'Translating poetry is a lonely affair'
The session titled 'Translation or Transcreation' was attended by Malayalam historian, social activist J Devika, poet and editor A J Thomas and poet, literary journalist and writer Anupama Raju. Beginning the session, moderator Johny ML highlighted how location plays a major role while translating and the person who does it needs to be faithful to the author.
Speaker Devika opened up to the good audience saying how translation have to be more creative and palatable. Without raiding the meaning, Devika says the work must convey more meaning and should work very closely with the author. She stresses the point that it must be a collaborative exercise between the author, editor and the translator. Sound, metaphor and history is very important in translating poetry which is very difficult. Also a translator must be a careful reader and while translating any work, each and every layer must be brought out.
Anupama Raju, who had translated Paul Zacharia's works from Malayalam to English, feels it is a lovely affair and when translating poems, the translator must form a link between the poem and translator. She says while translating poems from French, the author did not exist and it was something between the translator and the poem. She also adds that both the old and the new translations of Randamoozham had come out very very differently.
Elaborating on how challenging are the cultural and linguistic barriers, poet A J Thomas said translators while doing the work must sit together with the poet and should create a poem that stands as a poem in the language translated. Translating poetry is a lonely affair, he says. He says a poet must be the translator of the poem in the true sense.
Devika feels that creating new words and using metaphors gives a kind of effect that communicates in other languages. The session ended with a few interesting questions from the audience.