A work of translation is a world recreated in another tongue. Translators who transcreate a literary text invariably slip into the style and cultural consciousness of another writer. While working with elements of sound and rhythm, image and rhetoric, tone and voice, a translator is a ventriloquist and a chameleon in his/her manipulation of language within the island of the given text and its distinct perimeter, Lydia Davis writes in Essays Two: On Proust, Translation, Foreign Languages, and the City of Arles (2021).
A translator’s identity extends well beyond a language expert. Translators are also cultural connoisseurs since they have figured out the manifold dynamics of the target literary system, remarks Hemang Ashwinkumar, a bilingual poet, translator, editor and critic, who has been working in Gujarati and English. His translation of Dalpat Chauhan’s novel, Vultures (Penguin Random House), has just been published. Centred on the violent tipping point of caste hierarchy in a Gujarat village in 1964, the novel is set to introduce English readers to one of the architects of Dalit literature in Gujarat.