Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Literary Translation: A Practical Guide
In the last post, I mentioned Clifford E. Landers’ book Literary Translation: A Practical Guide. I happened to pick it up at the library a couple of weeks ago and I think it is a good book for beginners; it discusses many of the things I have posted about here before, and has information about a lot of aspects of translation, some of which people don’t necessarily consider. For example, his chapter on a day in the life of a literary translator shows the different decisions he makes (about contractions, honorifics, swear words, and much more) and the research he carries out as he translates. There is also information in the book about contracts, copyright, ethics, and ideology. His view is quite pragmatic; when trying to decide whether to define certain dishes referred to in a literary text, he says that he is not translating a cookbook or a sociological treatise, but a novel. Therefore, no long explanations or footnotes should be used. In sum, Landers’ guide offers a broad view of literary translation as well as some short discussions of particularly challenging or interesting topics, and it is worth reading.