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Basics Of The Literary Translation

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Topics: Translation
Basic Guidelines for Literary Translation
The difference between the translator and the literary translator:
Translator:
seeks to render same facts with no emotion and no change. Does not care about style.
Literary translator: seeks to create similar effect, response, intention, emotion of the source texts using highly stylistic language similar to that of the source text as much as possible.
Steps for translating literary texts:
1- Read the text carefully
2- Analyze the text: Extract the ideas and understand the emotion, context, ideas, and creative stylistic features of the text, and the purpose of the text and the author.
3- Try to balance the content and the style
4- Gain enough knowledge of the both languages (source and target language)
5- Have enough knowledge of both cultures (source and target cultures)
6- Reading more about the author: cultural and historical background.
7- Reproduce the same text but using another language bearing in mind linguistic, stylistic, semantic, and cultural differences between the two languages.
Levels of analyzing literary texts:
1- Intellectual level: the auther’s way of thinking and the ideas within the text.
2- Linguistic semantic level: meaning of vocab within context.
3- Rhetorical level: style, beauty of the text (similes and idioms)
4- Emotional level: author’s emotions, his motive, and honesty in delivering these.
Difficulties that might face the translator while translating:
1. Linguistic difficulties: finding no exact equivalent, differences in structure and grammar
2. Stylistic difficulties: using figurative speech that might not be available in the Target language.
3. Cultural difficulties: covered previously.
How to overcome these?
1- Practice
2- Knowledge
3- Be brave enough to change words and style in a balanced way to suit the T language, culture, and audience
Context:
The most important feature in literary translation since different contexts lead to different meanings for the same word.
A translator must not look at the word or the sentence separately but looks at these within context.
Example: “play” has different meanings for different contexts. Look it up.
Context helps the translator very much in understanding the intentions of the author and the meaning of the word even if the translator does not know the exact meaning of it.
Finally, before translating any literary text, it might be helpful to ask yourselves the following questions:
1- Who is the author of the text?
2- Who is the audience? To whom it is directed?
3- What is the message behind the text? What is the purpose?
4- What is the style the author adopted in the text?
5- What is the type of the text?
6- What is the time and place of the text?
7- What is the cultural background of the text?

Literary passages for the rest of the semester
Passage 1:
Shylock, the Jew, lived at Venice; he made himself very rich by lending money at great interest to Christian merchants. Shylock, being a hard-hearted man, forced men to pay the money he lent with such cruelty, that he was much hated by all good men, and particularly by Antonio, a young merchant of Venice. And Shylock as much hated Anotonio, because he used to lend money to people in trouble, and would never take any interest for the money he lent….
Antonio was the kindest man that lived. He was greatly beloved by all his fellow-citizens; but the friend who was nearest and dearest to his heart was Bassanio, a noble Venetian, who having only a small property, had wasted it by living in too costly a manner (as young men of high rank with small fortunes often do). Whenever Bassanio wanted money, Antonio helped him and it seemed as if they had but one heart and one purse between them.

Passage 2:
There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the stars. In the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motorboats slit the water. On the weekends his Rolls-Royce bore parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all the trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with the mops and scrubbing brushes, repairing the damages of the night before. Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York – every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves.

Passage 3:
Your patriotism is meaningless around here; for in spite of all your patriotic enthusiasm, you are viewed as nothing but a foreigner, a complete foreigner/ Your patriotic identity is now lost.
Leaving only could stop my bleeding, subdue my sense of exile, and create a narrow homeland that could embrace me – a homeland that is no wider than a narrow grave.

Passage 4:
Giving Advice Giving advice, especially when I am in no position to give it and hardly know what I am talking about. I manage my own affairs with as much care and steady attention and skill as – let us say – a drunken Irish tenor. I swing violently from enthusiasm to disgust. I change policies as a woman changes hats. I am here today and gone tomorrow. When I am doing one job, I wish I were doing another. I base my judgments on anything — or nothing. I have never the least notion what I shall be doing or where I shall be in six months time. Instead of holding one thing steadily, I try to juggle with six. I cannot plan, and if l could I would never stick to the plan. I am a pessimist in the morning and an optimist at night, am defeated on Tuesday and insufferably victorious by Friday. But because I am heavy, have a deep voice and smoke a pipe, few people realise that I am a flibbertigibbet on a weathercock. So my advice is asked. And then, for ten minutes or so, I can make Polonius look a trifler. I settle deep in my chair, two hundred pounds of portentousness, and with some first-rate character touches in the voice and business with pipe. I begin: 'WeII, I must say that in your place – ' And inside I am bubbling with delight.

Passage 5:

كان المطر ما زال يسقط.. وكان أقل حدة مما كان، و كانت السحب الدكناء تعِد بالمزيد، كنت قد ابتسمت.. فتسللت قطرات من الماء كانت على وجهي إلى شفتي. و كانت أضواء المدينة تبدو من بعيد - في الظلمة - كنجوم هاوية بين الأرض و السماء. كنت أضرب أرض الشارع المبتل بخطوات سريعة.. و كنت أتابعها.. و كانت تعود: بدقات المطر و الماء الهارب إلى البالوعات، كان الشارع خاليا.. فالمطر لم ينقطع منذ الصباح. كنت قد بلغت أول الشارع: بدا لي الذراع الأحمر الممتد بعلامة الخطر كما لو كان معلقاً و متدلياً من السماء، و بدت لي المسافة بين الأرض و السماء قريبة جداً - و هكذا كانت تبدو لي دائماً في الليالي المظلمة حيث المطر.

Passage 7: في القطار الحربي عثر مصطفى على مكان خال بجوار النافذة، جلس. تحرك القطار، أسند خده على يده. انزلقـت نسمات هواء باردة على وجهه، أغمض عينيه، شعر برغبة في النوم، صوت اصطدام عجلات القطارمع القضبان انتظم في أُذنيه. الظلام مستتب أمام العيون. من خلال العتمة، حاول أن يرى أعمدة التليفونات، ولكن الظلام كان شاملاً. في داخل العربة، كتلة الأصوات، الكل يتكلم، الأذن لا تستطيع أن تلتقط حرفاً واحدا مما يُقال، ومع شلال الكلمات تتصاعد رائحة دخان واطعمة وملابس جديدة.
Passage 8:

وفي فصل الخريف من كل عام، تطول أيام الجفاف، وأشاهد الشقوق الكبيرة في الأراضي الواسعة، أو أرضية الترع الجافة، وقد تلونت بلون الجير. ... أنظر إلى القصر من بعيد، أدرك أنني في هذه الليلة، إن دخلت القصر، لن أخرج منه أبداً، إلا ملفوفاً في كفن أبيض، وعيناي مغمضتان، ويداي مستويتان بجوار جسمي. والقلب مشقوق بسكين، غير أنه لم ينزف قطرة دم واحدة.
وتبدو لعيني الأشجار العارية، رصاصية اللون، قاحلة. وينغرس لونها الرمادي الموحش في أعماق نفسي، وأقسم لنفسي أن هذا الخريف أبدي. لن يأتي بعده شتاء ولا ربيع قط.

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