posted by: Ravi Kumar
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Ravi Kumar ModlinguaBy Ravi Kumar, Founder, Modlingua Learning

Heilbron and Sapiro (2007:93-107) in their paper, Outline for a Sociology of translation: Current issues and future prospects”, criticize the interpretive approach to translation that either deals with the “hermeneutic movement” (Steiner 1975), the understanding of texts and comparison of translation with the source text and the creative deviation from the original; or studies translation through the cultural perspective where focus is on “the various modes of appropriating texts, on the instability of their meaning and on the mutual permeability of cultures” (p.94). The writers are of the view that both the approaches ignore the ‘plurality’ of the agents involved in the translation process and that there is a need to study the relationship between the agents (translators, various mediators and the readership) and their historical and social spaces of reception. Similarly, they also present their concern over using the economic approach to translation that only focuses on the economic factors and ignores the cultural values, “the symbolic goods” (Bourdieu 1977, 1993). 

They recognize the works of Holmes, Lambert and Lefevere 1978; Even-Zohar 1990 and Toury 1995, who attempted to deal with the functioning of translations in their contexts of production and reception but did not explain the roles of translators and various other agencies involved in the translation process as social agents. Heilbron and Sapiro place the production and reception of translation within the realm of cultural transfers and call for an investigation of the roles of individuals as well as institutions involved in these exchanges between the countries and explain the transnational cultural transfers in the context of following three factors: international field, principles of differentiation and agents of intermediation.   

While discussing “international field”, based on the program proposed by Pierre Bourdieu (2002) on the social conditions of international circulation of cultural goods, both the writers place transnational transfer of translation within the space of nation states and language groups and analyze translation as embedded within the power relations of national sates and their languages (p.95). They further explain that within the power relations (political, economic and cultural), the means of political, economic and cultural are unequally distributed; therefore, cultural exchanges take place unequally and express relations of domination.  They explain that within the global system of translations, English, German and French enjoy a central position while, the others hold a semi-peripheral or peripheral position respectively. Accordingly, through a careful study of statistics related to production of translated books, they demonstrate that “translation flows are highly uneven, flowing from the center towards the periphery rather than the reverse” (p96).

On the “principles of differentiation”, Heilbron and Saprio identify political relations between the countries and political orientation of respective governments, economic relations and cultural exchanges as the key factors that influence the circulation of texts between the countries. They further explain that in relation to political and economic factors the degree of protection of market and degree to which culture fulfills an ideological purpose, one finds a series of possible configurations, especially with liberalization and GATT agreement of 1986 and its Uruguay Round of negotiations, TRIPS adopted in 1994 within the framework of WTO.

On “the agents of intermediation”, Heilbron and Saprio explain that international exchange of cultural goods takes place through intervention and mediation of individual agents coming from various fields representing political, economic and cultural areas that are interlinked through highly hierarchized relations. They further explain that with the development of the market of cultural goods and liberalization of cultural exchange, the official decision-making power of government run agencies like embassies, cultural institutes, translation institutes and journals has been greatly reduced as there is emergence of specialized agents like literary agents, book importers-exporters and independent bodies. Similarly, with the professionalization of specialized agents and emergence of professional associations, the global system of translation saw a new breed of translators (social agents) in the system characterized by strong individualism and division in terms of gender, ideology, political and social affiliations and that they also compete with each other.

It is also important to note that on one hand, Heilbron and Sapiro derive their theoretical framework of studying translation beyond national boundaries from the works of Pascale Casanova who imported the economic theories of globalization in the literary universe and “rediscovers a lost transnational dimension of literature that for two hundred years has been reduced to the political and linguistic boundaries of nations” (2004:i). On the other hand, they effectively aligned their thoughts with the concept of ‘social turn’ currently discussed in translation studies that derives its theoretical basis in the comprehensive theory of society proposed by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002). Bourdieu describes power relations between various actors in the society using key concepts like an individual’s habitus, the fields in which various actors interact and the struggle for economic, social, cultural and symbolic power to gain supremacy over others (Jenkins 2002).

