- In literary translation you have fewer unknown words but spend more time deciding which word better conveys the original’s tone.
- In literary translation you get paid less for translating more than simple meaning.
- In technical translation you have to be highly specialized in the field you are translating (eg. Medicine, Finance, EU terminology etc) while in literature you might encounter many different fields and discourses in the same book (eg. an American detective, a petty criminal from Yorkshire and a farmer from Ukraine walk into a bar).
- In literary translation you risk twisting the original’s meaning while in technical translation you risk mechanical accidents (washing machine instructions), and even diplomatic episodes (politics and newspaper articles).
- In literary translation you have to combine content and style (tone, form, alliterations, assonance and more), while in technical translation content is king.
Βoth are equally challenging and demanding and it depends on what you like most really: being artsy and creative but having everyone say “why did you translate x as y” all the time or being accurate and strict with your words even if they sometimes don’t “sound very nice” in your language…
I’m all for Literary Translation, even though I sometimes envy Technical Translation for its accuracy and straightforward-ness 🙂 What about you?