Literary Translation and Different View Points or Theories

A literary translation is an art tool utilized to set the text free from its reliance on the former cultural knowledge. Nevertheless, it is not that simple and easy to transplant a source text immersed in the source culture into another culture. In the progressively global market of book trade the role of the translator increase significantly. If there is some form of barrier that prevents the flow of titles from one place to another, the problems would be the lack of quality translators most of the time. The idea of the translation being the faithful demonstration of the source text is the norm as of today. One can view that the literary translation is the bridge that serve to close that gap between the subtle emotional connections of the language and cultures. It also furthers the understanding of individuals across the globe. During the action of literary translation, it is expected that a culture will become transparent to the others and the responsibility of the translator is to recreate the refined sensibilities of other countries, as well as their people, through the use of musical, linguistic, visual and rhythmic possibilities of the new spoken language.

While this truism is held to a higher degree, there are very few individuals who have make clarifications to such norm. In fact, there are debates about the translation studies where they revolved around the questions of the best ways of achieving the “faithful” illustration or representation. St. Jerome advocated the thought of translation being “sense for sense” while Schleiermacher recommended the method of “foreign-izing.”

Antoine Berman proposed the translation analytic and this served as guiding principle for the translation in which this analytics served as the taxonomy for classifying the various kinds of shifts in meaning that may happen during the translation process. There are twelve shifts according to Berman. The idea of faithfulness in translation carries implicit assumption of the incorruptibility and even sanctity of the source text. This can be the possible legacy of the translation of holy source texts such as the Bible because most of the history of translation has been the main focus of translation scholars and translators. It is essential that the source text should be “whole” when translated into target language.

In order to have a better discussion about the theories and points of views about translation, there is the so-called translation studies. This academic subject is an inter-discipline course that deals with the systematic discussion and study of the theory, application and description of translation as well as localization and interpretation. As an interdisciplinary subject, translation studies borrow mainly from the different fields of study supporting the translation and these may include, but not limited to, philology, computer science, comparative literature, literary device, history, linguistics, semiotics, terminology and philosophy.

Translation gradually developed and various paradigms were developed, breaking away from prior research that is equivalence-based. First, there is the descriptive translation that is aimed to build the discipline of empirical description. The idea of using scientific methodology for use with cultural products has been applied to literary translation. Translated literature is viewed as the sub-system of the target or receiving literary system. One can view that the translation is fact of the receiving culture for research purpose. Another paradigm is based from the woks of Katharina Reiß, Hans Vermeer and JustaHolz-Mänttäri and this resulted to the Skopos Theory in which it provides authority to the objective of fulfilling the translation instead of placing priority to the equivalence. Another is the cultural turn that served as another step towards the development of literary translation.

The growing differences of the paradigms about literary translation are said to be one of the possible reason of the conflict in this discipline.Another source of the conflict may come from the fissure between the practice and theory. As the prescriptivism of the earlier knowledge and studies provide room to the theorization and descriptivism, professionals get less applicability of this discipline.