By looking at translators within the global framework and studying the power relations of the various agents involved, Heilbron and Sapiro give us the scope to study and analyze the position of the translator in the society. The possibility to study these relations opens new horizons in translation studies. This coincides with the massive growth in the production and circulation of content through the World Wide Web that has created huge opportunities for translators to play different roles in the supply chain of content management processes. Within this context, the study of a translator’s relations with various actors in the supply chain would help in understanding the position of the translator in the given work place as well as within the society where he/she interacts.

Also, by initiating a study of the consumption pattern of translated books and identifying the central and peripheral languages, Heilbron and Sapiro help us in developing an overall understanding of existing power relations between the languages. An in-depth study in this direction would help the respective governments of the countries in developing language policies for promoting their cultures beyond the national boundaries, thus foster the growth of multilingualism and multiculturalism across the globe, and increase profile of translation.

Similarly, it would also help in understating various roles of intermediation played by the translators in the society in translating all possible forms of communication at local, national as well as international level. Nyongwa (2010:54) describes, “by introducing foreign elements into national cultures (literature, terms, etc.), translators become agents of cultural transformation. By always working on the edge of several cultures, translators appear either as cultural facilitators or as agents of cultural expansionism”. Studying the translator’s roles in this direction would further help in addressing the problems of translators (in) visibility discussed by Venuti (1995) or in understating the voluntary servitude of translators as discussed by Simeoni (Munday 2012:235).

It should also be taken into consideration that while studying translators as agents in the literary exchange of any form, we also need to discuss the relationship of the translator with the text (form, content, style) and interpret the social conditions behind translation activities. Heilbron and Sapiro rather develop their theoretical framework in opposition to such interpretation and ignore various translation practices, the most fundamental aspects of study of translation; they explain the social structures of translation and the institutional arrangements but they fail to explain their effects on the translation practices.

Within this context, I find a possible solution in the cultural turn initiated by Bassnett and Lefevere (1990:12) that deals with “the text embedded within its network of both source and target cultural signs” and gives the possibility of studying the interaction of translation with the culture; by incorporating the study of translation and various agencies involved in the translation process as agents of social change within the theoretical framework of cultural turn, perhaps it would be possible to bridge the gap between the two approaches. In this context, Wolf (2007:6) explains that “society and culture are interwoven with each other, and emphasizes on the need to combine the cultural as well as social perspectives of studying translation in order to avoid dichotomization and transcend traditional deterministic views”. The study of points where culture and social meet would further help us know more about translation and translators.



Heilbron, J. &Sapiro, G. (2007) “Outline for a sociology of Translation” in Wolf &Fukari (eds) Constructing a Sociology of Translation. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Steiner, George (2002 [1975]198), “The Hermeneutic Motion”, in Lawrence Venuti (ed.), The Translation Studies Reader, London: Routledge, pp. 193-198.

Casanova, Pascale (2004), The World Republic of Letters, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Jenkins, Richard (1992, 2002), Pierre Bourdieu, New York-London, Routledge.

Nyongwa, Moses (2012) “Translation and Nation Building: What a difficult couple” in Kumar (ed.) Role of Translation in Nation Building, New Delhi: Modlingua.

Venuti, L. (1995). The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation, London/New York:Routledge.

Bassnett, S. and A. Lefevere (eds) (1990) Translation, History and Culture, London and New York: Pinter.

Wolf, Michaela (2007) “Introduction” in Wolf &Fukari (eds) Constructing a Sociology of Translation. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


posted by: Ravi Kumar
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Ravi kumarBy Ravi Kumar, Founder Modlingu Group and President, Indian Translators Association

Nation Building” has always been linked to national integration and the creation of national identity. For a country like India, it is a very delicate and challenging matter to deal with the national identity that derives its strength from multiple layers of social, political, religious, economic, cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity. However, the communication gap which inevitably arises out of such a diversity of boundaries is constantly being bridged by the people themselves, whose day to day reality is, for the majority, living in a multi-cultural society and interacting in a multilingual manner.

