Improve Your Literary Translation Skills In 3 Easy Steps

By Diana Cristina Anichitoaei
In Literary translation
Jan 12th, 2015

3 Tips To Become a Better Literary Translator


It is a well-known fact that a good literary translator has to be a skilful writer at the same time. So when it comes to translating a book or, more generally, literary translation, one must use its creativity at the maximum. It is like writing the book all over again, trying to make it compatible with another language and a different culture. This is indeed a challenging job and it requires full attention and dedication.

Before deciding to translate a book, you should make sure that you have vast knowledge in the field on which the book is focused. Thus, if philosophy is not your favourite subject, you will definitely have a hard time trying to translate a philosophical book.


Diversify the topics that you read

In order to become a great book translator, it is advisable to read as much as possible in all the languages you master. A good idea is to diversify the topics that you read even if they are out of your comfort zone.

This is really helpful, particularly in terms of understanding the styles and the subtleties of the foreign literature. This will help you adapt them to your own culture and achieve a professional translation.


Work on developing your writing skills

Besides reading a lot, it is a very good idea to work on developing your writing skills. This can be achieved by putting your ideas on the paper or building your own blog, where you can post regularly. This way, you can receive feedback and improve the areas where you don’t sound so professional.

Writing regularly also helps you create your own style, which will give a touch of originality to your work. Only with a lot of practice and hard work can professionalism be achieved!


Make research in advance about the writer’s style

Another good advice for book translators is to make research in advance about the writer of that certain work. Before interpreting a vast book, you must know the style of the author in advance.

Try to read other of its publications in order to understand his personality better. Afterwards, check the period when the book was written in order to contextualize it accurately. Attention to details is a must if your goal is to reach perfection in your work.


To conclude, translating a book is that type of work that requires a lot of effort and attention to details. But in the end, it can be extremely rewarding. After all, being part of promoting a valuable work that brings so many benefits to its readers is a real privilege.


Want to learn more about literary translation? These are some interesting readings:


Keep reading:


Sign up and receive weekly tips to get started in translation

Sign up and receive free weekly tips

No spam, we promise.

About "" Has 7 Posts

I am a second year student in Languages and European Studies. I speak four languages: English, French, Spanish and Romanian. I am interested in Translation and European Politics. I love writing, particularly about environmental issues and policies.

Comments are closed.