Translators build bridges

Dr S K Raina

With the growing need for good translators all over the world, the art of translation is becoming more popular day by day. It is the translator who serves as a bridge between the two languages, literature and their cultures. His activity is both significant and valuable and, therefore, deserves proper attention and patronage. In the present day circumstances when things are fast moving ahead globally, not only countries and societies need to interact with each other closely but individuals too need to have contact with members of other communities/societies that are spread over different parts of the country/world. In order to cater to these needs translation has become an important activity that satisfies individual, societal and national needs. The concept of globalization has opened window to the urge for exchange of knowledge in the fields of science, technology, history, culture, literature and other allied fields and it is through the art of translation that entire wisdom and knowledge across the world is now available to us. Like any other subject included in University prospectus, Translation Studies has, over the years, emerged as an important subject for study both at graduate and postgraduate levels in most of the universities all over the globe.
As already mentioned, it is through translation we know about all the developments in communication and technology and keep abreast of the latest discoveries in the various fields of knowledge, and also have access through translation to the literature of several languages and to the different events happening around the world.
Today with the growing zest for knowledge in human minds there is a great need of translation in the fields of education, science and technology, mass communication, trade and business, literature, religion, tourism, etc.
To translate from one language into another has never been so easy. A good translator should be a well-versed and proficient bilingual, familiar with the subject and area of the SL (source language) ie text chosen for translation.
He should never try to insert his own ideas or personal impressions in the target language; the language in which he is translating. His objective should be to convey the content and the intent of the SL text as exactly as possible into the TL text. A good translator ought to be a good writer, too. That would make his translation both explicit, expressive and readable. One thing more. In difficult situations, a good translator should adjust and accommodate but never compromise with the original text. Translation tools like bilingual dictionaries, dictionaries of idioms, specialized dictionaries like dictionaries of common errors, dictionaries of idiomatic usage, slang dictionaries, technical dictionaries, encyclopedic dictionaries, thesaurus etc. can fruitfully help a good translator to improve upon his work and thus make his translations look like the original ones.
Good translators in every major language of the world need to be patronized since they are the real cultural ambassadors of their respective countries representing the best of their countries.
In short, art of translation and for that matter translating is like building bridges, and good translators represent these bridges.
Building such bridges is not easy though, because not all languages have words or their equivalent that exist in other languages and cultures, and not all words and ideas can be easily translated into or explained in another language. But good translators don’t give up and build such wonderful bridges.