We should not forget that the concept of the nation-state is not an ancient or indigenous one but a notion imported relatively recently from Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. The United Kingdom only became “united” through the Act of Union in 1702 when England (and Wales) and Scotland merged politically. We should acknowledge that when America famously declared independence from Britain in 1776, this fledgling state initially contained only a tiny fraction of the area it has today. Similarly, Italy and Germany were not unified until the middle of the 19th century.

In India, the impact of this colonial myth has been that many educated people accept that the idea of India as a nation is a British creation. However, a detailed study of linguistic history reveals that Bhartiyata (Indianness) is not by any means a recent phenomenon; it is deeply rooted in its citizens across the country since ancient times. 

It was, we might argue, the existence and subsequent translation of the great Indian classics that acted as a catalyst in creating a pan-Indian ethos. Epics – especially the Ramayana and the Mahabharata - have been translated into almost all regional languages. Cutting across religious beliefs, the legends of Rama and Krishna have stirred the minds of Indians living in almost all corners of India. These myths, whose nature is patently nationalistic, were made available to the Indian population through translation, without which it is inconceivable that the deeply entrenched cultural and linguistic boundaries within India could have been bridged.   

It is very difficult to ascertain the dates of Ramayana and Mahabharata. However, most of the historians seem to have concluded that Ramayana existed before Mahabharata.  Historians and experts believe that verses of Ramayana existed in India in various layers and spans which passed from one generation to another for thousands of years through oral traditions, and that it was Maharishi Valmiki who compiled seven volumes of it consisting of 24,000 verses in Sanskrit that tell the story of Rama (an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu), whose wife Sita was abducted by the demon King of Lanka, Ravana.

Thematically, the epic explores the tenets of human existence and the concept of dharma. It contains the teachings of ancient Hindu sages and presents them in narrative allegories with philosophical and devotional elements interspersed. The characters like Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India, i.e. the epic became so popular and universal that it crossed over the boundaries of Brahminical temples and got embedded in the psyche of Indian population cutting across all strata and layers of caste system that even today remain deeply rooted in India.

It is very important to note that in the ancient period the purpose of translation was totally different than what we perceive today. In most of the times Sanskrit text used to be changed in the form (rupantar) into several languages (bhashantar) or they were called anuvad (coming after or following after). This meant less emphasis on maintaining originality of source text, therefore, a translator may not be faithful to the original text at all.

As in many oral epics, multiple versions of the Ramayana survive. Ramayana has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages, notably the Kambaramayanam by the Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century, the Telugu-language Molla Ramayana, 14th century Kannada poet Narahari's Torave Ramayan, Kotha Ramayana in Assamese by the 14th century poet Madhava Kandali and 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan, as well as the 16th century Awadhi version (near Hindi), Ramacharitamanas, written by Tulsidas. Similarly, Gujarati poet Premanand wrote a version of Ramayana in the 17th century. Other versions include Oriya version by Balarama Das in the 16th century, in Marathi by Sridhara in the 18th century, etc.

It is very interesting to note that Ramayana narrated in North India differs in important aspects from the one preserved in South India and the rest of South-East Asia. There is an extensive tradition of oral storytelling based on the Ramayana in Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, and Maldives. Father Kamil Bulke, the author of Ramakatha, has identified over 300 variants of Ramayana.

There is a sub-plot to Ramayana, prevalent in some parts of India, relating the adventures of Ahi Ravana / Mahi Ravana, the evil brother of Ravana, which enhances the role of Hanuman in the story. Hanuman rescues Rama and Lakshmana after they are kidnapped by the Ahi/Mahi Ravana at the behest of Ravana and held prisoner in a subterranean cave to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali.

