Poll: Literary or non-literary translations? Which makes you happier?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:54
SITE STAFF
Jul 18, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Literary or non-literary translations? Which makes you happier?".

This poll was originally submitted by claudia bagnardi

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Cons of literary translation Jul 18, 2006

I have just received an offer to translate a book!!!

Because I am good? No! Because I am Argentine!



http://www.proz.com/topic/51558



My reply: literary translations make me happier

[Editado a las 2006-07-18 17:46]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:54
Italian to English
Well-written source texts make me happy Jul 18, 2006

When the author of the source text has thought about what he or she wants to say, you don't have to do any second-guessing, discreet trimming or patching up and you are free to exploit all the possibilities of the target language to produce an effective translation.

It really doesn't matter whether the source text is literary or non-literary: it's good writing that cheers me up!

FWIW

Giles


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claudia bagnardi  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
You've made a point, Giles. Jul 18, 2006

It's like making a cake with top notch ingredients. It is a rewarding job.

I'd rather translate literary works, but as Aurora posted on the link provided, it takes a lot of your time... for less money.

"There's the rub", Hamlet would say...

Yet, I have to admit that I feel really happy when I have to face a literary challenge. It is sort of the "hobby part" of this profession, at least for me.

Needless to say, first I have to make sure both ends WILL meet at the end of the month

Claudia


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Nivo
United States
Local time: 02:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
Literary or non-literary translations? Jul 19, 2006

ProZ.com Staff wrote:

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Literary or non-literary translations? Which makes you happier?".

This poll was originally submitted by claudia bagnardi

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629



Well as far as I am concerned I think the best thing that can judge whether you translate literary or non-literary is the contents of the text itself. If this obviously because in some language pairs if you translate literary then it would not make any sense at all and vice versa, so I believe that the material in hand is what decides which way to go with that.
After all whats important is that the result is correct and your client is happy with your work.


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to Polish
+ ...
I am humble enough not to attempt translating serious literature Jul 19, 2006

I read an essay on translating Shakespeare by Stanisław Barańczak, perhaps the best translator into Polish ever. He cited a (very good, as far as I could tell) translation as unacceptable, because it used concepts that were not available at Shakespeare's times. Makes me feel like a little stupid boy.

To boost my morale: once I decided that I am not fully satisfied with a translation of Monty Python's "Every sperm is sacred" and translated it again not knowing I am trying to improve upon another master of the art of translation, Tomasz Beksiński. I succeded, but I guess I spend 100 times more time on it that he did. I could not make a living this way. I am back to software strings etc.

PS. In a book of limerics I will publish one day, there is a chapter with several translations.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:54
German to English
+ ...
Good writing Jul 19, 2006

Giles Watson wrote:

It really doesn't matter whether the source text is literary or non-literary: it's good writing that cheers me up!

FWIW

Giles


I agree wholeheartedly.

That's one of the reasons why I enjoy reading the subtlely-expressed output from the 'finely-sharpened pencils' wielded by many of our German colleagues in the German fora. Such a refreshing change from technical manuals.

Digressing somewhat, an Italian friend gave me a copy of "An Italian in America" a while back. Noting (not from the style of course!) that it had been translated, and with the inherent curiosity of a translator, I looked up the name of the translator on Proz.

Together with the odd other task or two, it has been on my "to-do list" for a while to drop you a line and thank you for a bloody good and amusing read.

Knowing that the job also "cheered you up" is good to know, Giles.

Mille grazie e distinti saluti


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:54
Italian to English
Thanks for the compliment! Jul 19, 2006

Textklick wrote:


Together with the odd other task or two, it has been on my "to-do list" for a while to drop you a line and thank you for a bloody good and amusing read.

Knowing that the job also "cheered you up" is good to know, Giles.

Mille grazie e distinti saluti


Humble thanks, Chris!

Actually, there's another Severgnini book I translated ("La Bella Figura - A Field Guide to the Italian Mind"; the original title was "La testa degli italiani") due to be published in the US on 15 August.

Thanks again for making my day,

Giles


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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:54
English to French
+ ...
Other: good writing Jul 19, 2006

Like Giles and others, I have fun with well-written texts, whether technical or not. What I enjoy most are long texts because then I can safely invest time in research about the subject and terminology if needed. A 150-page technical manual will be a pleasure if it's correctly written. As for "classical" literature, it's not part of my skills, but I sure would like to give a try on scientific books one day because that's a field I'm interested in...

-> Nivo: are you sure that you didn't read "literally" instead of "literary" ?

Marie-Céline


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Now that I think about it Jul 19, 2006

Giles Watson wrote:

It really doesn't matter whether the source text is literary or non-literary: it's good writing that cheers me up!


I've come across "literary" work I wouldn't have my name on as a translator.


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Chiara Covili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:54
French to Italian
+ ...
Literary Jul 19, 2006

I like translate all type of texts, but of course I love in particular literary translations

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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 01:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Both, because creativity in translation is not limited to "literary" texts Jul 19, 2006

I encounter many so-called non-literary texts for which a good translation requires the creative use of metaphor, wordplay, compensation and other techniques---as well as a mastery of style and register, not to mention a thorough knowledge of culture and history---that are usually considered to be the special province of litarary translation. Solving these challenges is no less satisfying than when working with what is usually considered literary translation.

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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
English to Polish
Literary.... Jul 19, 2006

.... generally, but sometimes I also enjoy a simple user manual - as it's easier (especially with TMs) and work goes faster.

But just today I finished translating a very interesting acticle about F1 Very pleasant and satysfying job

Anni


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:54
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Giles, you said it perfectly! Jul 21, 2006

Giles Watson wrote:

When the author of the source text has thought about what he or she wants to say, you don't have to do any second-guessing, discreet trimming or patching up and you are free to exploit all the possibilities of the target language to produce an effective translation.

It really doesn't matter whether the source text is literary or non-literary: it's good writing that cheers me up!

FWIW

Giles


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