Citizens' Issues
Translations help regional Indian literature reach wider audience
English, being adopted as primary language, has opened up the doors for translators to escalate the works of vernacular writers
 
Shankar's "Chowringhee" would have remained restricted to Bengalis and Manto's work would have been imbibed only by Urdu readers if these works were not translated. In the past few years, translations in Indian literature have evolved with their own identity - reaching out to a wider audience.
 
English, being adopted as primary language, has opened up the doors for translators to escalate the works of vernacular writers.
 
Yet, there persists a void, which the translators at times fail to fill.
 
"Translations do fail to carry the same emotions at times. Sometimes, it is quite difficult to actually understand and communicate the same emotion effectively in another language," said Prashant Pethe, 38, who translated into English the popular Marathi book "Aiwa Maru", originally written by Anant Samant, told IANS.
 
A similar thought was echoed by Snehal Shingavi, who translated into English "Angaaray", a collection of short stories in Urdu by Sajjad Zaheer, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan and Mahmud-uz-Zafar.
 
"One almost always fails but must try. Otherwise it means giving in to parochialism and particularism in a world that is in desperate need of more understanding," Shingavi, 39, told IANS.
 
Talking about the difficulties and complexities faced while translating their works, the authors emphasised on how crucial it becomes to play with words to avoid repetition.
 
"Word play is a challenge, but it is something that all translators have to do. Certain concepts can be very flexible in one language and rigid in another, but one tries to make sure that the sense of the original is retained. Sometimes you have to be creative in making that work," said Shingavi, an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin.
 
Pethe, being a seaman (he has worked on offshore oil and gas rigs), could relate to the story of "Aiwa Maru", which is a story based on life at sea and put himself in the narrator's shoes. But this didn't reduce his troubles while translating.
 
"The focus was always to understand what the writer wants to say and express it in English. I just tried to follow my instincts and it has worked in whatever little work I have done," adds Pethe, who is settled in Pune.
 
Adding to the complexities, the translators also spoke about doing justice to the characters and bringing in changes without hampering the essence of the original.
 
"I did make changes. Sometimes the Urdu would sound strange when it was rendered in English. Sometimes I had to move words around. I think this is a necessary part of translation," said Snehal when asked about changes made in his translated work.
 
Unlike Snehal, Pethe didn't make many changes in his book as there was less scope to introduce new emotions, apart from changing a few technical terms.
 
The translators also spoke about the English versus vernacular languages debate.
 
"My intention was for the novel to reach more people and English was the natural option for that. 'Aiwa Maru' has remained popular in Marathi for 25 years, proving that if something is worth a read, it will work and the language doesn't matter," said Pethe, adding that he translated the work because he could relate to many things that he came across in the novel.
 
Shingavi said: "The entire ethic of translation is to argue that there are interesting things happening in languages other than English. The translation should be to enrich English, not to prove its supremacy."
 
The translators, however, lamented at their works not being recognised on a larger scale in the Indian book scene.
 
"There are plenty of hidden gems in various Indian languages. It is only recently that they have been re- discovered and it will only enrich the Indian literature in English and ensure that these stories reach a lot more people than the ones in a particular language," Pethe said.
 
The translators were also upset with their efforts not being adequately marketed.
 
Pethe felt that the commercial departments of publishing houses do not contribute wholeheartedly to make the translations reach wider audiences.
 
"Translations fill a much smaller niche market and, therefore, don't always get noticed for the contributions they are making," added Shingavi.
 
However, despite the difficulties in conveying the original emotions, it is clear that translators will soldier on with their works. Three cheers for that!

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Elite Runner Had Qualms When Alberto Salazar Told Her to Use Asthma Drug for Performance
Elite distance runner Lauren Fleshman says that Salazar helped her get treatment for asthma, but she became squeamish when he suggested that she use medication in a different manner than the doctor instructed
 
Over the past two weeks, ProPublica and the BBC have reported allegations from professional runners and their support staff that iconic coach Alberto Salazar — head of the Nike Oregon Project and coach of the 10K gold and silver medalists in the last Olympics — violated anti-doping and prescription drug regulations. Salazar has denied the allegations. 
 
Elite distance runner Lauren Fleshman says that Salazar helped her get treatment for asthma, but she became squeamish when he suggested that she use medication in a different manner than the doctor instructed. Fleshman, 33, won five NCAA titles while at Stanford University, and won U.S. titles in the 5K in 2006 and 2010. She is a prominent figure in American running, not only by virtue of her on-track accomplishments, but also because she coaches, writes "The Fast Life" column for Runner's World, is active on social media, and co-founded two businesses related to training and health. 
 
