Off topic: Let’s encourage social change (using our translating skills)
Thread poster: Sumit Sarkar

Sumit Sarkar  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:05
Member (2009)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Sep 6, 2010

Sometimes I wonder if we are doing justice to our translating skills by simply devoting our time and energy only in the matters that have purely business purposes. If we analyze all the translation proposals that come before us within a year, only in very rare occasions we get any proposals that have any ethical, social, or people oriented non-economical/non-business approach.

For my case, I received only one proposal by a research scholar who was analyzing the impact of globalization on the poor working women of northern India. It was a great joy working for something that is not purely business oriented. Here I must point out that the rate offered for the job was not a standard one, rather it was low; still it was an experience that I remember it even now. I have translated hundreds of articles such as manuals of automobile companies, medical transcriptions, religious articles, certificate transcriptions, migration related govern notices etc. in a year and so do all of us. But hardly do we bother about anything more serious than that.

Hats off to Martin Luther who could even imagine transcription of the Bible as a weapon of accelerating social reform. The impact that the translation had on the whole society of Europe is still illuminating the pages of history.

In fact, even now, there are so many schools of thought all over the world spreading their ideas about the need of various possible social changes, social reforms and all that. Should we the translators community not help this ideas spread by translating them to various other languages, even if they pay us comparatively less than the standard rate? What if they be economically not so sound enough to pay us at all? Shall we not following the tradition of Martin Luther, encourage various social debates that are ringing in any other poor part of this world? Apart from sustaining our livelihood, can we not volunteer to translate any such new and innovative ideas at least once or twice in a year?

Specially in a country like India, where there are more that 200 languages existing, this is such a stressing necessity that we can hardly avoid. No it is not any economical question—rather a social, ethical, and political question.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-09-06 17:55 GMT]


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Let’s encourage social change (using our translating skills)

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