How to improve your translation using the power of editing?
Editing in translation plays a critical role. It is the 'finishing touch' that defines the quality of the final translation and so, chiseling the editing skills in translation as important as chiseling the translation skills themselves.
Bad editing or lack of such can turn the final translation into a disaster, weaken the positions of the author on international market and make the target readers turn away from the work fom good.
But it is the responsibility of every literary translator to not only translate words and deliver meanings from one language to another but also represent the author of the work they translate, and their writing. How? By editing their translation.
The goal standing before the translator when editing their translation is to make it sound natural to the target readers, at the same time, keeping the unique style of the original work and its meaning, without logical distortions of any kind.
4 things to pay attention to when editing the final translation:
1. Holes in logic of the translated manuscript
When you are at the stage of editing your translation, the first thing to pay attention to is that the story in your translation sits the same way it does in the original work.
For me, the best way to pick the holes in logic of my translation is by reading it the same way the target readers would.
If something makes me halt and wonder who said what, how is this related to the story, or what do certain parts in my translation even mean, it is the sign there are holes in logic that need to be fixed.
These holes in logic happen because of the cultural and stylistic differences existing between languages. Remember, what is fine and clear in one language might make no sense in another.
What will help you to fix it is your understanding of the original text. The depth of your understanding of the original language is what will help you to work through this issue and demonstrate your professionalism as a literary translator.
Fixing holes in logic might also involve rephrasing and retranslation.
2. Poor vocabulary choice
The vocabulary you choose in your translation should complement and reflect the original writing, its style, manner and eloquence that the author has developed in their writing.
Partly it is true what they say about literary translation — translating a book is, in some way, to rewrite it.
But still, literary translators are the ambassadors of already written books that they are delivering from one language to another, from source readers to target readers.
The original work is the map that will navigate you through your translation, so all you need to do is to make sure that all words in target language sound harmonically and naturally (considering the cultural differences and censorship) to the target readers, and that at the same time, they reflect the style of the original work.
3. Mistranslation / unfitting translation of invented names, terms, and words
This is especially the case when translating fiction.
To demonstrate it un action, I have an example here.
In Russian, Robin Hood was translated as Робин (Robin) Гуд (Hood) instead of Робин (Robin) Капюшон — which would be the direct translation of the word Hood into Russian; whereas Captain Jack Sparrow was translated via direct (word-for-word) method into Капитан (Captain) Джек (Jack) Воробей (Sparrow). Both are legendary characters but I have а feeling that if the translation of their names was done differently, it would somewhat dispel the magic existing around their legendary names.
When editing your translation, take some time and make sure that you are fully satisfied with the option of the translation you choose for the invented names, words, and terms.
Who knows, maybe you are translating next Robin Hood or Captain Jack Sparrow!
I think this is the ‘easiest’ part of the final edits that the translator does on their work before delivering it to the client and it basically involves formatting the translated manuscript and proofreading.
I personally, at this final stage, also like to go through dialogues and roam there a bit more to make sure that the characters in my translation, or rather to say their manners of speech, are consistent as well.
I also try to stay consistent with the vocabulary I use in my translation unless the situationa and the context demand otherwise.
Now you know how to make your final translation sound stronger and look more professional to your clients as well as to the target readers.
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Have a nice day!