Literary translation

Literary translation differs significantly from scientific, technical and financial translation. It is less concerned with terminological accuracy and specialized knowledge than it is with evoking images and emotions in the most idiomatic fashion. The literary translator has to have a solid grasp of the author’s style in order to make the most effective choices.

Literary translation involves some adaptation, for instance, to avoid unfamiliar cultural references that may go over the reader’s head. Translators must draw from their wealth of linguistic knowledge to achieve the intended effect and, while leaving their mark on the text, respect the spirit of the original and the author’s intention. To do this, they have to find a balance between translation, writing and interpretation.

The art of literary translation

By translating works from around the world, literary translators build bridges between cultures. Novels, short stories, plays, poems… Literary translation takes many forms. Although fiction is likely the first thing to spring to mind, it also includes everything from educational content such as teaching materials and papers on philosophy, anthropology or any other discipline, to more practical texts like “for dummies”-style instruction manuals.

Such texts usually feature concepts and stylistic choices that are impossible to replicate literally. It is up to the translator to choose the best equivalents. Despite the centuries old expression Traduttore, traditore, there is no betrayal when the work is done by Idem’s team of outstanding literary translators.

Literary translation services

Creative to the core, our experienced translators are unintimidated by the unique challenges of literary translation, and will live up to your expectations, regardless of the job. They want nothing more than to put their talent to work for you.

Fiction, biographies, poetry, scripts, songs, educational materials and other works of literature are finding new audiences thanks to translation. We use our understanding of the medium and the message to transpose these stories which deserve to be told. Talk to us about your projects. We are listening and have what it takes to meet your needs.

Other services


The editing process is where all aspects of our language expertise come together. Professional editing ensures letter-perfect accuracy, message clarity and compliance with your standards. This important part of the process makes certain that each document meets your expectations. Professional editing and revision are automatically included in our translation quotes and are also available as a standalone service.


Some texts call for a more creative approach. This is what we call adaptation. With their unerring sense of concept, register and nuance, our content adaptation specialists come up with the right words, the right references, the right angle, each and every time. Their unique skill set combines thinking outside the box with real editorial flair to craft messages that pack the same punch in the target language.

Our translation company at a glance

Idem offers a wide range of language solutions tailored to organizations of every size operating in different fields. Professionalism, receptivity and approachability have been our bywords from the start. Our approach is grounded in cooperation, strong partnerships and proven efficiency. Entrust us with your communications.