Literary versus Technical Translations

By Stacey
Oct 21, 2015 · 2 min

A professional translator must also be an excellent writer.

Literary versus Technical Translations | One Hour Translation

A professional translator must also be an excellent writer, due to the fact that it’s their responsibility to ensure that the final translated document is accurate and easy to read: this is in addition to maintaining the concept that the source text is endeavouring to convey.

The translation process can be divided into different sections: the first part is to understand and assimilate the meaning you wish to convey. It’s imperative that the translator understands the text in depth, at the same time detaching themselves from the actual words. This enables the translator to give more meaning to the thoughts and ideas of the original author. Once this has been achieved, the text must be reinterpreted and adapted according to the target language.

Is Technical Translation Easier Than Literary Translation?

It is true that some translators actually prefer to specialize in technical texts due to the inherent difficulties involved with literary translations, particularly when it comes to the use of metaphors, transmitting messages, and other stylistic figures of language that one finds in literature.

What is Technical Translation?

Literary translation is entirely different to technical translation, which deals with reports, instructions, manuals, and material which, in general, is directed at a specific audience who focuses on this type of text. It’s extremely important that the use of just the right vocabulary is used in this case; however, the style of text and the aesthetic are not as important. In addition, a translator working with technical content will often be required to have specific knowledge in that particular field.

Explaining Literary Translation

Alternatively, when translating literary texts such as poems or novels, the translator is required to have a broader cultural knowledge, stylistic skills, be imaginative, and be creative.

Making A Decision

The best translators must follow a very demanding course of study, regardless of their target language. This might include university specialization and literary studies in their mother tongue, including languages they will be translating to. And that’s why it’s really important that, once our formal training as professional translators is complete, we make a decision on what type of texts we intend specialising in: such as technical, legal, literary, and so on. This ensures that we can always be satisfied with our final translation result.

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The translation industry is a relatively small one but it’s also a highly competitive one. Basically, do your research on a translation agency prior to making initial contact and it will certainly pay off; perhaps not immediately because there may not be any work available at the time, so just be patient. Your application must stand out above the rest, and by following these simple steps you should have no problem whatsoever in achieving your translation goals.