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Article   | Translation : A Tightrope Walk

Every profession has its own peculiarities, so does translation. It may seem like a simple job:

Source word -> Target word = Translation

However, the process involving these three steps is unfathomable. Translation without omissions, additions and with no loss of the content is the concept of an ideal translation. But to achieve this standard, a translator has to go through a very strenuous process.

When a person chooses to be a translator he chooses certain areas or domains for himself. However, he may have deal with content from any field, with which he may not be familiar with or acquainted. The matter to be translated may contain slang or abusive language. A translator may have to cross the boundary of his own personality to depict image of that certain character. He has to cross the barriers of his own language, gender, culture, society, his own personality and beliefs. In such a condition, it is possible that a translator may hesitate to create the mirror image of the content through translation because of his own cultural, social background.

But, a good translator stabilizes himself. He should internalize the thought that the literary work is not his but the author’s. He has to cross the barriers of his own personality and should enter into the book’s /character’s soul. In this process, he has to alienate himself as he cannot mix his own emotions and thoughts with those of the author. It is a very difficult task as the process of alienation is very crucial. It will help the translator to develop his skill but if he fails to do so, it may lead to the drawbacks in the translation and adversely affect its quality.

From this perspective, translation and acting are almost equivalent. You have to transform yourself into that character, whether you approve of it or not. You have to state some theory or statement correctly, aptly even though you do not approve of it.

The balance between the translator’s own thoughts and opinions and those that he has to state, is very important. When a translator strikes this balance he can efficiently complete this Tightrope Walk.

- Trupti Kulkarni

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