3 minute read

Nuisance Of Translation

Nuisance Of Translation

My name is Hari Prasad and I like two food items Rasam and Idly.

If foreigners don’t understand or cannot pronounce what is the meaning of the above sentence then you can do the translation for them. So translation is “Green Food likes two kinds of food items the first item is made of pulses after removing pulse and leaving spicy water and the second item is made of grind rice paste cooked at steam and it is disk-shaped”.

The situation becomes too bad in Japan, China, and Korea where people cannot even pronounce Indian name and they use Chinese or Japanese equivalent.

And we think by doing the above translation we have conveyed that idea and they have understood. But the whole translation is wrong and they will never understand till the time they have experience with Indian culture. Because we don’t know their language and they don’t know our language so we chose a common language like English for communication.

We need to understand there are many non-translatable in every language and you cannot translate them using one-word replacement with another language.

Verbs like Eat, Drink, Walk are common verbs across the world so you can translate them from one language to another. Nouns like Table, Floor, Mango, Apple are common nouns so you can translate them also in another language.

Words that represent a big process or outcome of a complicated process or pure philosophical or abstract cannot be translated. In the initial stage, we try to translate so that other people can understand the basics of our culture, traditions, and philosophy.

Some Non-translatable words which do not have any equivalent in the English language are mentioned below. My suggestion is when you are talking to some Indian person please do not confuse them by doing translation until they don’t have any idea of these terms. Almost all Indian people understand the meaning of these. Unfortunately, many English-speaking people including Gurus and Acharaya do translate these words. My second request is when you are talking to a non-Indian person then try to use the original word and explain to them the meaning and don’t give a one-word substitution. Otherwise, you are diluting the Atma of the word. I know it is painful to explain especially when lots of one-word substitution has been created by many English-speaking Acharya of modern time but still try to understand that by doing so you confuse others, dilute the meaning and demean your own culture.

In the 19th and 20th century when our great Acharyas were doing this translation that time situation was completely different and nobody was listening to us so this translation was necessary. Today when Indians are everywhere and lots of investment is happening or already happened in translating, understanding our ancient scripture this translation is not required. In fact many of these words like Atma, Guru, Karma, Yoga, Pandita has taken place in the English dictionary. In that situation, it is our duty to spend time and try to understand the deeper and correct meaning of Samskrut Non-Translatable words and communicate them as they exist.

  1. Yagnya
  2. Karma
  3. Kaama
  4. Moksha
  5. Yoga
  6. Bhoota
  7. Prana
  8. Samadhi
  9. Dhyana
  10. Samskara
  11. Manas
  12. Chitta
  13. Darshana
  14. Vishaya
  15. Purusha
  16. Ananda
  17. Shraddha
  18. Pragyna
  19. Klesha
  20. Kaala
  21. Pranava
  22. Upvaas
  23. Vruta
  24. Chaitnya
  25. Rutambhara
  26. Tatava
  27. Pranidhyana
  28. Avidhya
  29. Maya
  30. Karma Fala
  31. Rastra
  32. Viveka
  33. Sanyasa
  34. Rushi
  35. Jeeva
  36. Satchitananda
  37. Devta
  38. Ishwara
  39. Bhagwaan
  40. Brahman
  41. Kundalini
  42. Shakti
  43. Chetna
  44. Prakurti
  45. Guna
  46. Jaati
  47. Mantra
  48. Shuyna
  49. Guru
  50. Prakash
  51. Pandita
  52. Kaivalya
  53. Nirvaan
  54. MantraDrusta
  55. Akshara
  56. Sindoor
  57. Udageeta
  58. Upanishad
  59. Punyam
  60. Paapam
  61. Satya
  62. Linga
  63. Bhava
  64. Rasa
  65. Adhyatma
  66. Prasadam
  67. Tarpana

Shri Rajiv Malhotra’s Book Being Different helped me to understand this nuisance of our culture and I have written this from his inspiration. The above list can be expended but the above terms came on top of my mind so wrote them to help others to understand the nuisance of translation.

Based on my time availability, I will expand this work in the future. If you are interested in working on this then don’t hesitate to write/call me. Hari Om Tata Sat Yours Truly Hari