Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kavya Bhashantar Sutras

Sri Sachin Ketkar virachitam
Kavya Bhashantar Sutras

Sutra 1: Poetry (and literature) is not one but many.

Karika 1.1 Definitions of the term ‘poetry’, are contested and multiple.

Hence the term ‘poetry’ does not refer to a single type of text but it refers to various types of texts.

Karika 1.2 The Sanskrit term like Kavya is a broader category than the English term ‘poetry’ as it includes prose narratives, verse narratives, lyrics, oral narratives, narratives in standard languages as well as dialects. (See Bhamaha: Kavya Alamkara 6th Century AD).



Karika 1.3     What is poetry for Tom might be religion for Jerry.

Sutra 2:  Translation is not one but many.

Karika 2.1 Definitions of the term ‘ translation’ are contested and multiple.

Karika 2.2 Hence, the term does not refer to a single type of activity but it refers to various types of activities of rewriting and transposing texts in other languages. 

Karika 2.3 Roman Jakobson talks about three types of translations: interlingual, intralingual and Intersemiotic

Karika 2.4 Bhashya, adaptations and dubbing is also forms of translation. Consider ‘ Bhavaarth Deepika’ as a native form of translation

Karika 2.5 Anuwaad literally means ‘speaking after’ the teacher, usually to memorise.
Bhashantar literally means changing language.
Bhashantar is a form of Anuwaad.

Karika 2.6   What we are doing is we are repeating the production of the text in a different language.


Sutra 3: A distinction between a ‘prescriptive’ approach and a ‘descriptive’ approach to translation has to be made in any discussion of literary translation.

Karika 3. Most of the discussion on ‘problems of translation’ are of normative or prescriptive type.
Prescriptive approaches have to account for relativism.

Sutra 4: What is translation for Tom is the original for Jerry.

Karika 4.1    The ideas of ‘ loss’ and ‘ gain’ in translation are always relative to the position of the observer.

The person who complains about ‘loss’ in translation is speaking from the perspective of the Source Language Bilingual  who notices that the Translated text is very different from the Source Language Text and hence does not like it.

The real audience of translation is the target language user who has no access to the source except through translation.

Karika 4.2: From the point of view of a such a target Language Reader any translation however bad is a gain.


Sutra 5: The Schleiermacher Sutra

Karika 5. 0 There are only two methods of translating: “Either the translator leaves the author in peace, as much as possible, and moves the reader towards him; or he leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible, and moves the author towards him.”

[‘On the Different Methods of Translating’, trans. Andre Lefevere, in Lefevere’s Translating Literature: The German Tradition from Luther to Rosenzweig (Assen and Amsterdam: Van Gorcum 1977), 67–89]



The first is nativizing the foreign text and the second one is foreignizing the native language. The first one is domesticating and the other is foreignizing.



Sutra 6: The Wittgenstein Sutra

Karika 6: There is no such a thing as a good or bad translation or the way of translation in the absolute sense of the terms.  

Wittgenstein in A Lecture on Ethics (1929) makes a distinction between what is ‘relative and trivial judgement of value’ and ‘absolute or ethical judgement of value’. The former is usually mere statement of facts while the later is usually nonsensical or consists of analogies, similes and allegories. Religion and Ethics usually end up using the second kind of language. Wittgenstein says that the second type hardly adds to our knowledge. 

Karika 6 :When we say a particular translation or a way of translating is good or bad we must ask good for what or to what purpose. A translator and translation critic should ask what is the purpose of the translation and what is its use.

Sutra 7: Strategies and Techniques

Karika 7:  The question ‘how to translate ?’ can be answered by asking ‘ Why to translate?’

 Read my blog on using Semiotics of Culture as a Theoretical Framework for studying Indian literatures and cultures.

1 comment:

aruna said...

hello
you are a prolific writer and i enjoy all of it.
i liked your detailed, albeit a bit tongue in cheek analysis of translation.