Poems and songs
Sometimes it is impossible to change some words or sentences because they are relevant to the plot, they appear next to related images or maps… In addition, they must have a nice rhythm and a seamless rhyme in the target language.
Puns and wordplay
The thought process is similar because they usually refer to a character, a conversation, a scene or a hint of future developments.
For example, the translation of the English anagram Tom Marvolo Riddle > I am Lord Voldemort.
- Spanish: Tom Sorvolo Ryddle > Soy lord Voldemort
- German: Tom Vorlost Riddle > Ist Lord Voldemort
Names of people, fantastic creatures, fictional places or even magic spells
Authors frequently use catchy names that evoke an immediate mental image when read or heard, and we should always consider how the reader of the translation will react.
Let me explain the three most common options with the translation into French from Harry Potter spells.
An author's intricate and elaborate fantasy world
Every so often, the action takes place in an unfamiliar place and time, a universe with its own rules and creatures. It’s easy to write about London in 2023, but you must give a more complete description to envision Tolkien's Middle-earth or Martin's Westeros.
It is a great challenge to recreate this imaginary world without loss for the reader of another language. The translator needs a lot of creativity, alertness and attention to detail to describe this fictional world and bring it closer to the reader.