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Franz Kafka (1883) Options
Daemon
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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Franz Kafka (1883)

Despite the fact that he published only a few short works during his lifetime, Kafka is regarded as one of the most influential 20th-century writers. In prose remarkable for its clarity and precision, Kafka presents a world that is at once real and dreamlike and in which individuals burdened with guilt, isolation, and anxiety make a futile search for personal salvation. What virtually insurmountable difficulties do translators face when converting Kafka's works from German into English? More...
moniquester
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 2:33:46 AM

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The problems with translation from Kafka's German to English were two-fold. First, and foremost, was the problem of German's incredibly long run-on sentences--which are considered fine form in German! In German it is entirely possible for one sentence to have such a pile of subordinate clauses, that a single sentence can span an entire page or more!

The second problem with translation from Kafka's German to English is that his German was strongly influenced by his Yiddish background, as well as by his Czech heritage. He lived in Czechoslovakia. So his was not a pure German, but a rather "accented" German. Kafka wrote with an accent.

The two problems together make for a profound mish-mash which is most difficult to translate. I have attempted similar tasks, both from Polish to English--Polish using a similar sentence-structure to German; and from German to English. It is a horrendous task, to put it mildly.

If you would like to read a humorous rendition of what this task entails, please feel free to look up "The Awful German Language" by Mark Twain. You can Google it.
LucOneOff
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 3:04:29 AM

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Another virtually insurmountable problem facing translators is how to deal with the author's intentional use of ambiguous idioms and words that have several meanings which result in phrasing difficult to precisely translate.
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