Writing to the woman who would become his third wife, Hermann Hesse complained: “Life for me now holds almost no pleasures any more, in fact I am living in Hell.” The event that had reduced Hesse to this state of near-despair was that his wife-to-be Ninon Dolbin had moved some of his books without his permission. For him this was an intolerable disruption of the orderly existence he believed essential to a writer who had detached himself from the world. His independence required that he hold all of humankind, and even his closest companion , at a rigorously policed distance. Accordingly, although the two of them lived under the same roof, he communicated with Ninon mainly in writing. As his latest biographer, Gunnar Decker, relates: ...........

Does “closest companion” has to be translated to “wife” during translation to a different language? Or even if not, does it still have to be conveying or implying the word “wife” ??


"closest companion" does seem to be conveying or implying the word "wife" in that passage, as you suggested. The reader should understand that, but "closest companion" is not a general euphemism for wife.

The ideal perfect translation would still be "closest companion". Try to retain the same meaning, and implications, in the same way.

If that's impossible to do... then yes, a fallback option could be to say "wife". Such advice applies only to this text, where that seems to be what the author is intending. Not in general.


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