This is a guest post by PRASANTA CHAKRAVARTY
“If the translation of poetry is impossible, then the translation of poetry is a genuine art.”
~Nasos Vayenas, Eight Positions on the Translation of Poetry
Translation is an act in the wake of literature. Both the languages – source and target – are variations on literary themes, with neither having priority. But translation depends on an essential paradox: a collision between restlessness and poise, detachment and recreation. In the best translations of poetry this paradox turns into a synthesis that must remain unfinished. Continue reading Slow Rendering of an Ache & Mahesh Verma’s Translation : Prasanta Chakravarty
Ever since Hangwoman, my translation of K R Meera’s modern epic in Malayalam, Aarachaar was published, I have been repeatedly asked whether I edited it to ‘shape’. The question sometimes irritated me, because it was posed as if I had carried out the intellectual equivalent of cosmetic surgery on that fine work.
I struggled to communicate the subtlety of the editing that translation demands. One is always conscious of the fact that the readership of an English translation is qualitatively different from that of the original Malayalam text, but editing in the process of translation is not primarily aimed at making the text palatable to the former. Much more significant is the fact that what may need a whole sentence in the source language can perhaps be conveyed in a word in the target language or vice-versa. And, more importantly perhaps, any translation is hugely dependent on the translator’s reading of the text. The translator is constantly faced with the problem of how to interpret – is a certain word or phrase or sentence a simple description, or a complex one, or perhaps a metaphor or a simile? Editing rests quite decisively on such micro-decisions.
Continue reading Translators’ Dilemmas and Entering ‘South Asian Literature’
That is a clip from The Postmaster (the first story in Teen Kanya, directed by Satyajit Ray).
Trisha Gupta on Tagore’s characters, seen better in films than in English translation:
In film after film, we see events through the eyes of the educated Bengali man trying to deal with a world that has either changed too much—or too little. The protagonist is often a young man from the city who arrives at a small provincial outpost, armed with a modern Western education and little else, his head full of glimpses of another world that seem only to succeed in cutting him off from everything around him. Continue reading Tagore in film