Chapter published in:A World Atlas of Translation
Edited by Yves Gambier and Ubaldo Stecconi
[Benjamins Translation Library 145] 2019
► pp. 125–148
More or less “translation”
Landscapes of language and communication in India
This essay aims to theorise the present moment of translation in India without losing sight of its historical and contemporary understandings. It traces in the pre-modern moment, a range of linguistic negotiations to destabilise a theory of an absence of translation and dwells on perceptions of linguistic difference to show what ‘translation’ meant in pre-modern India. We demonstrate subsequently how colonial technologies produce the institution of language through translation, and also how translation rests upon the institutions of languages. We argue that ‘translation’ as a term and as a concept of text-to-text/written transference of meaning is a nineteenth century phenomenon dating back to the colonial period. Furthermore, in the postcolonial moment that saw the use of translation in the service of regional and national identities, we also examine the complex relationship between English and the ‘modern Indian languages’ that has given rise to new creolised idioms.
Keywords: translation, pre-modern, colonial, post-colonial, linguistic difference, English, Hinglish, multilingualism, regional language, national language
Published online: 05 February 2019
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