By Monica Paul, Magic MasterMinds
All writers want to see people all over the world reading their books in more than one language. But, are these versions in Spanish, French, Italian, etc., expressing what you wrote in the original story? Or, are they betraying it?
We all have gone through the “translation” torture at least once in our lives. We all have read something that sounds like a robot when read out loud. Sometimes translators are the writers’ worst enemies. However, it is a fact that we need translators, we want to take our writing beyond the English borders; yet translations must be done.
Languages are different, grammar, syntaxes, the structure. Let’s start saying that books and stories are not translated, they are interpreted. Actually translation goes beyond handling a language a 100%, the translator must have edition knowledge in both languages and be very sure about the accurate meaning of the idea more than of the isolated words.
Every writer has its own style and characteristics that can’t be ‘carried across’. The same way authors give each text a personality, tone, rhythm. The translator must understand this, after all the author is an artist. Yet choosing the right translator is a must, and a challenge for writers and publishers.
What is needed in a good Translator?
Accuracy: First of all a good translator is expected to have a perfect understanding of the story, even if this means having a hundred meetings with the author to clear up each scene in order to keep the meaning intact. It is true that when going from English to Spanish, for example, the word order and grammar changes completely, yet some things aren’t up for discussion; the meaning must remain faithful and accurate to the original. Insufficient accuracy could be considered a betraying to the original story.
Sensitivity to the original: Even though it’s often impossible to recreate elements like rhythm and emotion, ignoring them is also considered a betrayal. The translator must consider that the writer put feelings and emotions while writing. Again, the closer the translator is to the writer, the opened to the author’s ideas and emotions the translator becomes, the better the final result will be.
Texture and Tone: A good translator works hard to bring across the feelings expressed in the original writing. The characters understanding may transport the readers to the scene and make them feel the experiences along in the story. Again no one knows the characters better than the author, no one can transmit the translator the tone and texture of the dramatic development better that the writer.
No doubt, the translating work is the translator’s; but the accuracy, sensitivity, tone, and texture can be only expressed by the author. The ideal translator puts together the knowledge of both languages at an editing level, plus a highly empathic communication with the author, and an absolute respect for the months, heart and soul that the writer put in each word and page of the story.
So my dear readers, either writers and publishers, if you find someone able to do the translation this way, you have found a real partner in this writing and selling the book endeavors.