Tracing a Translator’s Journey: An Interview with V Ramaswamy


A translated work must retain the essence and flavour of regional culture and locales. A good translator tries to reproduce the particularities that are ingrained within the texts. On this note, Dr Bidisha Pal, Assistant Professor from the Department of Literature and Languages, has published a paper, “Delving into a Translator’s Journey of Translating Marginalised Voices of Bengal: An Insightful Discussion with V Ramaswamy” in Meta Journal des traducteurs Translators’ Journal. This research revolves around a discussion with the well-known translator V Ramaswamy, a noted name in Bengali Dalit literature and translation. Ramaswamy shares his thoughts on working on the translation projects that he enjoys doing and that establish the cause of the marginalised people of Bengal.


In this interview discussion with Bidisha Pal and Md. Mojibur Rahman, translator V Ramaswamy focuses on the journey of his translation and tryst with the marginalised Dalit voice(s) in Bengal. He speaks about the writings that propel him to choose translating and to carry voice(s) beyond the Bengal arena, thus dissolving language barriers. The deliberate choice to translate various pieces representing various periods acts as a witness to his existence as an independent translator. According to him, translation is also a source of healing to deal with a tragic past and the complicacies that life often presents to him. He shares his experience translating Subimal Mishra, the powerful poet who speaks for marginalised people. Ramaswamy, as he states in the interview, makes a vow to translate Mishra’s whole writing career. He talks about translating Manoranjan Byapari, a Bengali Dalit prize-winning author and political persona who has also championed the Dalit cause in Bengal, Adhir Biswas, the story-writer and publisher of a publishing house in Kolkata Gangchil that publishes writings by those literary personas who do not fall, as such, into the category of the mainstream, Bangladeshi writer Shahidul Zahir whose revolutionary voice and zeal reverberate in the literary world of Bangladesh, as well as Ansaruddin, a writer and farmer by profession whose works Ramaswamy is currently translating. Despite not being a part of the literary world, Ramaswamy has built an intense connection with literature and has gradually become part of the world. For him, translation is something that has to remain faithful to the source text, especially if people are doing literary translation.

Practical implementation/social implications of the research

The research contains elements that are connected with the values of the society. It discusses the nuances of translation of the writings of marginalised people, which contain many unforeseen truths of society, and depicts the struggles for the existence of the people. The translator is doing a commendable job compiling the writing thorough translation that will act as a bridge to the unfamiliar audience who could feel connected with the marginalised people.

Dr Bidisha aims to publish many more articles in the diverse interdisciplinary fields of literature, edit books, and attend conferences.

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