Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 2 February 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Faithfulness and Adequacy in Translation
A Case Study of the Translation of a Poem Written by Bharathiar

M. D. V. Kalyani Annie, Ph.D.
Mangaiarkarasi Sukumar, Ph.D.

The Question of Adequacy and Faithfulness

The minds of great people of a particular language, minds of great people that shape human life, have been made available to all, who can read and hear in all parts of the world, because of the art of translation. Translation is an art of approximation. Fine translations aim at conveying faithfully the heart and mind of the author without changing the original author's meaning, intention, idea and purpose. As Thirumalai points out in Language in Science, Chapter 7,

Since the user is not generally aware of all the details of the original information (if he was aware, he might not bother to seek the information in the translated version except for urgent and special reasons such as in the case of giving references to his readers to indicate the accessibility of the materials referred to in their language), he is generally unable to judge, in full, the adequacy of the translated version as opposed to its original. Assessment of adequacy is generally made better by a team of persons who have, severally or collectively, competence in the subject, and the source and the target languages.

Translators' Preparation

Since adequacy and faithfulness are essential features of a good translation, it becomes necessary that translators prepare themselves with knowledge and understanding that would unravel the original author's meaning, intention, idea and purpose. This demand is all the more stringent when it comes to translating poetry with potent intercultural and cross-religious references, etc. If this is not done, then, the translator would only misrepresent the poem and the poet in their translation.

Fairness in Translation

According to Webster, the term "translate" means "to express in another language, while systematically retaining the original sense." Here, one must note that translations that do not retain "the original sense" of the author do more damage than good because, apart from being unfair to the authors who are misrepresented, wrong translations are also unfair to people who trust the translators and read these translations.

Good translations are truthful vehicles of the thoughts of original writers, whereas false translations corrupt the works of the original writers making the original authors subservient to the translator's intent and/or inadequate preparation.

Translations from Indian Languages

Most of the translations of the works of poets in Indian languages is done not by the authors themselves but by other interested and often well-meaning translators. Most of the translations of the poets of eminence in various Indian languages have been undertaken in the past only after the death of these poets. As such, original authors' views on the translations of their works are not readily available. If they were alive, and if they were given a chance to review the translations before these were published, they would have made corrections appropriate to their original intent.

This condition makes it all the more imperative that translators take abundant care to identify the meaning and sense of the poems they translate, doing their best to bring out the original intent and meaning, etc.

Our Focus - Translation of a Poem Written by Bharathiar

In this paper, we analyze the translation of a poem by Bharathiar by a well-known translator, Prema Nandakumar, to illustrate the requirements that we consider as important while translating a poem into English from Indian languages.

We must emphasize that translation is a great art and the translated piece is often an approximation of the original. And so, no single translation of a piece of poetry may be considered perfect in all aspects comparing it to the original. Errors are common, but we all need to strive to avoid manifest errors of interpretation.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Development of Stroop Effect in Bilinguals | Subtlety, Mockery and Dharma in Shashi Tharoor's The Great Indian Novel | Language Alternation Strategies in Nigerian Hip Hop and Rap Texts | Faithfulness and Adequacy in Translation - A Case Study of the Translation of a Poem Written by Bharathiar | Indianized English in Shashi Deshpande's That Long Silence | Naipaul's Perception of India | Teaching English Word Formation in Academic Writing - Analysis and Remedy | Sabotaged Submission - Interpreting the Role of Women in Scriptures | Socio-economic Profile of Women Prisoners | Study on the Levels of Living of Self-help Groups in Coimbatore District, with Particular Reference to Thondamuthur and Perianaicken Palayam Blocks | Agreement in Tamil and Telugu | Etymological Analysis for Some Words of Body Parts in Semitic Languages (Especially in Arabic & Hebrew) | HOME PAGE of February 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

M. D. V. Kalyani Annie, Ph.D.
Sri Bhakthavatchalam Memorial College for Women
Tamilnadu, India

Mangaiarkarasi Sukumar, Ph.D.
Department of English
PSGR Krishnammal College for Women
Coimbatore 641 004
Tamilnadu, India

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