Posts Tagged ‘sense’


Language and Reality

   Posted by: aman    in Translation

Oh! I wish you, my reader, knew Punjabi. I would have given you examples. But let me try to abstract:

When I started writing Sepia Leaves in English I realised that the dialogue did not come out anything like I could recognise as real. I worked on it and learnt from other writings that a conversation in a work of fiction does not have to be real. It should create reality. I try to do that in my writing. But now that I am translating Sepia Leaves into Punjabi I am surprised at how when I am writing a scene I can almost see it in my mind’s eye. Earlier too I could see it, but it was silent. I had to give it words. Now I see it in dolby sound.

At the same time, since the dialogue in Punjabi comes from the English version and is filtered through my  understanding of how it should create reality I am almost achieveing both: reality and creating reality. It is a sense, a sense that what I am doing works for the translation. But it is also a satisfaction that I am getting it accurately.

I learnt Punjabi very late in life. Almost when I was four or five years old. For some reason my parents wanted me to start with English and Hindi. Still, when I am doing the Punjabi I am feeling closest to the story. Closer than ever before. I now think that maybe in the English version the centuries of langauge and its politics came in between me and my writing.

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