Philosophy
Philosophy

Philosophy



Language is culture. It is alive and changes constantly. New words, idiomatic expressions, and definitions are generated every day. This is why professional translators who have an excellent knowledge of both, the source and the target language, should do your translation.

What exactly defines a well-done literary translation? Does it have to stick verbatim to the original text? Or, if not, how far may it distance itself from it?

Usually, a translation only becomes felicitous when the sentence structure is adapted. Even a supposedly easy language like English, can never be reproduced one-to-one into German. This is anticipated by the differing syntax in both languages. Translating, however, is not only handicraft, but also creativity. Translators are not merely craftsmen and women, but also creative artists. The translation he or she creates is not a copy of the original text in a different language, but an independent work. Therefore there are two authors for translated literature: the author and the translator. It is not commonly known that the translator is a second author. The media often overlooks the authorship of the translator.

How to become a translator? This is a hard question to answer, but I think that one has to feel attracted to it in the first place. In my case it was rather obvious as I grew up with two cultures. Being exposed to two different cultures from my childhood on definitely provided me with an advantage. In the meantime there are several study courses for literary translation. But I firmly believe that one doesn’t become literary translator through studies. An indispensable precondition is the domination of the source and especially the target language. But it is also important for translators to have a good level of life experience and an untameable curiosity. The language mastery might be learned or at least deepened at university, but curiosity must not be lacking. Life and professional experience is acquired over the years.

Finally, I’d like to give an answer to the most asked question made to translators: "Would you actually enjoy writing your own works?" To this I can only reply: "That’s what I do - all the time. I can assure you."