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Found in translation

india Updated: Jan 28, 2013 22:07 IST
Anurupa Sen
Anurupa Sen

Author Lakshmi Holmström whose latest book Wild Girls Wicked Words was launched at JLF has much to say about the difficult art of translation. "My business is to translate, to understand the process by which it has happened, to get inside the skin of the translation. It is for me to study, learn and understand, but the ideas come from the author," she said.

A translator of Tamil into English, Holmström believes the JLF allows participants to have discussions of a "very high quality".

"I translate because I feel that this is a text that needs to be known, original and important," she said. Her works include translations of Madhavayya's Clarinda, a Historical Novel and the The Penguin book of Tamil poetry.

A successful translation is not just about "replicating the words of one language into the other". It also emphasizes how the content and subject material is dealt with. "What comes through is the voice, the tone and the resonance," she says.

The great variety in Holmström's work as a translator - she seems particularly attracted to "courageous writing" - comes through in the projects she has worked on which includes translations of Bama's work that captures what it means to be Dalit. Sexuality and the politics of the body are other areas of interest as are the writings of Tamil in Sri Lanka. "These are the experiences of men and women who have captured war in a way nobody else has, and have then taken it to the diaspora," she said.