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T. S. Eliot


Summary of "Translation in Practice: A Symposium"


"Translation in Practice: A Symposium" delves into the intricate process of literary translation, emphasizing the high expectations placed on literary works. These works are expected to be rich, dense, and multidimensional, weaving magic and altering perceptions. Translators bear the responsibility of sensitively recreating these works, ensuring that the translation is true to the original while being equally enchanting, poetic, and accessible to the new audience​【oaicite:3】​.

Chapter Summaries

Chapter One: How Editors Choose Translators

  • Key Concepts: Translating literary fiction involves more than linguistic expertise; it requires a creative understanding of how words and phrases can work together to convey the story and its nuances.
  • Editor's Role: Editors often have favorite translators for specific languages. They rely on outside readers, sample translations, and the potential translators' CVs to find the right fit.
  • Approach: The process includes assessing translators' understanding of the work's context and their ability to maintain its integrity in translation​【oaicite:2】​.

Chapter Two: Translation Contracts

  • Translator's Rights: Translators, akin to authors, retain copyright of their translations and are expected to produce material of publishable quality.
  • Contractual Obligations: The contract should outline the publisher's expectations and the scope of the translator's creative liberty in reproducing the original work​【oaicite:1】​.

Subsequent Chapters

  • Communication and Collaboration: Emphasizes the importance of open communication channels between the translator, editor, and, if possible, the original author. This interaction is crucial to address any anomalies in the original work and ensure faithful translation.
  • Capturing the Style: Early discussions between the translator and acquiring editor are vital, especially regarding how the book will be marketed and presented to the audience​【oaicite:0】​.


"Translation in Practice: A Symposium" offers a comprehensive look at the multi-faceted process of translating literary works. It highlights the importance of understanding the original work's context, the collaborative nature of the translation process, and the need for clear communication and contractual agreements to produce a translation that honors the original's essence while resonating with a new audience.