Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

Translation as Growth: Towards a Theory of Language Development

Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

Translation as Growth: Towards a Theory of Language Development

Article excerpt

Udaya Narayana Singh, Translation as Growth: Towards a Theory of Language Development. New Dehli: Pearson Education, 2010. Pp. ix + 231. ISBN 978 81 317 3086 7.

In his book Translation as Growth: Towards a Theory of Language Development, the well-known poet, linguist and translator Udaya Narayana Singh addresses the issue of translation from a developmental linguistic perspective. He posits that translation, like authoring, is a creative act that enriches both the original and translated language, as languages are interrelated, with translation being a major force behind 'linguistic convergence'.

The main tenet is that translativity is the solution for today's languages to develop. The two options to choose from would be either to re-implement policies that have been viable elsewhere, or to translate models if the elites that influence decisionmaking processes of the state choose so. The role of the translator is also emphasized, as he may be invested with the right to introduce 'foreign' terms, to coin new ones for the sake of language development. The sooner the translations are naturalized, the faster the language will grow. The present book will provide models of language growth through translation, thus contributing to translation theory and language planning and development.

The book is structured into 10 chapters: 1. Writing as Othering: Translation as Changing Personal Terminations; 2. Creativity and Translativity: A Case for Double Articulation?; 3. Thoughts on Theories of Texts and Translation; 4. Translation: 'Try Thy Metaphor'; 5. Translation, Transluscence and Transcendence; 6. Translating Uttar- Aadhunikataa: Debates from the Bhaasaa Literary Scene; 7. Some Thoughts on Transcreation of Texts; 8. Saying It Again: On Building Models of Literary Translation; 9. Translating Alien Cultures: Search for the Native; 10. Lamentations and Celebrations.

Chapter 1 challenges the common assumption that authors are solitary geniuses for whom social context carry little importance. At the other end lies the belief that authors are constrained by their language and society to act as social agent, and therefore their role is to write "social texts" that may either reproduce or reiterate the current social order or generate a chaos that underlies the world they are living in. In this case, the texts will only perform the deictic function of syntactical categories. In other words, all 'texts' are constrained both by language and social forces that together 'domesticate' writing. Going further, texts will author writers themselves, imposing constraints on authorial sensibility and subjectivity, especially social ones. The author states that as soon as 'texts assume and appropriate the authors' 'self', the authors are pushed into the background as the 'others'. When the translators' turn comes, they will make the text multi-dimensional, introducing a second degree social reading. Singh asserts that although 'reading writes', it will also destroy the text, since 'the responsibility of interpreting what is 'undecidable' rests on reading'. Moreover, he claims that apart from a few texts that are recycled to turn into metatexts of a given speech community, all the others seem to live for only a given period and have a fatalistic self-destructing tendency. According to the author, the solution is that of translation, which can save a text from destruction. The chapter starts with an outline of the author's position at the intersection of grammar/linguistics and translation, which would often evade grammatical categories, in order to bridge the cultural distance. Singh posits that all cultural spaces get hold of special locations and relate themselves to three types of 'others': 1. other cultures, or the cultural 'other', 2. the textual 'other', and 3. the analytical 'other'. Along this line of thought, a translator negotiates with the textual other while deciding on his or her illocutionary strategies.

The second chapter opens with the bold assertion that all original literary work is translation and all translation, original creation. …

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