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March 8, 2016

Tolstoy, Freud and Homer: How Translation Services Bring Out Everyone’s Basic Humanity

by brenton

When you translate a document, you are assuming that people essentially communicate in the same way.  There are similarities between people the world over.  Even if they may be citizens of different nations, speaking different languages, they still possess that basic quality of humanity.  Their physical needs are similar, consisting of food, clothing and shelter.  They also have mental and emotional needs that have to be met.  So even if they live in opposite parts of the world, they’re still able to understand each other, if they use translation services.

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
The basic similarity between all human beings goes to explain why great works of literature from one part of the world still resonate in different parts of the world, after being translated.  Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina may originally have been written in Russian, but this book is firmly entrenched in the canon of Western literature.  The idea of a woman who falls in love so deeply that she’s willing to give up everything she has, just to follow a man whose feelings for her are lukewarm, resonates with readers everywhere.

Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams
Freud wrote The Interpretation of Dreams in German, but it has become a classic in the field of psychology and reads beautifully even in translation. The clarity of Freud’s prose and the way he presents difficult concepts in an easy way make him universally comprehensible. Besides, there’s just something innately fascinating about human dreams. In one sense, they are complete mysteries to us all and can never be adequately explained. Yet, the process of trying to make sense of them presents an interesting challenge.

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
These two epic poems, originally written down in ancient Greek, have been translated many times into the English language. One of their most popular recent translations was done by Robert Fagles who preserves the original poetic form. Once again, these works resonate because love and war are themes that we are familiar with in the world even today. The idea of a beautiful woman like Helen running away with a handsome man like Paris is something we can all understand. And we can even understand why her husband would want to take revenge so badly that he would start a ten-year war.

So translation is not just the replacement of one word with another. It carries over human feeling which is constant, or at least very similar, the world over. And it enables people in one part of the world to understand and empathize with those in another. Contact us for translation services that will help you convey human emotion in different languages.

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