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How translations can retell narratives and bring unknown stories to readers

The Sahitya Akademi organised a symposium on the art of translation. Experts discussed the different functions performed by a translator.

books Updated: Feb 18, 2018 14:31 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Translation,Books,Art of translation
Several experts came together at a symposium organised by the Sahitya Akademi to deliberate on the art of translation. (Shutterstock)

What is the role of translations in bringing many unknown stories to the fore? Can translation be used as a means of retelling narratives? Several experts came together at a symposium organised by the Sahitya Akademi to deliberate on the topic.

The symposium titled Translation as Retelling was part of the Akademi’s ongoing Festival of Letters at the Rabindra Bhavan Lawns in New Delhi on Friday. In the inaugural session, K Sreenivasarao, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi, welcomed the participants and spoke about the translation traditions of India, practices of adaptations and the process of retelling the texts. He concluded that by nature “translation is a process of retelling”.

The inaugural address was delivered by Satyavrat Shastri, eminent Sanskrit Scholar and fellow, Sahitya Akademi. In his speech, he said that it is the responsibility of a translator to understand what the author wants to say before translating the text.

The first session of the program was chaired by Ranjit Saha and papers were presented by Alok Gupt, Anamika and Tarsem on the topics Meaning of Translation in Indian Thought, Meaning of Translation in Western Thought and Logic of Meaning, respectively.

According to Ranjit Saha, “We are not just translators, but rather, students of translation”. Alok Gupt, in his speech, pointed out the fact that “there is no proper book of the translation discipline”. Anamika, in her speech, said that translators were supposed to be just translators of meaning. Tarsem said that translation is a powerful medium which helps in “the transportation of thoughts between two languages”.

The second session of the Symposium on Translation as Retelling was chaired by Prof O.L. Nagabhushana Swamy. The paper presenters were Krishna Kumar Goswami, Angshuman Kar and Prof Vanamala Vishwanatha.

Goswami in his paper on Translator’s Virtues, Task and Expectations said that 20 to 25 years earlier a translator was considered a secondary person, but now he is being recognised. Prof Vishwanatha in her paper on Translation: A Negotiation to transform Misery into Splendor admitted that ‘rather than seeing translation as a problem to be solved, I would like to see it as a stimulating game, such as Sudoku or the cryptic crossword, a leela, the pleasurable act of playing with language”. Dr Angshuman Kar, in his paper on Translator’s Responsibilities and Challenges touched on various issues and the challenges a translator has to face while translating.

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First Published: Feb 18, 2018 14:28 IST