Literary Translation as a Creative Act
Literary translation implies the translation of all genres of literature, which include prose, drama and poetry. Literature is described as 'an apparently nebulous body of knowledge in oral or written form, an imitation of life, which reflects civilization and culture, and which covers every angle of human activities-culture, tradition, entertainment, information among others.' It is one of the great creative and universal means of communicating the emotional, spiritual and intellectual concerns of humankind. Literary translation has to do with translating texts written in a literary language, which abounds in ambiguities, homonyms and arbitrariness, as distinct from the language of science or that of administration. Literary language is highly connotative and subjective because each literary author is lexically and stylistically idiosyncratic and through his power of imagination, he uses certain literary techniques such as figures of speech, proverbs and homonyms through which he weaves literary forms. The literary translator is therefore the person who concerns himself with translation of literary texts. A literary translator generally respects good writing by taking into account the language, structures, and content, whatever the nature of the text. The literary translator participates in the author's creative activity and then recreates structures and signs by adapting the target language text to the source language text as closely as intelligibility allows. He needs to assess not only the literary quality of the text but also its acceptability to the target reader, and this should be done by having a deep knowledge of the cultural and literary history of both the Source and the Target Languages. Language and culture are closely related and one is indispensable to the other. In fact, language acquires its meaning from the country's culture. A single language may cross several culture borders. There are generally...
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