Sunday, June 10, 2007

Translation: As an Art and a `Service'

For a change from the boring routine,I attended a seminar on Translation, Quality and Technology yesterday.It was largely meant for translators of non-literary texts. It was chiefly out of curiosity and interest in translation as an activity.It provided a refreshing change from academic seminars and literary translation. Sandhya Murthy gave a good talk on how to become a professional translator in an international and national context. She expressed her astonishment at how amatuers can barge into the area of literary translation where the angels of professional translations fear to tread. A Dutch professional translator and IT expert and an open source activist Patrick someone gave a very interesting, albeit technical lecture on open source software and translation. He also talked about his own experiences as a professional translator. Mrugesh Shah talked about unicode and multilingual softwares and Manish Soni talked about multilingual softwares and translation. He also gave a short demonstration of his own software Sulekh. Jagruti Trivedi talked about her experiences of translating Harry Potter into Gujarati. I liked the seminar and found the information about professional translation and information technology very interesting. I think literary translators, especially in India, should be more professional and serious about their craft and passion. Literary translation can only be a passion, because it is an art, and like all arts, it is also a service, and hence should be done in more professional manner. Translators should also be open to the advances in information technology, multilingual softwares, online glossaries, and TMs ( translation memories, the memories of earlier translation of lexicons, stored in translation software like Trados, Wordfast and OmegaT) and so on.
Jagruti Trivedi did a good job of organizing a seminar on such an area. There were more participants than I expected, which goes to show that in the age of globalization, the need for translation ( which implies knowledge of languages, and the knowledge of interpretation as well as the knowledge of writing well) combined with the knowledge of information technology and commerce is going to increase exponentially.

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