#TFOT (The Fantasy Of Translation, November 25, 2017):

Do you trust your translator? How can ‘worlds’ be translated? Where is Tamil when a novelist writes in English about Tamil speaking characters? Are all translations interpretations (judgment?)? Can one ‘read’ Nature? Can mathematics be translated into (natural language) prose? Is translation prior to language, & (therefore) is it in the nature of languages to be translatable? How then are languages different from one another? Can the forces of translation be located within one language itself? How are scientific texts different? Is symbolization a form of translation? Is science a form of storytelling? Are both equations and poetry  essential & point-like? Do you read poetry with footnotes? Must the translated text do all the work on its own? Could a 20-page commentary on a 2-line sutra be considered a faithful translation? Does the specific history of interpretative communities always matter? Can Quran be translated and read as Ovi Marathi poetry? Did colonization happen via translation? But, is all translation violent? Will the ideas of interpretation, translation, & language always exist in the future? Will language die (?), but translation live? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from poetry (Prof. Mustansir Dalvi, Sir JJ School of Architecture, Mumbai), philosophy (Prof. Sundar Sarukkai, NIAS, Bangalore), translation studies (Prof. S. Shankar, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TFOT show.

Prof. Mustansir Dalvi (poetry, architecture) teaches architecture, and is a poet & translator. He is currently a Professor at Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai. His research interests are architecture, architectural semiotics, visual communications, philosophy of art, architectural history, urban transformation, & institutional architecture. Prof. Dalvi completed his B. Arch (Hons.) & M. Arch from JJ College of Architecture, where he was also awarded the Sir Jairazbhoy Peerbhoy Scholarship for Post-Graduate Studies in Maharashtra (University of Bombay, 1986). He also acquired a postgraduate diploma in Indian Aesthetics from Department of Philosophy (University of Mumbai, 2000). He completed his Ph.D. from Industrial Design Center (IDC, IIT Bombay) in August 2017. His thesis was titled ‘Buildings as Text: Developing a Semiotic of Bombay’s Art Deco Architecture (1930-1949)’. He is a former member of the Academic Council and was the Chair of the Board of Studies in Architectural Education of the University of Mumbai from 2015 to 2017. He is on the Board of Governors of the MMRDA Heritage Conservation Society. His first book of poems, ‘Brouhahas of Cocks’ was published by Poetrywala in 2013. Prof. Dalvi’s poems have been translated into French, Croatian and Marathi. His published work, ‘Taking Issue and Allah’s Answer’ (translation of Muhammad Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawaab-e-Shikwa, Penguin Classics, 2012), was awarded the runner-up prize for best translation at the Muse India National Literary Awards. His translations of the Sufi mystic poet Rahim are included in ‘Eating God: an anthology of Bhakti Poetry’, edited by Arundhati Subramanium, (Penguin, 2014). In ‘Struggles With Imagined Gods’ (Poetrywala, 2014), he has translated poems of the noted Marathi poet Hemant Divate. He is currently editing (with Sampurna Chattarji) a book of the collected translations (Dilip Chitre, Sarabjeet Garcha and Mustansir Dalvi) of Hemant Divate’s Marathi poetry.

Prof. Sundar Sarukkai (philosophy) is currently a Professor of philosophy at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. He was the Founding Director of the Manipal Centre for Philosophy & Humanities, Manipal University, Manipal from 2010-2015. His research interests are philosophy of science and mathematics, phenomenology and philosophy of language and art, drawing on both Indian & Western philosophical traditions. He completed his B.Sc. in Physics from St. Joseph’s College (Bangalore, 1983), M.Sc. in Physics from IIT Madras (Chennai, 1985), and a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from Purdue University, Indiana, USA (1992). After his post doctoral stint at Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc, Chennai, 1992-1994), he joined NIAS as an Associate Fellow in 1994, where he stayed till 2009. He has published five books, titled, ‘Translating the World: Science and Language’ (University Press of America, 2002), ‘Philosophy of Symmetry’ (IIAS, 2004), ‘Indian Philosophy and Philosophy of Science’ (PHISPC/ Motilal Banarasidass, 2005), ‘What is Science?’ (National Book Trust, 2012), and ‘The Cracked Mirror: An Indian Debate on Experience and Theory’ (co-authored with Gopal Guru, OUP, 2012). He is an Editorial Advisory Board member of the Leonardo Book Series on science and art, published by MIT Press, the Series Editor for Science and Technology Studies, Routledge and the Chief Editor of the Springer Handbook of Logical Thought in India. He actively conducts outreach programs in philosophy for non-specialist audiences as well propagate philosophy to the public through his newspaper columns. He has been awarded the David Ross Fellowship (Purdue University, 1988), Homi Bhabha Fellowship (1997-1999), Fellowship of Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla (1999-2001) & the PHIPSC Fellowship by ICPR (Project of History of Indian Science Philosophy and Culture, 2003-2004).

Prof. S. Shankar (translation studies, literature) is a novelist, literary & cultural critic, and a translator from Tamil. He is currently a Professor at the Department of English, & former Director of Creative Writing, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawai`i, USA. His research interests are postcolonial theory & literature (especially of Africa and South Asia), literature of immigration, film, creative writing, literary theory & cultural studies, translation studies, and cultural journalism. He completed his B.A. (English) from Loyola College & M.A. (English) from Madras Christian College, Chennai. He then went to University of Texas, Austin, USA, where he completed his Ph.D. with specialization in ‘Ethnic and Third World Literatures’, under Prof. Barbara Harlow. He has also held positions at Purdue University, Rutgers University & University of Texas, USA. Prof. Shankar has published or edited eight books, including, the scholarly volume ‘Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation and the Vernacular’ (Orient BlackSwan, 2012), the novel ‘No End to the Journey’ (Steerforth, 2005), a special issue of Project MUSE journal titled ‘Caste and Life Narratives’ (2017) and an anthology titled ‘Crossing into America: The New Literature of Immigration’ (2003). His third novel ‘Ghost in the Tamarind’ (University of Hawaii Press, 2017) is set against the background of the anti-caste movement in South India during the 20th century. He has been awarded the Senior Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship (2017-2018) & the University of Hawai`i’s College of Languages, Linguistics and Literatures Excellence in Teaching Award (2008). He has been honored with Scholar-in-Residence appointments at SOAS University (London, UK) and the University of Houston (Downtown, Texas, USA). Prof. Shankar’s essays have appeared in publications such as The Nation, Village Voice, The Hindu, World Literature Today and Words without Borders & in journals such as Comparative Literature, Cultural Critique, & Journal of Contemporary Thought.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TFOT mentionsAryabhata, Galileo Galilei, Issac Newton, Arthur Eddington, Paul Dirac, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Allama Iqbal, Raja Rao, Chinua Achebe, Gregory Rabassa, & Eric Cheyfitz, among others.