The Art and Business of a Good Translation

by / Tuesday, 12 April 2016 / Published in Translation

Assuming you already know who translators are and what their line of business is, have you ever wondered about what they have to do in order to make a good translation of a poem, short story or a novel, or any technical document, medical translation…? Your answer might be: “Well, just as any other translator.” Not really. At least, this is what any serious translator will tell you.


An author is recognized by their unique style and words. This helps identify the author’s true intentions and feelings. The truth in the author’s words can be seen in the manner the words are shaped into sentences and thoughts. Same applies for translators: it is up to them to balance between the source and target language or idea, or thought and inhale a completely new life in your own words, but staying consistent with the original. It’s like building your own set of Lego blocks by looking at the picture on the box. To achieve a good translation, you need to be well read, creative, and have a wide array of interests in order to wrap up your translation in that lovely bow everyone knows you for.


Needless to say, much of the debate relies on whether you are translating business, legal, medical or technical documents or literary pieces of work. One-to-one correlation between words is possible and it resembles doing business or crafts. On the other hand, the process you have to go through to convey the state of mind of the author goes beyond rules and formulas, one-to-one correlations between words and exerts from you that hidden artistic talent no chart or diagram can show.

Check out on this infographic resource what a good translation is:


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