New Login   

The Art and Act of Translation

G.J.V. Prasad

Edited by V.V.B. Rama Rao
Authorspress, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 154, Rs. 400.00


An ELT specialist, a translator, and a creative writer, Rama Rao has naturally a lot to say about language use. He has put together sixteen of his articles in this book which is in two parts as the title indicates—one on literary translation and the other on language. The six essays on translation are evidently from someone who enjoys the art and act of translation. In the very first chapter, the author opines that translation is an art and has very little to do with the academic discipline. The chapter also establishes an informal avuncular tone that the author adopts throughout the book. This is a book of advice from someone who has been there, done it, and has thought about it. This means that Rama Rao can contradict himself but then how can you talk about the practice of translation without contradicting yourself? He quotes approvingly C.D. Narasimhaiah’s statement that the translator’s task is ‘not making an idol for promenading (utsav murti) but making and unveiling the manifest deity (udbhav murti)’ to argue that translation is a service to the divine. What he does not address is how to determine the essence. In an example he gives in the chapter, Rama Rao explains how he left out all references to homosexuality in a translation of a Punjabi novel. It would have been worthwhile if he had given us a reading of the novel to show what was its essence and how the references to homosexuality were unnecessary. The essay on the art of translation is interesting because it gives us three different translations of some select kurals of Tiruvalluvar. The essay on translating the classics is a brief introduction to the task of translating three holy books—the Gita, the Bible, and the Koran. The next essay is a reading of P. Lal’s introduction to his translation of the Mahabharata, where he approves of Lal’s position that each age gets the translation that it deserves. In the next essay on teaching literary translation practically, the writer gives us his English translation of a contemporary Telugu poem, for us to enjoy and use in class if we are working with Telugu and English. In the last chapter in this section, Rama Rao analyses the language used by Telugu newspapers to show how the spoken style adopted by reporters is doing no service to the ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.