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Scholarly Article

Rituparna Das

Pre-translation: Existence of the Non-Existent While Interpreting Culture


pre-translation, translation, interpretation.


The word translation as far as our general source of information is concerned, is the comprehension of the meaning of a text and the subsequent production of an equivalent text that communicates the same message in another language. The text to be translated is called the source text, and the language that is to be translated into is called the target language, the final product is sometimes called the target text. Now if pondering upon contemporary world literature, it is being noticed that English being an international language, has now become almost a source language even for the writers across the world. Of much visible, is the very fact that these writers are setting up a genre in world literature and which is definitely altering various traditional notions of literature. One of them is this changing concept of translation. As far as my discussion is concerned it is about a very small but factual observation regarding this changing concept of translation, which I called Pre-translation. This operation is often formulated by the writers who are writing in English. Thus, in this case, even the original text goes through at least the two-layered textures i.e., first, the idea or the expression that is originally developed and then, secondly, by translating that idea into the target language, by forming the original text. The use of this pre-translation mode can be seen in the writings of a series of new emerging writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Amitav Ghosh, Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Upmanyu Chatterjee and many others and in many ways, each having their own unique style. After conferring the mechanism of the pre-translation process, the next and important concern is how this process is implemented in these writings through various features while at the same time also interpreting culture.

About the Author

Rituparna Das is an Assistant Professor at City College, Kolkata. She may be contacted at

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