Mappillapattu—a genre of song popular among the Muslims belonging to Kerala and Lakshadweep—has incorporated some episodes from the Ramayana into its songs. These songs, known as Mappila Ramayana, have been handed down from one generation to the next orally.  In Mappila Ramayana, the story of the Ramayana has been changed into that of a Sultan and there are no major changes in the names of characters except for that of Rama which is `Laman' in many places. The language and the imagery projected in the Mappilapattu are in accordance with the social fabric of the earlier Muslim community.

The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during the 8th century and was represented in literature, temple architecture, dance and theatre. Today, dramatic enactments of the story of Ramayana, known as Ramlila, take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian Diaspora.

Parallel with Ramayana, Mahabharata is another equally important great epic first written in Sanskrit by Ved Vyas that has reached almost all corners and veins of India.  Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or purusharthas. The latter are enumerated as dharma (right action), artha (purpose), kama (pleasure) and moksha (liberation). Mahabharata has enjoyed references on a continuous basis both in literary and popular culture of India, since ancient times. Several stories within the Mahabharata have been debated so intensely that they have taken separate identities of their own. For instance, Abhijñānashākuntala by the renowned Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa (ca. 400 CE), believed to have lived in the era of the Gupta dynasty, is based on a story that is the precursor to the Mahabharata.

Bhagavad Gita, the integral part of Mahabharta needs a special mention for its message to the mankind. The message of Bhagavad Gita is that either you can perform your actions with attachment thinking that you are the doer or you can perform the same without attachment by thinking that God/Nature is performing the actions. This unattached performance of actions has been called Yagya or Karma Yog in the Gita. Those who perform their actions for the sake of Yagya or by way of Karma Yog will be freed from the bonds of actions. They will be freed from the attributes of Sattav, Rajas and Tamas (purity, passion and delusion) and attain the supreme Bhava of God, which will make them imperishable beings. They will be freed from sorrow, old age and death and will attain immortality. This unattached performance of actions is the true Karma  which will not only fulfill all desires but will also transform us and make us one with God. This thought that perhaps originated 5000 years before has relevance even in today’s modern world, and that is the reason why its universality has been maintained through various ages and in various languages.

At a much later stage when Jainism and Buddhism started flourishing in India, say around 600 B.C. onwards, the religious texts and teachings first reached in different corners of India in Pali-Sanskrit which was simultaneously translated and appropriated in various Indian languages (bhasha).

In 230 B.C. during Maurya rule, Buddhism received a great impetus when King Ashoka after having won various wars underwent untold sufferings, especially after his victory over Kalinga, and then embraced Buddhism after renouncing war forever. Ashoka’s patronage of Buddhism played a great role in having a profound influence on the Indian subcontinent and beyond. It began with his practical approach towards the humane ideals. In his zeal to propagate peace, he dispatched Buddhist emissaries to Burma, Ceylon, Afghanistan, Nepal, Mesopotamia, Syria, China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia and Macedonia. Moreover, he is said to have sent his son Mahindra’s daughter Sanghamitra to Ceylon to spread Buddhism. During this period, the Buddhist scriptures were widely translated into Indian Bhashas and languages of neighbouring countries as well. The popularity of Buddhism under the Mauryas led to the establishment of many Buddhist centres at places like the present day Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Varanasi, Orissa, Mysore and Karnataka.

Ashoka’s policy of Dhamma, which encapsulated all the moral and social virtues for the common good and his direct patronage were responsible for the widespread popularity of Buddhism. Assuming the title “Devanampriya” (Beloved of the Gods), several rock and pillar edicts of his Dhamma or the law of piety issued by Ashoka were erected. These included the co-existence and toleration of all walks of life and also very clear indication of nationhood and national identity. Also, the spread of Buddhism under this Mauryan Emperor is believed to have greatly influenced the religious history of South-east Asia. The spread of Buddhism beyond the borders of Indian subcontinent during the Mauryan period ensured its survival even after Buddhism lost hold after the Muslim conquest and the revival of Hinduism.

