Translation is creative

In this sharp article on Quartz, the writer points out there have been 29 different translations of Jane Eyre in Iran since 1980. Everyone is different. All are accurate. They simply used different words in Farsi to convey the same ideas, as understood by the translator. Each translator had to be creative, moving an idea—not simply a word—from one language to the other.

Unless a translator understands the radical power of the book in English, there is no real way to convey that in another language so that it reads naturally. Oh, footnotes might help, but one cannot simply read it in Farsi and glean the same insights as an English reader simply by following her story. This takes creativity. A translator who is creative. This is the main reason machine translations simply don’t cut it.

The book is taught around the world, and has been translated nearly 600 times into at least 57 languages. Read it here, by Matthew Reynolds.

To ask more about the translation process, ask Jonathan right here.