Meaning Making, Meaning-Breaking and Translation


Translation, one of the major elements which have made it possible for people across the globe to access and enjoy the texts and literature from different parts of the world. Translation has made it possible for literature to really become global, cross borders and become link connecting people from different corners of the world.

But, although translation works as a bridge between the different types of literature, it has its own drawbacks too. These drawbacks often make translation literature questionable.

Meaning is the most indispensable part of any work. Literature is written for the purpose of meaning-making, whatever it may be. Any piece of literature has a meaning embedded in it; sometimes multiple meanings are found in a single text. But with translation, this very essential part of literature becomes a problem. Meaning making and meaning breaking are two important, yet very dangerous aspects of translation, which needs to be traded on very carefully.

Translation means converting a piece of work written in one language to another. But one major problem in this is that of expression. Very often, it is difficult to find an exact word or expression which becomes a correct portrayal of something written in one language for translation. This forces the translator to find replacements and alternatives. These replacements, very often than are not appropriate. They lack the emotion and sentiment of the original text. Such lack of proper word alternatives also hinders the process of meaning-making. Meaning often gets lost in this process.

Translation is a very difficult task to accomplish. A successful translator faces many hurdles before he/she can complete his/her work. But even after completion, a piece of translated literature can never be at the same level as the original work. The real magic of the work gets lost sometime during the process.

But although we may not get the complete taste and feel of the original work in its translated form, it still enables us to read and develop a taste for literature from different countries and places, which would have been otherwise impossible to read, know, understand and imbibe. We really need to thank translation literature and the different translators all over the world who sweat through their work to make this feat possible. No doubt, meaning making and meaning breaking will forever remain attached to translation literature, but we will have look above it if we want to enjoy literature from all around the world.


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