Whatever may be the purpose or practice of translation, call it rupantar, bhashantar or anuvad, it is important to note that this activity has been going on in India since ages and that it has always helped the Indian population to maintain unity in diversity. Indianness may not only be looked through unity of geographical locations which already exists in the Indian subcontinent by default, it may also be looked through the spiritual space that has been binding it as a nation where geographical locations work as body and the spiritual space as soul.

To understand this unity that may be equated with nationhood or supra-nationhood in the Indian case, if we take into account the details given by foreign travellers of that time, who were translators and the real ambassadors who helped in translation and dissemination of information from one language to another, one culture to another, one nation to another; it becomes easier to understand that today’s Indian sub-continent was already united as one nation consisting of several mini nations.  

Megasthenese (c. 350 BC-290 BC) was a Greek traveler and geographer, a friend and companion of  Seleucus Nicator, the Greek Monarch who sent him as an ambassador to Sandracottus (Chandragupta), King of Prasii, whose capital was Palibothra (Patataliptra), a town near the confluence of Ganges and Sone in the neighbourhood of the modern Patna. Megasthenese was the first westerner to provide an eyewitness description of the Gangetic plains and the people of India, the time when Chandragupta’s power was at its zenith, and much later whose grandson Ashoka expanded the Mauryan empire to a much larger area than before.

Fa-Hien (c.399–414 AD), a Chinese Buddhist monk who initiated relations with India in 399 AD, eager to learn about his religion at its source, spent a decade visiting the major Buddhist shrines and seats of learning, especially sites in eastern India, including Kapilavastu, Bodh Gaya, and Pataliputra. He deepened his knowledge by conversing with monks and gathered sacred texts that had not yet been translated into Chinese. He returned to China by sea in 412, after spending two years in Sri Lanka. His Record of Buddhist Kingdoms contains valuable information about Indian Buddhism as well as Indian political and cultural scenario of this era.

Huen–Tsang (c.602–664), was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang period. Like Fa-Hien, he too was concerned about the incomplete and misinterpreted nature of the Buddhist scriptures that reached China. He decided to go west to India, the cradle and thriving center of Buddhism itself where he spent 17 years traveling, visiting places associated with the Buddha's life, learning Sanskrit and studying with Buddhist masters, most notably at the famous Nalanda University. He gathered hundreds of Sanskrit texts (sutras) in order to bring them back with him. Many of them got destroyed en route but he still managed to bring back 657 books. Upon his return and for the remaining 19 years of his life, Huen–Tsang worked with a team of linguist monks to translate many of the 657 books and wrote a commentary on them. He also published an account of his travels which is now a precious historical record and which provided the inspiration for the epic novel Journey to the West.

The map in the next paragraph explains the extent of 03 great empires of Indian span into three different time zones. The Mauryan empire at around 250 B.C, the Gupta Empire at around 400 AD, and the Mughal empire from 1600 to 1700 AD.

MAP IndiaIn medieval period specially during the Mughal Period which was established in north India in the 16th century brought about tremendous literary activity. Languages like Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi and Urdu saw tremendous creative activity as did many vernacular languages. The contributions of the Mughals can be divided into three categories: historical works, translations, poetry and novels. The important historical works written in this time were Ain-i-Akbari, and Akbarnama by Abul Fazl, the Ta'rikh-i-'Alfi by Mulla Daud. Akbar, though  not educated in any formal educational institution, could contribute much to literature. Jehangir possessed a keen interest in literature, and his autobiography is one of the finest amongst the Mughal emperors. During his reign, important historical works like Ma'asir-i-Jahangir, Iqbalnamah-i-Jahangiri and Zubud-ut-Tawaikh were written. Many important works in translation were also written during this period, with the translation of the epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana taking place. Many of the Vedas were also translated and several previous historical books were also translated. All this translation added to the wealth of Indian literature and spread ancient knowledge to a greater audience. This renewed interest in Indian literature would be an important tool used by the social reformers of the eighteenth century to educate the people about what the ancient texts really said as opposed to the distorted interpretations that were being followed. One of the fine Hindu works composed during this time was Ramcharitmanasa (the life of Rama) by Tulsidasa, which was a simplified version of the Ramayana.

