Biography Translation

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A biography is an account of a person’s life and times. Its writing generally relies on a wide range of documents and viewpoints, including the person’s own memories and comments, in order to depict his or her experiences of education, work, relationships, etc. A biography may also highlight various aspects of the person’s life and provides an analysis of his or her personality, beliefs, achievements and failures.

While biographical works are usually non-fiction, fiction can also be used to portray a person’s life. Like books, biographies should be translated by professional translators who have sufficient knowledge and experience in fields related to the subject matters of the texts. Translators can also familiarize themselves with the nature and significance of the biographies by consulting a variety of primary and secondary sources and, when possible, the persons themselves. When translating a biography, the translator should further attempt to “capture” the tone and style of the writing in source language and “convey” them in the writing in target language. Finally, he or she should strive to make the translation appear to a native speaker of the target language to have been written in that language in the first place.

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