Translation Today: Literary Translation in Focus

by Michał Organ (Volume editor)
©2019 Edited Collection 180 Pages


The volume proposes a comprehensive collection of carefully selected studies investigating some of the most intriguing problems explored in the field of literary translation. The contributions authored by an international group of scholars and professional translators focus on the newest developments in the field including the complex problems arising from intercultural translation; translation of stylistic devices, adjustment to literary and linguistic conventions, ideological aspects influencing translation; the use of footnotes and the future perspectives of translation studies.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • List of Contributors
  • Introduction
  • Gālisiyā Kī Kathāẽ: on Rendering Andrzej Stasiuk’s Tales of Galicia into Hindi
  • Translating Literature, Translating Culture: Olga Tokarczuk in Hindi
  • Herta Müller’s Multicultural Consciousness in Polish and Czech Translation
  • On the Special Difficulties of Literary Translation from Modern Hebrew into Polish as Exemplified by the Novel Mar Mani
  • Archaisms & Archaisation in the Translation of Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Linguistic and Pragmatic Approaches to Translation (Based on the Short Story White Flame by Uladzimir Karatkievich)
  • Durrell’s Balthazar through the Prism of Translation
  • Robert Burns in Ukrainian: the Reproduction of the Cultural Other
  • The Importance of Convention in the Translation of Experimental Fiction – a Questionnaire-based Study
  • “Translators’ Desperate Efforts” or Who Demotes Agatha Christie’s Characters. Translators’ Footnotes Commenting on the Quality of Previous Translations
  • The Metaturn in Translation Studies, and the Images of Knowledge on Translation

List of Contributors

Christian Jakob Altmann

University of Silesia

Łukasz Barciński

University of Rzeszów

Monika Browarczyk

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

Ishkhan Dadyan

Yerevan State University

Tatiana Garanovich

Minsk State Linguistic University

Ruzanna Ghazaryan

Yerevan State University

Iryna Odrekhivska

Ivan Franko National University of Lviv

Michał Organ

University of Rzeszów

Marek Piela

Jagiellonian University

Valentyna Savchyn

Ivan Franko National University of Lviv

Maria Skakuj-Puri

Weronika Sztorc

University of Warsaw


The volume Translation Today: Literary Translation in Focus is a collection of eleven theoretical and empirical studies steering the reader through the intricacies of literary translation. Carefully selected chapters are written by an international group of scholars specializing in some of the most thought-provoking problems of the field. The contributions, intended for members of the academia, scholars, academics, theoreticians, practising translators and other specialists in the field, pertain to the current trends and research conducted in different institutions investigating the niceties of literary translation. This volume predominantly focuses on the problems that face the discipline and the translators themselves in the context of intercultural translation, rendition of stylistic devices, conforming to literary and linguistic conventions, ideology and its impact on imagery, the use of footnotes and the future of translation studies.

The translation of Andrzej Stasiuk’s novel Tales of Galicia into Hindi is the subject of the analysis undertaken by Monika Browarczyk. The writer is considered to be one of the most acclaimed contemporary Polish writers, and the novel is a primary literary work depicting people living in the economically backward south-eastern part of Poland in the period of political and economic transition that took place after the fall of communism and the Polish People’s Republic. The author analyses the implications arising from the Polish-Hindi rendition of the novel, especially the applied strategies of domestication and foreignization aimed at making the translation readable to the target readership.

Another chapter discussing Polish-Hindi translation is offered by Maria Skakuj-Puri, who examines selected works of Olga Tokarczuk. The author of the chapter, and at the same time the translator responsible for the Hindi rendition of Tokarczuk’s short stories presented in the volume entitled Szafa (The Wardrobe/Kamre aur anya kahaniyā̃, respectively in English and Hindi) and currently working on the Hindi translation of Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych (Drive your Plough over the Bones of the Dead), considers the difficulties of translating literary works into languages belonging to different and remote cultures while simultaneously successfully transferring the imaginary world established by the writer onto a different literary practice. The author places particular emphasis on the application of translation strategies used to render Christian imagery to a culture and language shaped by a different religious tradition. Furthermore, the study reflects on the translations of prayers or ←9 | 10→biblical passages, namely whether it is more suitable to follow already translated ones or to propose new translations.

Christian Jakob Altmann discusses the Banat-Transylvanian-German-Romanian multicultural consciousness of Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller, the writer being a member of the German minority living in Banat of Temeswar, Romania. The study promotes a view of values that are unique to each culture, even though they may not necessarily be unique in different cultural spheres. This aspect proves to be a great hindrance in Polish and Czech translations despite the different preconditions determining the transfer of culturally marked words in both of the languages in question. The author emphasizes the troublesome nature of a third culture’s references as such elements may be absent in the culture of the translation or be their domestic equivalent free of unfamiliar associations.

Marek Piela provides an interesting discussion of some special difficulties of literary translation from modern Hebrew into Polish encountered in the novel Mar Mani by A. B. Yehoshua. The novel comprises five conversations carried on in the space of time between the fifth conversation conveyed, which took place in 1848, and the first one, which happened in 1982. The first conversation is written in present-day spoken Hebrew, whereas the previous conversations use different styles of language exhibiting literary, bookish or archaic natures. Hebrew mainly applies different grammatical features to differentiate between the two involved registers, which constitute a potential difficulty for the translator. Nevertheless, the novel has been successfully translated into Polish by Leszek Kwiatkowski, who rendered the source registers by means of vocabulary.