Fleshman was previously part of a Nike-sponsored team, but was never coached by Salazar. She spoke with ProPublica reporter David Epstein about her experience seeking medical help from Salazar.This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. (Listen to the full interview below or on Soundcloud.)
 
Alberto Salazar has never coached you, but you did go to him for some medical help. Can you tell us what it was?
 
In 2005, I started having worse symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. I had gone to an allergy and asthma doctor on my own, and I got tested after the season was over in 2004 and didn't fail the asthma test. The environmental triggers [like pollen] weren't there. [The doctor] was like, sorry, you don't have asthma, you can't get a prescription.
 
Alberto set up an appointment in Portland, during allergy season, with a doctor who had seen many other runners. He had a specific protocol ... you would go to the local track and run around the track, work yourself up to having an asthma attack and then run down the street, up 12 flights of stairs to the office and they would be waiting to test you. So that's what I did and I failed the test, and the doctor prescribed Advair for during the racing season when pollen counts were the highest, and albuterol, which is a rescue inhaler.
 
Alberto was actually really great; he was instrumental in helping me get the appointment, taking me to the appointment ... I was a Nike athlete; I wasn't his athlete, but I was a Nike athlete, and to him that was enough Continue Reading…
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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Is Fixing Blame, A Game?
If there is a malady, there must be a remedy. So who pays?
 
The European nations have a rich history of ships and sea-faring. The Vikings, the Norsemen, the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Columbus and the English; boats are an integral part of life. So when one ship rams another, it’s like an Ambassador crossing swords with a BMW. Of course, two Altos can also start a war. But ships are more sacrosanct. This time, we go to Denmark and talk of boats, gearboxes, hosepipes, coupling rings and maintenance, all dovetailing into consumer protection.
 
A bit of tech-info first. Boats are steered by rudders that flap at the rear. In large ships, the rudder is moved by a gearbox, because the strain cannot be overcome by human effort. In still larger vessels, the gearbox itself needs additional help. This assistance comes from a hydraulic system, usually based on oil at a pressure. Now, think of power steering. Also think of steering failure—a car in motion and unable to respond to steering. 
 
This is what happened in the port of Thyboron. Libas, a trawling vessel was in port; stationary. Lykke Hametner, a fishing boat, became rudderless, wayward and rammed into Libas. The gearbox had failed! The hosepipe had worked loose; the connecting ring had malfunctioned. It was also determined that the part that couples the gearbox to the hosepipe was too small in size and that was the reason for the failure.
 
You be the judge. Who would you hold responsible? Lykke Hametner, the gearbox manufacturer, the agent supplying the gearbox, the master of Lykke Hametner, the installing workshop or maybe even the Libas? Remember our oft-repeated phrase... If there is a malady, there must be a remedy. So who pays?
 
The owners of the Libas and their insurance company sued. The matter was subjected to legal proceedings. As is the case every time, finger-pointing started. It was the judge’s turn to bell the cat.
 
The court held, “It has not been proven that any of the shipyard’s employees have acted negligently in connection with the installation of the gearbox, however, the court finds that the shipyard, as a professional distributor of the gearbox, is responsible vis-à-vis the claimants for the manufacturing defects for which the gearbox manufacturer is liable.”
 
In other words, the installing shipyard as well as the manufacturer are liable to make good the damages to the Libas.
 
The reasons for the order are informative and instructive. First, the nature of damages and the cause. Lykke Hametner was uncontrollable. Was it the fault of the captain? Or the fault of the crew? The gearbox itself had not failed, as properly held by the manufacturer. It was the coupling that had allowed the hosepipe to slip away. Was it then the responsibility of the installing party, the shipyard?
 
The court zeroed in on the coupling. Since the gearbox was not substandard, the coupling was the culprit. It was supplied by the gearbox manufacturer and fitted by the shipyard. Duty of care, in supply and installation, was necessary. 
 
The coupling is a small component; but, as in many cases, it’s the loose screw that causes the million-dollar equipment to fail. The Challenger spacecraft exploded and killed its crew due to the hardening of a rubber ring. The Apollo 13 lunar mission failed because of a switch. As did the first F-1-type race-car at Indianapolis; for the breakdown of a six-dollar bearing. For the want of a nail, a kingdom…! 
 
The court has to go into the merits of the claim and the defence. In the matter of the colliding boats, it did. The connection was not strong enough. Manufacturer and installer to blame. 
 
What does it teach us? Keep all data intact. Check on new and repaired equipment. Servicing is not for the uninitiated. In this case, no lives were lost; but a simple malfunction can lead to another disaster. And, if you have to go to court, nothing works in your favour like documentary evidence. Preserve it.
 

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