Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022
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Translation In World Literature: Will International Booker Prize Open A Global Window To Hindi Books?

‘The translator is the traitor’, they say in Italian. Such was the distrust and paranoia in Europe for translations that scholars were executed for translating the holy word. Five centuries later, an Indian author won a major literary award in the UK and shared it with her American translator, making it an apt occasion to discuss the status of translation in world literature.

Translation In World Literature: Will International Booker Prize Open A Global Window To Hindi Books?
Jugalbandi: Geetanjali Shree (right) with Daisy Rockwell who translated Ret Samadhi in English as Tomb of Sand.

Traduttore, traditore. ‘The translator is the traitor’, they say in Italian. Such was the distrust and paranoia in Europe for translations that the scholar-linguist William Tyndale was executed in 1536 for “heresy” he had committed by translating the New Testament into English. The sacred couldn’t be converted into a lesser language. A decade later, legendary French translator Etienne Dolet was executed for what they believed was a wrong translation of Plato and all his works were burnt along with him. Five centuries later, an Indian author has won a major literary award and shared it with her American translator, making it an apt occasion to discuss the status of translation in world literature and the role translations play in canonising a text, as well as becoming a cultural mediator between the two languages.

ALSO READ: World Of Translations | Beyond Booker: Our World In Their Words

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