Translating Standayini

Topics: Translation, Literal translation, Terminology Pages: 7 (2257 words) Published: April 21, 2015
 Translating Stanadayini: the Cultural Anxiety behind it When translation occupies a problematic space in the instance of translating from a colonized’s language to a colonizer’s, the debate over the representation of the colonized ‘other’ does not arise if the translator herself is rooted in the culture of the colonized. The Bengali story Stanadayini is composed by the well known writer Mahasweta Devi, and translated into English as Breast-Giver by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak who has had her roots of cultural upbringing in Bengal. Yet there are remarkable aspects where the ‘other’ of the original text loses her voice in the translated version. A translated text may be morally committed to the original text to some degree but not wholly. There is a holy paradox between craft and credulity that heightens the tension in a piece of translation. As in the following instance there is an unintentional slip made by Spivak while translating Stanadayini as she writes : ‘The apparent simplicity of Saratchandra’s and other similar writers’ writings is actually very complex and to be thought of in the evening, peacefully after a glass of wood-apple juice. There is too much influence of fun and games in the lives of the people who traffic in studies and intellectualism in West Bengal and therefore they should stress the wood-apple-type-herbal remedies correspondingly.’1 Now let us examine from the original text the same portion that is translated above : nlvQ­¾cÊl Hhw Ae¤l©f ­mML­cl ­mM¡l Bf¡a plma¡ Bp­m M¤h S¢Vm Hhw p­åÉ­hm¡ n¡¿¹ j­e ­h­ml f¡e¡ ­M­u ¢Q¿¹¡ Ll¡l Lb¡z f¢ÕQjh­‰ ky¡l¡C ­mM¡fs¡ J ¢Q¿¹¡n£ma¡l L¡lh¡l L­le, ay¡­cl S£h­e Bj¡n¡l fËi¡h AaÉ¿¹ ­h¢n Hhw ­p L¡l­Z ­hm gm¢V­a ay¡­cl pj¢dL …l¦aÆ ­cJu¡ E¢Qaz 2

It appears from this comparative reading that Spivak misread the word ‘Bj¡n¡’ as ‘a¡j¡n¡’ and translated it as ‘fun and games’ or otherwise she made a fun of ‘Bj¡n¡’. This passage quoted above reverberates with the criticism of writers of the stature of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay and the likes and the Bengali intelligentsia, but the sting is lost or badly pinched as there cannot be found a relation between the disease and the remedy i.e. ‘influence of fun and games’ and ‘wood-apple juice’. There is a similar instance in the story again. I quote from Stanadayini : ‘O­l ­N¡f¡m, ­ef¡m J l¡d¡l¡e£ M¡h¡l a­l BMM¤­V h¡ue¡ d­l J j¡­ul j¤M M¡uz’3

In Spivak’s translation it emerges:
‘At home Gopal, Nepal and Radharani whine interminably for food and abuse their mother.’4 This is not an issue central to the scheme of events at all but the reaction of the reader is directed in a manner that is not proper. The children are not abusing but are abused. The more critical stance of this paper is not such errors because such errors could have been avoided. Now I will address some issues which are not mistakenly done. The Bengali original story begins with this verse : ‘j¡¢p¢f¢p heNy¡-h¡p£ h­el j­dÉ Ol z

LM­e¡ j¡¢p hmm e¡ ­k , MC ­j¡u¡V¡ dl z’5 In Breast-Giver Spivak does a beautiful translation of this verse as : ‘My aunties they lived in the woods, in the forest their home they did make.

Never did Aunt say here’s a sweet dear, eat, sweetie, here’s a piece of cake.’6
Though the translation evokes the similar kind of sense it makes departure from the original in two marked ways as the place named ‘heNy¡’ (Bangaon) is a proper noun and the...

Cited: 2. jq¡­nÄa¡ ­ch£ : “Ù¹ec¡¢ue£” , A¿¹NÑa : Ù¹ec¡¢ue£ J AeÉ¡eÉ NÒf, fªz 195-220, LmL¡a¡ : e¡b f¡h¢m¢nw q¡Ep, 1979
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4. Devi, Mahasweta. “Breast-Giver”.Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.The Norton Anthology of World Literature:Shorter Second Edition. Ed. Peter Simon. New York: Norton, 2009. 1069-1088. Print.
5. jq¡­nÄa¡ ­ch£ : “Ù¹ec¡¢ue£” , A¿¹NÑa : Ù¹ec¡¢ue£ J AeÉ¡eÉ NÒf, fªz 195-220, LmL¡a¡ : e¡b f¡h¢m¢nw q¡Ep, 1979
6
7. jq¡­nÄa¡ ­ch£ : “Ù¹ec¡¢ue£” , A¿¹NÑa : Ù¹ec¡¢ue£ J AeÉ¡eÉ NÒf, fªz 195-220, LmL¡a¡ : e¡b f¡h¢m¢nw q¡Ep, 1979
8
9. jq¡­nÄa¡ ­ch£ : “Ù¹ec¡¢ue£” , A¿¹NÑa : Ù¹ec¡¢ue£ J AeÉ¡eÉ NÒf, fªz 195-220, LmL¡a¡ : e¡b f¡h¢m¢nw q¡Ep, 1979
10
12. jq¡­nÄa¡ ­ch£ : “Ù¹ec¡¢ue£” , A¿¹NÑa : Ù¹ec¡¢ue£ J AeÉ¡eÉ NÒf, fªz 195-220, LmL¡a¡ : e¡b f¡h¢m¢nw q¡Ep, 1979
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M.Phil. Scholar, University of Calcutta (2012- 2014)
deepaundeb@gmail.com
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