Translation becomes the star campaigner

Kochi, May 17: “It is the task of a translator to release in his own language”; as quoted by noted philosopher Walter Benjamin.

But after listening to his translator, Union Minister Venkaiha Naidu commented “You are translating my English into your English,” while campaigning for an NDA candidate in northern part of the state a few days ago.

It was a rather soft reaction by the leader, famous for his one liners. The minister could not hold back the sarcasm when the Malayalam translation of his English speech went awry. However, Naidu was not the only victim. Many other national leaders had to face the ‘translation disaster’ when they toured the state for election campaign.

And it offered little surprise when the translators were trolled heavily in social media and in the political satires in TV channels.

“Though I am getting a lot of calls about the incident, it is not a pleasant experience,” said A M Thomas whose translation of CPM politburo member Brinda Karat’s speech went viral because of the volley of gaffe at a meeting in Kalpatta constituency.

“My translation of the CPM Karnataka state secretary G V Sreeram Reddy’s speech at Tholppatty was well received. It happened (mistakes while translating Karat’s speech) due to two reasons: it was not audible and I couldn’t follow some words due to her accent,” said the 56-year-old lawyer.

The trend of trolling the translators started a few months ago when BJP leader K Surendran had an unceremonious exit from the dais after failing to translate some words in PM Narendra Modi’s Hindi speech at Thrissur.

Though it is a tough time for the polyglots of the state, some have excelled. Jyothi Vijayakumar apparently lifted the spirit in Sonia Gandhi’s speech.