Literary translation is one of the main sectors of the translation industry, together with interpreting, scientific, technical and commercial/business translations. Furthermore, practicing this type of translation does not mean that a specialist works only with famous literature, because the wide range of the literary translator's activities has
- no limitation and includes:
- all kind of books
- short stories
- travel guides
- a collection of jokes
- the script of a documentary
- science textbook
- an opera libretto
Requirements for qualification
It is well-known fact that specific education is not a necessary condition for the literary translator. People with a bilingual family or experience living in a foreign country for a long period of time can develop the interest in this interesting and rewarding occupation. However, it does not mean that a formal university degree won't be of use.
Furthermore, people who take an interest in literary translation can attend translation workshops and courses to develop their skills and translation techniques. These activities are usually organized by the cultural institutes of individual foreign countries or universities. Translators Associations also organize debates, discussions and seminars that could be useful for working translators and translation enthusiasts. It is essential that a person who is making a translation must have the feel for a language and enjoy working with it. Furthermore, they have to be acquainted with the regional culture and literature. The translator should read other works of this particular author and have an ability to change their linguistic style to match the writer's style and approach to writing. They have to translate the material as if the original author was writing it in the target language.
How to translate literary work?
The literal translator should have the skills to read the material “between the lines”. They have to love reading the genre, which they are translating. For example, if you are translating a poem from Japanese to French, you will have to read as many poems in Japanese and French as possible, which could develop the ability to understand the context, style, structure and particularity of poems.
1.A professional translator has to take into account that language is a vivid, fluid entity. It changes and develops constantly because new words and structures are appearing and disappearing from everyday use.
2.You have to be a writer if you want to translate a book, because you'll need writing skills to develop the literary translation skills faster and easier.
3.Every literary material is a piece of its author. For this reason before the work has been started, the translator should gather as much information about the author as possible, which improves understanding a book.
4.The specialist should know that the ideal translation is impossible, because it's a tricky subject that changes over time. Translator is not focused on words and sentences, though – they're reconstructing the material in a different language, using different tools.
5.Literary translations could be dangerous because the meaning of words, context, the color of words and even plot could be lost in the process due to the necessary changes done to suit the requirements posed by releasing the book in another country.
6.Professional should practice at least fifteen minutes a day.
Literary Translation career
In most cases today, literary translation job is freelance, and that is why it is difficult for beginners to have a constant flow of projects. However, Polyglot could be a good start for people who do not have much experience in the field of literary translation, but are willing to learn and work. Beginners and professional specialists can find clients and work though the site, which serves as a middleman which brings the customer and the freelancer into a single place. If you're in need of literary translation services, pay extra attention to the translator's experience and background.
It's recommended to pay attention to the feedback posted by the previous customers and make sure that you're hiring a certified translator. Another good idea is to ask for samples of their work to evaluate the quality before making any decisions, and double-check their work through extensive proofreading, as literary translations are rather tricky, especially when it comes to complex literary works.