Transcription, Translation, Transcreation

Converting one language into another is a wonderful experience.  It is possible only when you are equally conversant with both the languages. Every language has its body and soul. One has to be faithful with these two determinants in both the languages. It is not an easy job. It doesn't come automatically. It involves a process.

It begins with transcription i.e. taking a dictation or copying a text without adding or subtracting anything. Remember, when we were in school we learnt calligraphy: we learnt how to write alphabets and words carefully and beautifully. Those of us who learnt these basics, later became good writers. Many of us write clearly and communicate well through our writings. On the other hand, there are quite a good number of people who don't bother about their writing skill, and their handwriting is almost unreadable. One may notice that many of the doctors write their prescription that way, i.e. their handwritings are deciphered only by the experienced chemists. Many students also answer the questions during the examination that way, and it makes it almost impossible to read their papers. Although these students know their subject well, but their written script end up reducing their overall grades as the examiner finds it difficult to check such papers, and ends up getting irritated.

The children are given a colorful four line notebook to make alphabets in a systematic order. Some learn it that way, and become neat writers. Those who take it as a burden end up becoming louse writers. There is a particular age when it can be learnt how to write.  Those who miss the bus, suffer for the rest of their life. One should always keep in mind that learning a letter is the first step of communication. An alphabet is a symbol. It represents the sound it produces when pronounced. Therefore, learning how to write correctly is one of the most fundamental aspects of our education, especially when one wants to be a Hindi writer or a English writer or a writer of any Indian or foreign language. 

The second stage is translation. This involves conversion of a message from one language into other. It involves the process of re-writing of a text from one language to another. This re-writing is not that easy as it appears. Therefore, translation not only involves equivalence of meaning and syntax, it also involves transfer of culture, social values and many other connotations and figurative meaning attached in a source text. The task of the translator becomes more difficult when he/she has to translate a text from a source language and culture to a totally different language and culture. For example, translation from English or any other European language to Chinese or Japanese is yet another example that involves huge challenges for translators. These two language not only differ in syntax but also in their form and culture. Both are pictographic languages and give tough task to machine translators as well. Similarly translation from Hindi into English becomes a difficult task because of difference in script. English has 26 alphabets and it has roman script, whereas Hindi has 44 alphabets and it has devnagri script (देवनागरी). 

Because of our training and education, some of us are lucky to have bilingual skill. A formal training in these languages help us in developing a considerable degree of command in both the languages or at times in many other languages. Also, it should be noted that unconsciously we think in our mother tongue and then translate the text into another language. However, a translator must develop his / her skill in such a way that he/ she has equal command over second language as well. Without having developed such skill it is almost impossible to become a good translator. Because of this special requirement, translation as a career is very demanding career: for many of us it a passion, a hobby and a profession. 

Unlike translation, transreation does not focus much on equivalence of meaning. Similarly, it neither focus on word to word, nor on sense for sense meaning, rather it involves creative dimensions. Creative translation is also called transcreation. It may not be completely faithful to the original language but can heighten the spirit of the original writer by highlighting what he had intended. Translation also leads to Adaption into another art form. Like Satyajit Roy adapted Premchand's Shatranj Ke Khiladi into a great film. Hindi translators have been very active in Hindi translation of Indian film through transcreation. 


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