The Complexities of Literary Translation Analytical Essay by Nicky

The Complexities of Literary Translation
A detailed analysis of the semantic and cultural complexities of language translation.
# 146813 | 1,453 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Jan 17, 2011 in Language (English: Linguistics)

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This paper offers a detailed analysis of the semantic and cultural challenges of literary translations. The paper explains that while literature-based translations into a target language can never hope to fully capture the meaning and truth that is expressed in the term's source language, the effects of good literature can be noticed and appreciated in any language with the proper linguistic approach. The paper asserts that perfect translation is ultimately an unrealistic goal, but it is important that translational writers work continually to improve the accuracy, cultural sensitivity, and comprehensive practicality of selected literary translations. The paper concludes that the language that a word or piece of text is being translated into has its own history and culture, and it will not match up with the original language's context; this makes translation of literary texts especially difficult.

From the Paper:

"As we can see though, one of the more complex snares of bridging the language gap occurs when cultural differences create communication barriers that prevent direct personal engagement of ideas. Where concepts and ideas are unique to specific cultures with their own language and dialect sets, it may be the case that linguistic translation is inadequate to provide appropriate meanings to non-native speakers. This creates a gap between cognitive and translational equivalence as well as in comprehension between writer and reader. Religious, tribal and other ethnic peculiarities may exist strictly within cultures and language for which there is no meaning-equivalence in other cultures and languages. Here, cognitive equivalence is absent and, in its place, a danger exists that translational equivalence could be inaccurately substituted. If the translation is not constructed in such a way as to discourage such misapplication of meanings, this equivalence discrepancy could prevent the reader from properly understanding the crucial meanings and relevancies of the text in question."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Monteiro, George. "Poe/Pessoa." Comparative Literature, 40 (2), pp. 134-149
  • Pessoa, Fernando. "Li Hoje." Accessed 1 March 2009.
  • Pessoa, Fernando. "Os Antigos." Accessed 1 March 2009.
  • Piotrowski, Tadeusz. "Problems in bilingual lexicography," Wroc aw: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wroc awskiego, 1994.
  • Rougle, William P. "The Poetry of Fernando Pessoa in the Soviet Union." Luso-Brazilian Review, 35 (1), pp. 79-85

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The Complexities of Literary Translation (2011, January 17) Retrieved June 17, 2021, from

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"The Complexities of Literary Translation" 17 January 2011. Web. 17 June. 2021. <>