Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Translate or Die!

According to the Bible, there was a time when all those on earth spoke one language. And humanity, united by one language, started building the Tower of Babel to reach the heavens and discover the ultimate truth. As this was open defiance against God's wishes, He thought that the best way to stop these efforts would be to create confusion between humans by making everybody speak different languages so that no one could understand each other. Soon, humans could no longer communicate with each other and the work halted. The Biblical myth ends with the tower being left unfinished, and mankind's dream of reaching the heavens effectively thwarted. "The confusion of tongues" created by a Biblical God has been preventing knowledge decentralization even today.

And that very confusion can also become a barrier in the process of actual penetration of IT, as more than 80 per cent of the population of the world speaks a language other than English. Today open source world are eroding the layers of the "confusion of tongue" by helping to create desktops in the languages people can understand. With more and more computer users shifting towards Linux, the demand for localized interfaces has gone up for non-English speaking users. The power of IT is coming to people in their own language. It is very exciting, but not a simple task at all. And of course translators are the main driving force that is making the globe a real global village. Basically information highway is now highway because of the effort of translators. Therefore, it is generally told that the whole civilization is the borrower of translator for its own existence. We can say that it was not entirely possible to see the today's world as it is in present condition without the translators efforts.

After the process of economic globalization translation is playing more vital role. In 1985, Paul Angel wrote in a collection named Writing from the world II that when the world is continuously contracting like a ripe orange and all the population of different culture are coming closer then on this new earth, the deciding statement for the remaining year will be as simple and straight forward like this: Either translate or die! The process of economic globalization has opened stream of opportunities for the translator and language related persons. So come forward to become the conductor of the process of economic liberalization and globalisation.

The example of oldest translation is on Rosetta Stone which belongs to 2nd century BC. Some of the earlier major work of translation happened to translate the religious books only. In ancient Greeks there were two type of theory for the translation of Bible, one was Philological theory of translation and second was Inspirational theory of translation. While in first type a translator should be aware of both the source language and target language, second type stressed on that this type of 'good' work couldn't be possible without the inspiration of the God. Here, in the world of open source a person with the combination of both the said type is necessary. Inspiration is also necessary here apart from having knowledge of both the source and target languages, a inspiration to work for the open world of open source which is all good and democratic for the masses in broader sense giving masses the power of ownership. So be inspired! And start working to bring the world closer. Let us start translation. But be cautious! We have very big responsibility, responsibility of giving power of IT to the masses! So before starting translation, please just wait for some more posts on issue of translation...

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