Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Language and Literature

Today's post is a little different.  I was approached by a company which has created translation software with an interesting topic to ponder.  What, in the realm of literature and the written word, is the most important aspect when considering translation into a different language.

I'll admit I was intrigued by this topic.  As a bilingual person myself, I remember in my studies the difficulties when it came to translating stories, as well as poetry and music.  Though I could do a direct translation, it rarely even made sense, let alone brought the same feeling into the second language.  So much of the written word is about the eloquence of the words on a page, not because of the vocabulary being used, but in the way the text dances off the page and into your mind.  It is this feeling and essence of the story that is more important than the text itself.

Granted, there is great value in the words meticulously chosen by authors to tell their stories.  As a writer, I know the agonizing work that is put into every page of text before it is put out in front of the world.  However, when retelling the story in another language, the words will never be exactly the same.  That is the nature of translation.  It is more the essence of the story that needs to be preserved.  The feelings and images and scenes need to come alive in the same manner, no matter what language is being used.

In my specific focus, of romance novels, this would spell out mainly in the love story.  The story's essence is the romance that unfolds slowly, and passionately, and confusingly, and desperately.  If you were to take any classic romance novel, or any of the wonderful novels I've featured here, or even my own novels, this, above all else, would be the most important aspect of the story to maintain in a translation.  Of course, it is also the most difficult.  Translation is more than finding words that have similar meanings, but really a full understanding of both languages, as well as the words being retold.  In that, though it is less direct, will be the truer translation.

What do you think?  What is the most important part of a story or book to be preserved when translated into another language?

1 comment:

  1. This can be hard as words have different meanings. Most people probably only read one version. The message, whatever it is, has to be clear. I read Map ot Time by Felix J. Palma, a Spanish writer, and had no problem with the translated text. As an author, it would be a good deal for you to have your books printed worldwide. Good luck.
    Leona

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