Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Marathi Translator's Affinity



A previous post on this blog put forward the notion of translator's affinity in the sense of a translator's empathy with the original author. (To find the post, enter affinity in the Search box on the right.) Examples were given. Now another striking example of it has come to hand. It comes from a translator-teeming country often touted on this blog as under-represented and under-studied in contemporary mainstream translatology, namely India.

Sunanda Amrapurkar is the Marathi translator who worked on Deepti Naval's The Mad Tibetan, In her view, translation is not just about language but about much more.
"Detachment is an unfamiliar feeling for Sunanda Amrapurkar. In fact the Marathi translator can identify completely with an emotion at the opposite end of the spectrum that enables her to feel a sense of kinship with authors she has never met and yet, tapped into their core for her work. Her latest translation, which was released recently in Pune [the cultural capital of the state of Maharashtra, India], is of Deepti Naval's The Mad Tibetan (see References below). 'I loved her sensitivity as an artist… The way she has depicted nature in her book – be it a seaside in Mumbai, twilight in Khandala or the Himalayan mountainscape – it's almost a character in the book. I really enjoyed her content and expression,' Amrapurkar said from her home in Mumbai."

Another aspect of her affinity is her natural attraction to women-oriented narratives.
"It's true that I gravitate towards them. Even as a child, I was aware of the way society discriminated against women and used to ask my mother why she didn't made me a boy."

Amrapurkar is a good example of the Native Translators who constitute the vast majority of literary translators, and an assurance that for them age doesn't matter. She only took on her first translation project at age 53, after her first grandchild was born and without ever having taken a translation course or diploma. Absorption in family care makes many Indian woman intellectuals late developers. Yet since then she has translated over 20 books from English to Marathi, the Indo-Aryan language spoken predominantly by the people of Maharashtra. There are mor than 70 million of them. Since it's written in Devanagari script, an English-Marathi translator must also be biscriptal; for more on this, enter biscriptal in the Search box on the right. So how did she learn to translate successfully at such a high level? Her answer is, by reading.
"The 65-year old becomes one with what she reads. 'I took on translating renowned English books into Marathi because it kept me connected to my first love – readng… I grew up surrounded by books because my father was an editor… A home we can't sleep without reading.'"
So there we have her: a Native Translator of mature years, self-taught by reading and captivated by her affinity with women writers.

References
Renu Deshpande-Dhole. Small talk, an immersive experience. Pune Mirror, 16 July 2017.
Pune used to be known as Poona.

Deepti Naval. The Mad Tibetan: Stories from Then and Now. Bhopal: Amaryllis, 2011. Available from Amazon and other booksellers.

Image
Sunanda Amrapurkar

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Papers from NPIT 1



"Better late than never," as the saying goes. The First International Conference on Non-professional Interpreting and Translation (NPIT1) took place in Italy in 2002. It was the first major meeting to break out of the hallowed tradition in translatology that focuses on Expert and Professional Translators and their productions, and for that reason it qualifies as historic. But anybody who wasn't present at the meeting has had to wait five long years to read the papers. Now, however, they are out in the open, published in a handsome volume from the prolific house of Benjamins in their Translation Library collection (see References below).

As Marjory Bancroft, the Excutive Director of Cross-Cultural Communications, says eloquently in her Intersect newsletter, this
"is fast becoming an established field of intellectual enquiry… Some of those who are fighting the good fight to professionalize these fields may cringe. But the argument made by researchers is that this field of activity is real – it is here to stay – and it should be studied rigrously.The fact that we are in the midst of the greatest wave of mass imigration in the history of the planet certainly highlights the need for this research, which is both academic and pragmatic."

Chapter 2 is actually based on this blog. Thus it gives a useful bird's eye view of the extent of NPIT, passing quickly through the Natural Translation hypothesis for explaining how non-professionals can do translation; then language brokering, church interpreting, religious written translation, wartime interpreting, medical interpreting, court interpreting, sports interpreting and crowdsourcing. It groups posts thematically instead of in the inconvenient chronological order in which they're presented in the blog itself.

The sections of the volume are as follows:
Part 1. State of the art of research on NPIT and general issues (3 papers)
Part 2. NPIT in healthcare, community interpreting and public services
Part 3. NPIT performed by children

For the full list of titles and authors, click [here] or go to https://benjamins.com/#catalog/books/btl.129/toc

Of especial interest to followers of this blog is the section on NPIT performed by children, which has no fewer than seven papers. As the title of one of them says, it's "not just child's play."

Of course not everything could be covered in a first conference. Military interpreting, for instance, is represented only by a historical paper although the wars in the Middle East have produced many contemporary accounts. And church interpreting is represented, but not the equally active field of written religious translation. Hopefully the blanks will be filled in at future conferences.

Notwithstanding the time that has passed since the conference, this volume is definitely the place to start if you want an initiation into an important new field.


References
Rachele Antonini, Letizia Cirillo, Linda Rossato and Ira Torresi (Universities of Bologna at Forli and Siena) (eds.). Non-professional Interpreting and Translation: State of the art and future of an emerging field of research. (Benjamins Translation Library 129), Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2017. 415 p., index. Papers from the First International Conference on Non-professional Interpreting and Translation (NPIT1), ForlĂ­, Italy, 2012.

Marjory A. Bancroft in Intersect, A Newsletter about Interpretng, Language and Culture, 28 April, 2017.

Brian Harris. Unprofessional translation: A blog-based overview. In R. Antonini et al., Non-professional Interpreting and Translation, Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2017, Ch. 2, pp. 29-43.