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Saturday, August 07, 2010

UGC Sponsored National Seminar on Linguistic and Literary Terrain of Translation Salesian College, Sonada - A Report

Seminar dates : 30-31 July 2010

The Seminar had scholars from different kinds of institutions and from different parts of the country. There were two scholars from Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi, a Philosopher from Assam University, from Bangalore, and many part of West Bengal.

Since the organisers had tried this diversity and had insisted on the full papers being sent before the seminar, the seminar proved to be a productive one with very serious discussion shaping up during the course of deliberations. The outcome of the deliberations made the seminar very special to me.

What I also liked was the careful scheduling of the papers. There were only six papers each for the day. That is, three in the forenoon session and three in the afternoon. This structure gave sufficient time for scholars to present their views and later engage in a serious discussion, something which is sacrificed in many seminars.

The seminar was clearly not held with the primary focus on building records for NAAC or other such purposes but for creating platform to build research and academics.

Were there new insights? May be. For me the only new insight from the deliberations was the role of typographies in determining the relationship between the translator and writer of the ‘source’ text, which emerged in a discussion I initiated after the presentation of Prof Dipankar Sen. I had not seriously considered this so far in the context of translation studies. Other ‘carry home’ from the seminar were, the distinction being made between Nepali literature in Nepal and Nepali literature in India, the canonical literature
in English vs theory divide as it came across from the interaction with Jamia scholars, introduction to a lot of new sources, new texts and newer kinds of engagement with translations.

I also presented a paper entitled “Reading More Intimately: An Interrogation of Translation Studies through Self-translation” You may find the abstract at the end or the report.

One other part I must appreciate of the seminar was the presence of Nepali writers and translators that was created in each session. After the deliberations of each session, established Nepali translators were asked to respond to the deliberation from Non-Nepali scholars. This was an important step in terms of creating a dialogue between scholarship in translation studies and practice of translation in Nepali. This gesture made the seminar locate itself clearly in the local milieu.

A journey to the place I visited confirmed that Darjeeling clearly remains a neglected territory by governments of West Bengal and India. Hardly any infrastructural needs have been attended to since the time of the British Raj.

Abstract of my Paper
While the poststructural turn has made the study of translation more self-reflexive, it has not made translation studies scholars rethink the fundamental assumptions of translation process, which poststructuralism should have. As a result, many practices in the nature of ‘translation’ have not only got marginalised but have got relegated to absence, within translation studies. One such practice is self-translation. This paper tries to read the process of self-translation closely and thereby raise critical questions on the fundamental assumptions about translation. The paper will conclude by positing self-translation as an important domain for scholarly engagement by drawing attention to its potential to make translation studies more nuanced.

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