Literary Translations

Now that machine translation is becoming more and more prominent in the world of translation, I would highlight the complexities of the translation of literary material, where the subtleties of the source language is a foundation of the project.

Indeed, translations that are too “similar” to the original do not sound natural to native speakers’ ears. Therefore, the translation must not only find the words and expressions that are right for the idea expressed by the original, but the translator must write the sentence in a way that provides fluidity when reading the document.

The most common occurrence is that the translation that is too close to the original translation is not incorrect, but simply not the best option for the idea of ​​the original document.

For example:

Sentence in English of an original file:

With a library of information at your fingertips you will certainly find ways to make your tool box talks come alive and be interactive.

Literal translation in Spanish received:

Con una biblioteca de información en la punta de sus dedos, seguro encontrará formas de hacer las charlas vivas e interactivas.

This translation reflects the original idea, but lacks a certain polish in the writing. A new version can be:

Mediante el uso de la información de la biblioteca, seguramente encontrará consejos para aportar mayor interacción y dinamismo a sus charlas.

In the second version, the message is better received because the writing is more fluid.

This is the great challenge of literary translation: to recreate the work without departing from the original idea of ​​the author of the document in another language, which is an enormous challenge in terms of grammar, style and terminology.

Another major challenge of this specialty of translation is the use of proverbs or sayings, which lose their sense if they are translated word for word without considering the idea. We have already given examples of translation of such popular sayings. For example:

Original in English:

Walls Have Ears.

The translation “Las paredes tienen orejas” does not evoke any common saying, but is merely a translation from the original.

The popular saying in Spanish that corresponds to this saying in English is:

Las paredes oyen. (The walls listen)

As clarified on our site, high-quality literary translation evokes in the reader the same feelings as the original text. That is why it is so important to choose the right word or phrase for each idea to keep the linguistic richness of the author in the translation.

If you are looking for literary translation services, our sales representatives will prepare a free quote quickly that meets your specific needs.

(Versión en español: