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Untranslated literature – Reasons and consequences

Anita Vuco, PhD in Comparative Philology focused on literature translated from “major” languages into “minor” languages in her lecture.

All people in the world are divided by their cultures, and language is a feature that makes us so different from each other. Speaking the same language, we can easily share our ideas and emotions. We use language when we talk, and when we write. Various languages represent different cultures, and ways of thinking. One of the main reasons why translation of literature is significant it because empowers literature to be enjoyed by more people in this world. Literary translation makes people love novels, poems, books by foreign authors.Translation is one of the various means of communication and the most important one. This is mostly because it sets up an association between at least two languages and their culture. Through translation, are also transmitted the characteristic elements from one language into the other.
Translation of literature is different from other categories. The original image created in the certain literary work will definitely have an impact on the reader. For this reason the literary translator should consider particular features of the text. It is the poetic focus of the text that makes this type of translation different from texts of types which are informative. When reading a story, poem or any other type of literary work translated from a foreign language, we get to know the text itself with its meaning, emotions and characters. It is quite a demanding task to achieve the main goal of the translation – creating a certain image for the reader. Therefore, literary translation might involve some deviations from the standard rules. A literal translation can’t reflect the deepness and meaning of the literary work. A literary translator reproduces a non-literal presentation of the original text. It is all about how the translator understands it. He/she rewrites the text from the beginning to the very end. This concerns, for example, when an apparent expression is replaced by synonyms or the structure of sentences is changed.
Literary translation requires a lot of cleverness. We should not forget that the translation of a book or a poem, perhaps, will be read by thousands of readers around the world. This means that the text needs to be adequate and moreover – we need to be aware of the fact that the translated document should have the same image as the original.
Since words and images may differ significantly from one group to another, the translator needs to pay attention to the style, language and specific to the two languages in order to produce an ‘exact’ translation of the source language text. Thus while translating something from one language to another, the sense and behaviour of the sentence changes obscurely. So as to carry that sense and the behaviour of the sentence of the original author meant, the translator himself needs to be creative, with great knowledge of both languages. The translator has to solve this problem by perceiving these cultural expressions that are related to one culture and then to try to find some equivalents in the other culture. This requires the translator to read and search about this peculiar topic in order to see how both cultures treat this matter. This is the most important step to have a correct translation and not to have misunderstanding between the two parts.