Translation has become merchandised: K. Satchidanandan
Thiruvananthapuram: Eminent poet K. Satchidanandan said that translation of literary works, particularly novels, have become a commodity.
He was speaking at a session titled ‘Vivarthanam Oru Thozhilurappu Pani’ at Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2020 (MBIFL20) here on Thursday. The discussion was regarding how translating a book under a strict deadline defeats the purpose.
Popular poet K. Jayakumar and writer and translator Sunil Naliyath were also part of the discussion.
Satchidanandan opined that nowadays publishers are considering translating works that have received global awards as an easy way to make money. For that they need books to be translated into Malayalam, or any other language, as soon as the original work is published.
Most of the time they deploy English teachers to do such work and they end up as word-to-word translations, he said.
“Such translations do not convey the social or political value or beauty of the original work. The essence of the book is lost,” said the poet.
K. Jayakumar agreed on the shortcomings mentioned by Satchidanandan but pointed out that translations will help readers become accustomed to world renowned books.
He hoped that soon the situation will change, readers will understand the value of a good translation and demand the publishers to do away with shortcuts.
Sunil Naliyath said that translations completed in short time represents the use and throw mentality of the present society. Such efforts in translation should be rejected, he added.
The writers agreed on the point that a translation becomes meaningful when the translator is in love with the book.