Challenges in Book Translation-Clicl-For-Translation

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The article discusses the challenges of book translation
Books! Hundreds of pages, thousands of hours of spent of translation that is filled with challenges, trials and errors, moments of doubts and enlightenment. Sure book translation is one of the most challenging ordeals that might

Culture and Context

Puns, jokes, context, and cultures form the background behind every book translation. However, during translations, the writer has to be well versed on what the result should be. The translation of informative cultural pieces should be retained, however, this might not always be possible and the translator needs to provide appropriate cultural context or even choose to remove the untranslatable humor.

A similar thing can be said about humor. For example, German humor relies on world play, while the same cannot be said about British humor. A literal translation of English humor to German usually falls flat.


Subject expertise is a necessity during book translation. Usually, translators might themselves be an expert in the genre of book that is being translated, many a time translators also refer to experts in the subject area during the process of translation.


Non-fiction books are gaining a big fan base among the world audience and expert translators are bound to do justice during the process of translation. For example, “Sette brevi lezioni di fisica” (Seven Brief Lessons on Physics) got translated to 41 languages. The translator besides having previous knowledge of scientific translation also had to closely work with the original author such that the translation had an equal impact as the original.


The translator might employ various methods during translation. Translation methods like chunking up, chunking down, normalization, and inclusion of neologisms where no words can describe the context requires a tremendous effort from the side of the translator. Just to give an example - Foreign words like “Schadenfreude” are being translated incorporated into English vocabulary because there is no better word for it in English.

Retaining The Essence

The translation is about more than resonating through individual words. One also needs to be able to bring ruminations, contemplations, and sentiments. One needs to be able to “fit oneself onto the author's shoe”. The style and literary devices the author uses can be crucial to the essence of the text and many a time translators need to replicate this spirit.

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