Translation in India: An attempt to retrieve history

In the second and final part of his article, K. Satchidanandan analyses the challenges faced by inter-language translation in India: The Hindu

Translation came to be institutionalised in independent India as a consequence of the State’s perception that emotional integration of India is possible only through the arts. Literature had a major role to play here. The idea of translation thus got linked to the idea of the nation. If nation, as Benedict Anderson says, is an ‘imagined community’, literature plays a role in creating and sustaining that community. India’s linguistic economy underwent a change after 1947 and mother tongues were perceived to be the chief markers of identity and carriers of tradition. Inter-language translation continues to be one of the chief activities of the Sahitya Akademi and National Book Trust, two public institutions created in the times of Jawaharlal Nehru’s liberal and forward-looking regime. Now we also have other national projects like the National Translation Mission, meant to translate knowledge-texts from English into Indian languages (and hopefully vice-versa), and Indian Literature Abroad meant to make significant Indian literary texts available in foreign languages.

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