cases requires that editors have their favorite 3-4 translators (BTW, occasionally these editors may take on new translators). When doing so, they do not base their choice on price only. This is a very distinct characteristic of commercial (for-profit) literary translation process, in contrast to commercial non-literary translation industry, where the price is quite often the only criterion for choosing a translator.

Translators of non-literary text are not required to share the enthusiasm of an editor for this or that book. They can even say no, just because not all books can or have to “strike the necessary chord”. On the contrary, non-literary translators usually don`t mind translating different texts of absolutely different nature (provided that these belong to their specialization).

The final and the most striking difference between selection procedures for two types of translation is the amount of communication between editor/PM and translators. One is often missing if automated translation mechanisms are used by translation agencies. Literary translation process vitally requires a lot of communication and can`t be automated by definition.

Part III. Author, outside reader, sample translations.