|Article Title: Literary translation|
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“Literary translation” or “translation of literature” can be defined as the process or the result of mediated bilingual communication when the source text and the target text are the pieces of literary writing (Burkhanov 2002: 135).
The concept of artistic translation was introduced in the former USSR by L.Larson (in Larson, 1991: 49–62) ,who presented a brief account about their translation school, highly praised the achievements of Soviet translation theorists and their principles of artistic translation, which were used as guidelines for translation practice and later formed theoretical foundations for the translation of literature. Those principles constituted an approach to literary translation which placed paramount importance on the artistic values of the literary text. Nevertheless, they also imposed their requirements: adequacy and full equivalence both in form and meaning of the target and source texts which is not only determined by lexical, semantic and grammatical correspondences but also by traditionally accepted ways of accounting for socially, historically and culturally significant information in the text (Burkhanov 2002: 137, 141).
Literary translation is an original activity at the centre of a complex network of social and cultural practices. The properties of a literary text differentiate it from other types of non-literary texts. Only literary translation allows the translator to take part in the creation process. One of the postulates on the distinctiveness of the literary translation was proposed by Jakobson (1960/1987) who argues that the characteristics of literary text is that it focuses on the message i.e. on the organization of the text and its internal structure. Bauman (1984) incorporates Jakobson theory in the functional approach to language and views the literary text from the point of its performance when it is presented to the receiver of the target text (Burkhanov 2002: 139).
The majority view among translators has been that a literary translation should affect its readers in the same way that the original affected its first readers. In other words, a literary translation should reproduce in the target language reader the same emotional and psychological reaction produced in the original source language reader. As John Bester has put it in relation to the translation of literature, translation denotes: ” the attempt to render faithfully into one language (normally one’s own) the meaning, feeling, and, as far as possible, the style of a piece written in another language” (Landers 2001: 10). Thus, if a source language reader felt curiosity or was amused so should the target reader. In order to please the receiver and produce a successful literary translation a literary translator does not only have to achieve the mastery of the source language but he/ she must also possess profound knowledge of the target language. Landers goes even so far that he jokes that a literary translator should be in love with one or two languages (2001: 7). Apart from that (s)he must command tone and style. (S)he ought to be flexible, inventive and acquire full knowledge of the source language culture. Ideally, a professional literary translator should be a writer and simultaneously possess expert knowledge of literature studies.
Literary translation creates also other difficulties. A literary translator is forced to deal with unique for this type of translation problems such as puns, reproducing the tone and the register of the original, slang, names, nicknames, colloquialisms, proverbs, references to popular culture, culture-specific items and metalanguage. There are no boundaries for a literary translator. One day (s)he may be asked to translate a passage about chess or alcoholism, the other day about gambling or ballet. Another problem, unique to literary translation is how to convey dialect. Commercial and technical translations demand standard English. Literary translators do not always work with correct language and it is always more challenging to translate the speech of the uneducated or the speech displaying characteristic regional marks.
The new theories and discussion on literary translation resulted in the development of a working definition of ‘literary translation’ as “a kind of aesthetically-oriented mediated bilingual communication which aims at producing a target text intended to communicate its own form, correspondent with the source text, and accordant with contemporary and literary translational norms of the receptor culture” (Burkanov 2002: 139).
Alike it was proved above, literary translation is an aesthetic activity and the result of this aesthetic activity is in the form of literary texts. Moreover, this activity is limited by technicalities of literature, its conventions and norm of particular literary genres.
The classification of literary works is still under consideration. One step forward in classifying literary pieces of writing was taken by Newmark (1988) who makes a distinction between the translation of poetry, translation of prose and translation of drama.