In the last post, I briefly discussed Clifford E. Landers’ book Literary Translation: A Practical Guide. I enjoyed his “Twelve Commandments of Literary Translation” that he included in the book:
The Twelve Commandments of Literary Translation
I Thou shalt honor thine author and thy reader.
II Thou shalt not ‘improve’ upon the original.
III Thou shalt read the source text in its entirety before beginning.
IV Thou shalt not guess.
V Thou shalt consult thine author and other native speakers.
VI Thou shalt consult earlier translations only after finishing thine own.
VII Thou shalt possess – and use – a multitude of reference works.
VIII Thou shalt respect other cultures.
IX Thou shalt perceive and honor register and tone, that thy days as a translator may be long.
X Thou shalt not commit purple prose.
XI Thou shalt maintain familiarity with the source-language culture.
XII Thou shalt fear no four-letter word where appropriate.
Though I would add to the eleventh commandment that a translator should maintain familiarity with the target-language culture, too, as well as to both languages.
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