Sabtu, 28 April 2012


English Department, Galuh Universitity, Ciamis


This paper presents the steps a translator should to in translating literary text. Those steps are: understanding the author, studying the background of the literary texts, and embodying the style of the original.
Keyword: author, background, style.

I.              Introduction
The translator who makes no attempt to understand the how behind the translation process is like the driver of a car who has no idea what makes car moves.  Likewise, the mechanic who spends a lifetime taking engines apart but never goes out for a drive is a fitting image for the dry academician who examines the how at the expense of what is. (Bassnet, 2002: 82)
Anne Cluysenaar, in her book of literary stylistics, makes some important points about translation. The translator, she believes, should not work with general precepts when determining what to preserve or pararrel from the SL text, but should work with an eye on each individual structure, wheter it be prose or verse, since each structure will lay stress on certain linguistics features or levels and not others. (Basnet; 2002:83)
Cluysenaar’s assertive statements about literary translation derive plainly from a structualist approach to literary text that conceive of a text as a set of related systems, operating within a set of other systems. Robert Scholes says that every literary unit from the individual sentence to the whole order of words can be seen in relation to the concept of system. In particular, we can look at individual works, literary genres, and the whole of literature as related systems, and at literature as a system within larger system of human culture. (Bassnett, 2002: 83)
The failure of many translators to understand that a literary text is made up of a complex set of system existing in a dialectical relationship with other sets outside its boundaries has often led them to focus on particular aspects of a text the expense of others. (Basnett, 2002: 83)
The translator then first read/translates in the Source Language and then, through a further process of decoding, translates the text into the Target Language. In this, he is actually doing more for the Source Language text is being approached through more than more than one set of systems. It is therefore quite foolish to argue that the task of the translator is to translate but not interpret, as if the two were separate exercise. (Bassnett, 2002: 86)
The translation of literature is to express artistic conception of the original in another language, which can make readers learn something from the version just like reading the original. Consquetenly, translation should be faithful representation in one language of what is written or said and the style of the original in another language.
That is to say, the translator can not add anything that the author did not write, or the translator can not do at his will. In addition, the translator should represent the author’s style. To make it clear, the American author Mark Twain can better serve as a good example. He was famous for humor. So when a translator does translation about his works, humor must be shown in his version. Otherwise, readers will not be interested in the version.
Based on the previous theoretical framework, this paper intends to outline what a translator should do in translating literary work. This will be elaborated into three major parts namely understanding the author, studying the background of the literary texts, and embodying the style of the original. Those will be presented in the folllowing part of this paper.

II.                The Steps a Translator Should Do in Translating Literary Texts
1.      Understanding the Author
Translation is a process of the re-creation of the literature. However, in the process of translation, the translator is not able to separate with the author. Translation, especially the translation of literature, is not an easy job. It is essential for the translator to master two languages well, at the capability of expressing words, discernment and ability of thinking in terms of images, which all of them the translator must possess.
 As a result, when he reads the work of the author, he can completely understand the author’s meaning, and then grasp the motifs of the original. In other words, the process of translation is a process of understanding the author. In order to get a good version, a version that can draw reader’s attention, the translation must go into the authors’s heart, grasp the essence of the work.
Maybe sometimes, will ask that without understanding the original, could a translator do translation? Certainly, he could. But please remember that translation does not only serve for the translator itself but also the readers as well. If the translator’s version is not able to reflect the original truly, will readers appreciate and admire him? After all, a good translator comes from the evaluation of public. To some extent, his success relays on the readers.

2.      Studying the background of the literary works
After understanding the author, it is necessary for the translator to study the background of the works. As far as we know, all the things appear accompanying with some reasons, so do authors. When an author writes a work, sometimes he wants to expose something to the readers, or according to the social problems, he will create a work to warn the public. To wit, the literature always reflects the mental attitudes of a time and a nation.
Eventually, if the translator is lack of this step, different kinds of false translation will be caused. Absolutely, as a translator, he should be knowledgeable, such as, the knowledge of religion, history, geography and other aspects.
It is undutiful that without studying the background of the work, any false translation will happen. Therefore, the translators have to look for reverent reference. By understanding the authors’ notes, works and backgrounds, it will be helpful for the translators to translate.

3.      Embodying the style of the original
The translation of literary works is for the purpose of not only expressing the content of the original, but also expressing the style of the original. It can be said that the problem of the style is still the key problem of the translation. Generally speaking, style is divided into three types: the style of thought, art and language. However, literature is an art described in language and words, so the former two styles are expressed throughout the language. That is to say, the problem of style is concentrated on the style of the language.
Style is the reflection of the author’s personality, and it is the unity of context and form of the work. It there is no certain form of expression, the readers can not be attracted by the content of the work. With this view, every work has its own special artistic charm. Under this circumstance, the translator should study the author’s style suitable literature language.
The closer the style of the version is to the original, the more opportunities to “arouse sympathy” and the more easily to succeed. Therefore, if the original is simple and exquisite, the version should not be flowery and ornate. It is necessary to make the readers understand.
Up to this part, this paper has examined the steps that the translators have to consider in translating literary texts. The next is the conclusion, which will end the discussion of the proposed topic.

III.             Conclusion
Translation study is still a young discipline and still has a long way to go. With the advancement of the society, the fields of translation have gradually appeared. Different people have different opinions towards the translation, especially the translation of literary texts.
This paper has proposed the steps that a translator can consider in translating literary texts. They are understanding the author, studying the background of the literary texts, and embodying the style of the original. By considering these steps it is hoped that the result of the translated literary texts ca be better.

Bassnet, Susan. Translation studies. Ed. Routledge. 2002
Linder, Daniel. Translating Irony in Popular Fiction. Babel 47:2 p. 97-108
Martin de Lenon. Celia. Skopos and Beyonce. A Critical Study of Functionalism. John Publishing Comp. 2008
Zatlin, Phyllis. Theatrical Translation and Film Adaption. Multilangual Matters Ltd. 2005
....................... Necessary Qualities of Translation in Literary Works (retrieved from 210.  40.132.153:8080/uploadfile/2004112617754.pdf).

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