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The A to Z of Literary Translation: D to F

By Georgia de Chamberet

Dialogue and debate on issues surrounding literary translation at talks, workshops, summer schools and residence programmes—along with translation studies courses covering linguistic concepts, theories and practice—are crucial for professionals in the field to connect and keep up to date.

Ego is necessary for self-preservation, however it is important that a translator temper theirs with detachment, humility and objectivity whilst working on a text. Respecting the original writer's voice (ergo, ego!) is a must. Being open to constructive criticism containing suggestions for improvement given by trusted individuals is an important part of the process. There is a high price to pay for ego satisfaction. When a review fails to mention the translator in the heading, or the text, it is wounding to a translator's ego.

Fees as recommended by the Translators Association (TA), 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 are £80 per 1,000 words for prose and £0.85 per line for poetry. A translator's contract should also be clear on royalties and rights—the TA's guidelines are essential reading. Publishers intent on budget-cutting will invariably try to pay less. Back in the day, a translator's name only very rarely featured in or on a translated book, like a ghost-writer from foreign climes. Traditionally overworked, poorly paid and little recognized, the translator's lot has improved somewhat in recent years


Published Feb 23, 2008   Copyright 2008 Georgia de Chamberet

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