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Literature in Translation

Found in Translation: Travelling the world through fiction in translation

The translation of novels, poetry and plays into other languages has long been a contentious issue - but now it is increasingly recognised that there is as much value in reading a text in a good translation as reading in the original language - for every idiomatic turn of phrase lost, there is something gained in the overall translation of meaning across language divides. This translation is not just of words but of experience, we travel and gain in understanding of other cultures, countries and mindsets by reading a book set in another country - and this is the reason that texts have, for hundreds of years, been translated into multiple languages; a tradition which continues and thrives today.

The translation of canonic texts throughout history has had major influences upon not only world literature but also advances in philosophy, science and mathematics. For example, the earliest recorded English translation of Homer's epoch-making Iliad and Odyssey - by George Chapman in the early 17th century - would have far-reaching effects upon future writers, such as Shakespeare and Keats, all the way to T.S. Eliot in the early 20th century. During the Reformation, Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German led to the subsequent translation and publication of the King James Bible, in 1611 - one of the most widely read books ever published. A much more contemporary - and infamous - example of the worldwide translation of a text, is that of Anne Frank's Diary, written while she was in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam in the Second World War - which has now been translated into hundreds of languages worldwide.

Some of the greatest works of fiction have been translated - and a good job too. William Faulkner once said, in response to the question of the best three books ever written, "Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina" - and it is due to the work of several talented translators that this great work of art is accessible not only to an English speaking audience, but to people worldwide. Other renowned works in translations include works by Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Goethe, Flaubert, Schiller, Kafka, Gogol, Pushkin, Borges, Garcia Marquez, Calvino, Pamuk, Solzhenitsyn, Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Hesse and Mann.

TJC Global's Translators

TJC Global's qualified translators bring a wealth of experience and understanding to their work, so that the novel in translation loses none of the nuances and subtleties, the complex and delicate fleshing out of scene and character which can match the original text in rich and evocative writing. Our translators have both a complete understanding of both languages required, as well as knowledge of the culture of the country in which the book is set, and so are best suited for the complex and challenging artistic response required when translating any work of art.

Useful Links

Bloomsbury Guide to Novels in Translation

Books and Newspapers Translation Page

 

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