Writers’ Chain: Found in Translations (14th – 20th January, 2009)

Translations hold a very important place in expanding the scope of literature especially in a multi-lingual country like India. To understand its various aspects and relevance in the present literary scenario a weeklong translating workshop called Writers’ Chain: Found in Translations was organized at the Neemrana Fort-Palace, located in the Aravali Hills.

“It is often complained that the essence of a language gets lost in the process of translation. Keeping this point in mind, we designed this workshop in such a way that various aspects of translations could be discovered by the poets and translator. We want to find ways of preserving the soul of the original language and improving the translations. That was the reason, we called it Found in Translations.” Says, Alexandra Buchler, Director, Literature Across Frontiers.

Four poets from the United Kingdom spent a week with four Indian authors exploring each other’s work through translation. Poets, authors and translators in different languages including Meg Bateman (Scottish), Sampurna Chattarji (Bengali), Matthew Hollis (English), Mererid Hopwood (Wales), Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih (Khasi), Gear�id Mac Lochlainn (Irish), Sivasankari (Tamil) and Udaya Narayana Singh (Maithali) participated in this unique literary exchange.

Sampurna Chattargi, an award winning poet, writer and translator said, “I became a translator because I wanted to communicate with the people who could not read Bengali. I felt that they were missing out on the sheer joy of Sukumar Ray’s work. I translate Bengali into English but for the first time I did a reverse journey while translating a poem from English into Bengali.”

Translation is literature in action. It is the medium through which literature in one language travels to the other. I feel if we want to resolve conflicts between people let them meet and interact.” said Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih who writes in Khasi.

Matthew Hollis said, “Interlingua translation helps the writer to approach more readers and for this English acts as a doorway to enter international literature.”

Vikram Seth, who also happened to be at Neemrana, talked about the process of translation in context to his latest book, Two Lives which was about his uncle and German-Jewish Aunt. Vikram who knows several languages says, “Once I read a poem by a Chinese poet translated into English which inspired me to learn Chinese. Translations open new avenues to understand the cultural context in any literary work.”

“The Writers’ Chain project includes translations, discussions around the original and the translations in progress providing an introduction to lesser known literature, their linguistics and cultural contexts, as well as an opportunity to explore wider issues of translation practice.” explained Dr Francesca Rhydderch from Wales Arts International.

A session based on the workshop was showcased at the Jaipur Literature Festival. This project is run by the British Council and Wales Arts International, with support in India from Siyahi, Literature Across Frontiers, the Neemrana Fort-Palace Hotel. As a literary consultancy specializing in Indian literature, Siyahi continues with its efforts to present the rich, vast, unending reservoir of India’s art, culture and literature.

To watch the video please click – http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=IN&hl=en-GB&v=w4zcv2z2mVA