Literary translation and terminological precision
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Vladimir Nabokov was a major translator and translation theorist. His idea of translation, which resembles his general view of reality, is extremely helpful when it comes to carry out a critical analysis of Chekhov’s short stories and an evaluation of the possible translation strategies to adopt. In order to explain the subjectivity of reality, in an interview Nabokov used the example of the lily. The way it is described varies considerably according to the personal perception of who sees it: an ordinary person, a scientist, a botanist. In an excerpt from a 1959 essay, significantly entitled “Problems of Flora”, Nabokov stressed the importance of precision when a literary translator hasd to render botanical names and coames to the following conclusion: “The translator is entitled to use any available term so long as it is exact”.
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