Today, let’s take a moment to highlight some of the unsung heroes of the publishing world: Literary translators.
Literary translators do not have an easy job. Books, short stories, and poems can be quite challenging to translate. For example, word play, slang, and humor often lose meaning if they’re translated word-for-word. They have to be carefully rewritten to create the same effect in the target language as they do in the original.
So literary translation is difficult, but it’s also extremely valuable.
Why is Literary Translation Important?
Literary translation is important for a number of reasons. Translation introduces authors to new audiences and readers to new worlds. It promotes understanding and empathy between cultures. It preserves ideas and knowledge and helps transmit those ideas across time and space.
Literary Translators: Unsung, Outshined, and Underpaid
But literary translators are clearly not in it for the glory. As Tim Parks noted last year in the New York Review of Books, “Glory, for the translator, is borrowed glory. There is no way around this. Translators are celebrated when they translate celebrated books.”
If they are successful, the author gets the credit. Of course, the author deserves most of the credit. But literary translation is an art, too. Read more