Travellers who generally used to travel in the quest of knowledge from one corner to another corner of country have contributed a lot to translation activities. Many times they used to cross boundaries of their country (or linguistic regions) to learn new language(s) and used to contribute towards democratization of information through translation. Out of many such travellers, Ibn Battuta is one of the world's greatest travelers, traveled an enormous distance of 75,000 miles after having left Tangier, Morocco with the intention of performing Hajj (the pilgrimage) to Mecca only to return thirty years later at the court of Sultan Abu 'Inan and dictated accounts of his journeys, known as the famous Travels (Rihla) of Ibn Battuta covering several adventures in African deserts, Indian countries (states) and islands in far east and China. He spent seven years at the court of Mohammed Bin Tughluk as a judge and finally as ambassador to China. He has given a wonderful record of socio-religious life of the places he visited which includes coastal Karnataka and southern part of India.

Ibn Battuta was the only medieval traveler who is known to have visited the lands of every Muslim ruler of his time. He also traveled to Ceylon (present Sri Lanka), China and Byzantium and South Russia. The mere extent of his travels is estimated at no less than 75,000 miles, a figure which is not likely to have been surpassed before the age of steam.

Some of the non religious books have also played major role in creating common psyche of the masses. The book Panchtantra is one of them which is known for its universal message.   It was originally written in Sanskrit, probably in Kashmir, sometime in the 4th century A.D. Two hundred years later, a Persian Shah got it translated into Pehlavi, a form of Old Persian and liked it so much that he enshrined the translation in a special room of his palace. Three hundred years later, after the Muslim conquest of Persia and the Near East, a Persian convert to Islam named Ibn al-Mukaffa’ chanced upon the Pehlavi version and translated it into Arabic as Kalila wa Dimna in a style so lucid that it is still considered a model of Arabic prose. It was so entertaining, however, that it proved popular with all classes, entered the folklore of the Muslim world and was carried by the Arabs to Spain. There it was translated into Old Spanish in the 13th century. In Italy, it was one of the first books to appear after the invention of printing. Later, it was also translated into Greek and then into Latin, Old Church Slavic, German and other languages. The Arabic version was translated into Ethiopic, Syriac, Persian, Turkish, Malay, Javanese, Laotian and Siamese. In the 19th century it was translated into Hindustani, thus completing the circle that began 1,700 years before in Kashmir. Not all versions were simple translations. The book was expanded, abridged, versified, disfigured and enhanced by a seemingly endless series of translators.

Bhakti movement in India also played important role in creating oneness. The Bhakti movement in India took place as an effort to inculcate loving devotion and belief in God. It aimed at the principle of monotheism, i.e. existence of one God. It started in the south of India and slowly spread to north India during the later half of the medieval period in the history of India (800-1700 A.D). The real essence of Bhakti is found in great epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Vedic scriptures also talk about the concept of pure devotion of God. Many saints and devotional preachers led the Bhakti movement in different parts of the country. They believed in the fact that true knowledge can be achieved only through selfless devotion and worship of the Supreme Power. The Bhakti movement of the Vaishnavaites and that of the Shaiva were simultaneous and started almost together.

The Bhakti movements started then, have left an indelible mark in human beliefs and faiths. This movement started the trend of elaborate rituals in worship places. Devotional hymns in Temples, Qawalli in Mosques, Gurbani in Gurudwaras, etc. all came from the Bhakti movement. Chanting or taking the name of God was considered essential by many saints including the great Adi Shankaracharya. The significance of Bhakti movement was that it could be accessed by anyone, since all it needed was to remember God with full devotion and love. The esteemed philosophical schools only changed the thoughts, but the Bhakti movement changed the entire perspective of a human being. It went beyond artificial beliefs and rituals and encouraged people to have complete faith in the Almighty. The Bhakti movement in India produced a rich collection of literature based on devotion, spirituality, faith and incorporated numerous devotional hymns and chants.

