The A to Z of Literary Translation: G to I

By Georgia de Chamberet

Grants, awards and prizes such as the Nobel Prize in literature, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, help put writers and their translators under the spotlight and boost sales. The TA's Translation Prizes for published translations from Arabic, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Greek (modern), Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish flag up writing of merit, and generate recognition and income for the translator. In Other Words, the journal for literary translators, is published twice a year by the TA.

Humor, slang and puns can cause a translator an attack of linguistic hiccups. The general rule of thumb is to find a natural and appropriate equivalent. To translate, or not to translate, foreign words and expressions, so that the text either retains its local color, or becomes homogenized, remains a moot point; as does the issue of Americanisms [sic].

Inquiry and intellect along with vision and passion are crucial motivators. Conveying the spirit of the original, and the spirit in which the translator enters the process, are what makes a translation sparkle.


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