Publication details [#21683]

Barslund, Charlotte. 2011. The translation of literary prose. In Malmkjær, Kirsten and Kevin Windle, eds. The Oxford handbook of Translation Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 139–152.


Literary prose translation transfers a story written in one language into another. In doing so the translation seeks to convey the qualities of the original text to a readership that would otherwise not have access to it. Literary prose translation is thus the communication of stories between two cultures. The chapter begins by providing a brief account of the history of literary prose translation into English. It then considers the factors which affect what was translated, and gives an account of the state of literary prose translation today. The chapter discusses the difficulties of defining what constitutes a “good” translation, in view of the subjective nature of the novel and the perception held by some that a translation of a novel is an inferior copy of the original. The chapter also looks at prose translation and the commercial conditions under which it is produced, and the level of recognition that prose translation receives. Finally, it considers major issues and controversies which affect prose translation today.
Source : Based on abstract in book