Michał Organ offers a study examining the Polish-English translation of archaisms in Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy novel Blood of Elves. The analysis discusses some prevailing tendencies governing the selection of techniques for translation of archaisms proposed by Lefere (1994) and their impact on the reception of the English translation of the novel. The author concentrates on the issues related to the notion of archaisms and archaisation of a text, briefly presents the use of archaisms in The Witcher fantasy saga and provides a summary of different translation techniques and strategies used when rendering archaisms. The theoretical introduction is complemented by a comparative analysis of archaisms in selected lines of dialogue found in Polish and English versions of the book. In the course of the analysis, it is suggested that the majority of archaisms are translated by the application of a minimal modernisation technique.

In the next chapter, Tatiana Garanovich studies the rendition of literary works of Uladzimir Karatkievich, a Belarussian writer and author of a short story entitled White Flame. The presented material focuses on the linguistic ←10 | 11→peculiarities present in the short story and different approaches to their transfer into English. The linguistic features present some essential constituents of the worldview represented by the main protagonist as well as their denomination in the text. The author of the study investigates the semantic field of snow by analysing the protagonist’s perception of colour and linguistic means standing for colour, both in the source and target texts. An additional element of analysis are comparisons, especially ones applying national references Finally, the author studies and categorises international and pseudo-international words found in the text.

The chapter authored by Ruzanna Ghazaryan and Ishkhan Dadyan places stylistic devices found in Lawrence Durrell’s Balthazar and its Russian translation into the centre of interest. In the undertaken study, the authors follow linguostylistic and linguopoetic methods of analysis to discuss the artistic value of the novel and the writer’s personality dynamics. The analysed stylistic devices found in the text are compared with their counterparts in the Russian translation to determine the changes introduced during the rendition of the novel. The typology of translation transformations proposed by Barkhudarov serves as the basis for the conducted analysis.

The next contribution, authored by Valentyna Savchyn, offers an analysis of Robert Burns’ poetry in Ukrainian translation delivered by Mykola Lukash. The author bases her study on the two views expressed by Lefevere (1992), firstly that translation is perceived as a rewriting of the source text conveying a certain ideology and poetics, and as such having a manipulative potential, and secondly that the translator projecting the image of the original author and his or her work affects their perception in the target literature. The proposed study delves into the way in which Robert Burns is presented in the Ukrainian translation. Additional aspects of the analysis include an examination of the impact made by the translator’s ideology and poetic motivations on Burns’ image as presented in the translation. Furthermore, the author discusses the cultural and ideological shifts introduced into the translation as an outcome of explicit and implicit manipulations.

The subsequent chapter, written by Łukasz Barciński, studies the importance of convention in the translation of experimental fiction. The author stresses the importance of being sufficiently familiarised with different literary conventions as they constitute a prerequisite for an adequate translation of a literary work. To prove his point, the author conducted a questionnaire-based study among 36 literary translators who were requested to provide translations of fragments from a postmodern novel Gravity’s Rainbow written by Thomas Pynchon. Each translator was asked to render the fragments twice, before and after becoming ←11 | 12→familiarised with the conventions characteristic of postmodern literature. The acquired data confirms the author’s outlook on the importance of literary conventions as proper erudition and sufficient knowledge of a novel’s literary background may determine the quality of the translated text.

In turn, Weronika Sztorc approaches the translators’ footnotes in Polish renditions of literary works published within the latest 30 years. One of the basic functions of footnotes added to a given translation is the explanation of particular decisions undertaken during the process of rendition. However, paratexts added by translators are also included in forewords or afterwords, and they usually concern previous translations of a given literary work. The author offers a study of selected footnotes discussing previous renditions found in literary works published within the last 30 years. As presented, such footnotes may be predominantly informative, but some of them express a very subjective character revealing the personal traits of their author, for instance a disapproval of predecessors’ translation decisions. The author raises an interesting aspect of such paratexts, as footnotes added by translators may form coherent stories stressing the work of the translator and the difficulties encountered and suggesting that there is no one proper way of translating a given work into the target language.

The study contributed by Iryna Odrekhivska addresses the shift towards self-reflection in translation studies resulting in a review of the discipline’s relevance in contemporary social, cultural, academic and other contexts. The view expressed by the ‘metaturn’ of translation studies is discussed by the author who examines some key tendencies present in the discipline. By the employment of a wider and comprehensive perspective, the study elaborates on selected trends conveying ‘the future of the past’ in translation studies, for instance, the research into metahistoriography and present historiographical accounts of translation. The author applies Yehuda Elkana’s (1981) concept of ‘images of knowledge’ to emphasize the necessity of viewing translation ‘knowledge’ in a wider and more inclusive perspective. The chapter also focuses on the ‘present’ of the discipline, as the concept of ‘metaturn’ takes into account the transdisciplinarity of translation studies as well as the need to establish ‘Post-Translation Studies’ and discusses their implications for translation pedagogy.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2019 (April)
Translation Translation Studies Literary Translation Intercultural Translation Stylistic devices Literary conventions
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 177 pp., 3 fig. b/w

Biographical notes

Michał Organ (Volume editor)

Michał Organ, PhD is an assistant professor at the Department of Translation Theory in the Institute of English Studies, University of Rzeszów (Poland). His main research interests include audio-visual translation, humour translation, censorship and manipulation in translation, unofficial translation, translation of tourist information texts and CAT tools.


Title: Translation Today: Literary Translation in Focus
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181 pages