Literary translation

Dirk Delabastita

Table of contents

The vagueness of the phrase “literary translation” enables it to cover the “non-literary” translation of “literary” texts (e.g. literal renderings of a poem for pedagogical or for philological purposes) as well as the “literary” translation of “non-literary” texts (e.g. religious ones). But in most cases the phrase refers to “literary” translations made of “literary” originals, whereby the translators are expected to preserve or to recreate somehow the aesthetic intentions or effects that may be perceived in the source text. It should be remembered, however, that the status which texts have as “literary” texts or indeed as “translations” is ultimately a matter of conventions, norms and communicative functions as much as being a reflection of the text’s intrinsic characteristics (see Literary Studies and Translation Studies).

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