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Performing Literary Translations


Literary translation is indeed a performance. Excellent grasp of the target language and source language as well as in-depth knowledge of the cultural background play a vital role. The theory of linguistic relativism states that each language represents its own worldview and certain thoughts in one language cannot be expressed in the same manner in another language. This theory was later applied to literary translations because the task of recreating the effect or the feelings emanating from the original text in a target language becomes infinitely more complex. Another reason is that literary translations need to address peculiar cultural contexts.

The world of literary translations is a fascinating one. Moreover, translating literary texts is an extremely perilous exercise as it is about transposing thoughts and emotions from one culture to the other. English to French Translators in Canada, who specialize in literary translations, always make sure to strike the right balance between elegance and a faithful rendering of the text.

In the case of literary translations, various layers of complexities come into play, mainly involving creative license and interpretation of the original text, as well as the rendering of subtle stylistic elements that are presented in a literary text.


Literary creativeness is required not only at the time of writing the original work but also when doing its translation. However, the latter differs in the way that it is not freestanding, as it is intrinsically linked to the form and tone of the original work. The literary work is the product of various elements such as rhythm, syntax, and punctuation, along with non-linguistic elements such as cultural context, target audience, and puns. All these elements work together in a direct relationship with the literary work, and this relation needs to be reproduced in the translation.


In the literary work, both regional varieties of language and cultural references form part of the literary work in the time period in which it has been written. In fact, one of the hardest parts of literary translation is finding the equivalence in regional varieties or cultural references. In the case of literary translations, even the names can prove difficult to be translated into a target language and culture.


Often the names used in literary translations are carefully crafted keeping in mind the particular setting, place and time and it is impossible to recreate them in another language in a way that has the same relevance to the target audience. Sometimes, it is better to keep the original expression, sometimes it is better to completely remove it in the translation and replace it with a word or phrase that captures the similar feeling.


An experienced English to French translator in Canada makes sure that he/she captures the same sentiment in the target language what was there in the original text, thus creating the perfect balance between the translated document and the original text. There might be some puns, jokes, feelings or socio-economic/historic references which can in no way be translated into the target language. Give the translator enough latitude and flexibility to creatively adapt a work’s culturally relative meanings, and make the translation more enjoyable to the target audience.


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