World Translator’s Day Celebration by Kolkata Translator’s Forum
(Reading Time: 7 min Approx)
On 30th September, 2019 Kolkata Translators’ Forum observed World Translation Day at Sonar Tari office, Behala. Eminent linguist and academician Prof. Pabitra Sarkar was the keynote speaker while noted author Tapan Bandyopadhyay was the chief guest for the occasion. The program began with felicitation of the guests followed by a short introduction to Kolkata Translators’ Forum by Shyamal Bhattacharya, working president of the forum and also a well-known translator and creative writer. Shyamal Bhattacharya focused upon the need of the forum and its aspiration to bring the translators together as well as to help them achieve their due recognition. He talked about the dream of the forum to facilitate translations to and from various Indian and foreign languages and to make important contribution not only in literary translations but also in case of non-literary translations like advertisements, subtitles, scripts, etc.
The introduction was followed by a short speech by Tapan Bandopadhyay, once again highlighting the problems of translator’s visibility which is overshadowed by that of the original authors. He also spoke about the need for translation and publishers’ apathy towards it. An eminent translator of German language and a German language teacher at Maxmueller Bhavan, Subrata Saha spoke extensively on the contemporary translation scenario in India and abroad. He emphasized on the fact that there were many foreign translations of Indian authors available but there was a lack of awareness in our country regarding them. He warned the audience about the dire situation that most Indian languages were facing today because of linguistic hegemony and spoke about the need to consciously combat it. Various other translators and creative writers present also commented upon the need of translation in the contemporary situation.
The discussion was followed by the keynote speech delivered by Prof Pabitra Sarkar. Prof Sarkar took into account all the issues that were placed in the house and delivered a thought-provoking lecture on contemporary translation scenario. He congratulated the forum for its initiative and suggested various ways to make it a successful platform for translators. He lamented the lack of translations and people’s awareness regarding its importance. The lecture was followed by poetry reading session in which the KTF members and other translators present in the house read their translations of poems from various languages. Sudhangshu Ranjan Saha, Fatik Choudhury, Subroto Saha, Dr. Soumyajit Acharya, Dr. Nabanita Sengupta, Lipika Saha, Shyamal Bhattacharya and a few more poets read their poems.
Post poetry reading session the discussion continued with Trishna Basak, Secretary Kolkata Translators’ Forum and a prolific creative writer and translator, highlighting the need for translations between Indian languages. She spoke about the rich heritage of Maithili language and its close connections with Bangla. She lamented the fact that though there were many Maithili translations of Bengali works available; it was not the other way round. She stressed upon the need for such translations as the only way to combat linguistic colonization and to save the rich linguistic heritage of our country. She also mentioned how such lack of intercultural translations within Indian languages was depriving us from being aware of our own literary heritage.
The session was brought to a close by a concluding speech and vote of thanks by Dr. Tanmay Bir, Associate Professor of Bengali, Sarsuna College, a member of Kolkata Translators’ Forum and creative writer. He mentioned the little-known translators of various Indian languages who are rendering a quiet but immense service to these languages and focused on the need to bring them to the forefront, to give them their due recognition. He suggested that KTF can be that forum which can bring such people to limelight and thereby render a service to the craft of translation. He also made an appeal to Prof Pabitra Sarkar, who is also one of the advisory board members of the forum, to guide the forum and to be with them at all times. He thanked the distinguished guests, members of the audience and most importantly the editor of Sonar Tari, Biman Guha Thakurta who provided the space to organize the program.