Difficulties In Translating Malayalam Idioms And Proverbs In To English

861 words - 3 pages

Translation is both a literary activity as well as a creative writing. It is a process of replanting the traditional notion of rendering of Source Language (SL) text in to Target Language (TL) text. In the opinion of Ayyappa Paniker, a notable Malayalam writer, “till the 19th century, Indian translators were not affected unduly by the anxiety of being through to the original and the spirit”. This accounts for the different versions of the Ramayana, The Mahabharata, Upanishad and Gita in different Indian languages. We can see that the Ramayana of Kamban in Tamil is more Dravidian epic than the Sanskrit classic.
Malayalam language is known for its varieties of word usages. Through these usages, its cultural background and hierarchical discourses are seen. Each word is unique in its original language. When it is translated, its irony and cultural values moves onto unfamiliar scenarios. In the process of translation, the essence of a text is more prominent than words and phrases. Words will not be used in its ordinary sense, but in different implication. The main drawbacks of translation includes the use of footnotes in each and every page and without the footnotes, one cannot appreciate the significance properly. As a result, the reader loses his/her attention and focus .Kerala is very rich in cultural practices and traditional beliefs. So, they are very concerned about their ancient customs. Let us examine the popular folksong in Kerala to show the difficulties in translating a culturally bounded text.

The poem in Source Language

“Maveli Nadu vaneedum kalam
Maanushyar ellarum onnupole
Aammodathode irikkumkalam
Aapathonnarkum ottillathanum”

Translated Version

“When Maveli rules over the land
All people form an equal band
And as they live in joy and charm
Everyone is free from harm”

Here in the Source Language, the poem talks about the historical background and the rule of Mahabali. The words which are used here can understood only by the Keralites. But when it comes to translated version, the essence is gone. For Keralites, Maveli is a God and he is the one who make his people live happily without any fear of danger. In the translated version, Maveli is like an ordinary man. So, one culture cannot express another culture accurately. In the translated one, its main focus is on structure more than its theme. This leads to ta rhyme and rhythm pattern which is similar...

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