As per the thoughts of R.S Pathak “the poets of the Bhakti period in India were translators in a different and loose sense, as they strove to translate Indian knowledge and wisdom manifested in different treatises through Sanskrit by appropriating it in various Indian Bhashas". In words of G.N. Devy medieval translation aimed at liberating the society. (Devy, 1993) 

The post Bhakti Movement of Indian literature took a sharp turn in the latter Mughal era in India classified as ‘Reeti Kaal” or a style-oriented period in which poets and laurels put much emphasis on style of expression than on the purity of content. Naturally, this also impacted the trend of translation. Krishna and Radha became the centre of romantic and, sometimes even sensual, poesy and expressions. Such literature even reached South India and further countries like Iran and Afghanistan through Persian translations.

The dying Mughal empire could not add much to maintain oneness of national geographical boundaries, however, the translators and intellectuals continued to play crucial role in maintaining religious beliefs, and universal legends and ethos whose nature was always nationalistic. 

Upon arrival of British in India, the role of literature and translation took a U turn. The British period took away even the ‘stylish’ approach of translation and made it a tool for administration and imperialism. English language was introduced to bring ideas and thoughts from west, and it was imposed as language of the administrative class. The concept of ruptantar or bhastantar slowly faded into administrative translation that served the British interests. New legal terms and administrative glossaries evolved which became part and parcel of the British law and order. The British period was also the period of the great Industrial Revolution that started from England and soon enveloped the entire globe. New machines were made and it was the beginning of an age that we term today as ‘globalization’.  The markets spread, consumer-oriented services bloomed and the language had to assume a new role – to cater to the socio-economic needs of multitudes of people.

1. Kumar, Ravi, Language and Translation Industry of India: A Historical and Cultural Perspective, Shanghai, XVIII FIT world Congress, 2008
2. Kumar, Ravi, The life of a Translator in India, London, ITI Bulletin, the Journal of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting, 2010
3. Kumar, Ravi, The Translator as an Entrepreneur: An Indian Perspective, Salt Lake City, USA, American Journal of Translation Studies, 2010
4. Das, Binay Kumar, A handbook of Translation Studies. New Delhi, Atlantic Publishers, 2005
5. Oustinoff, Michaël, Translation Matters: India as a model for Europe, during International Conference on Role of Translation in nation building and supra nationalism, Indian Translators Association, New Delhi 2010
6. Devy, G.N. Devy, “Translation Theory: An Indian Perspective,” Into Another Tongue. Madras: Mac Millian, 1993
7. Vasandani, Nirupama Rastogi, The translation initiative: Teaching and Training, Hyderabad, Central Institute of English and Foreign Language, 2000
8. Mahapragya, Acharya and Abdul Kalam, A.P.J, The Family and the Nation, New Delhi, Harper Collins Publishers, 2008
9. Nijhawan, Shobna, Nationalism in the Vernacular, Ranikhet, 2010
posted by: Ravi Kumar
Hits: 1962
By Ravi Kumar, Founder, Modlingua Learning 
First presented at International Symposium on Technical Translation and Terminology for Cross-Cultural Dialogue: 12-13 November 2009, Hacettepe University, Beytepe/Ankara; Later published at ITI Journal, UK in March- April 2010
This paper deals with Translators as entrepreneurs who are slowly getting aware of their profession and have begun coming to a common platform to share knowledge, experience and resources – a most desired step necessary for the better future of the profession. Further, this paper will propose “networking” as a possible solution to entrepreneurs who can economize their process and speed up their growth by using available resources and infrastructure without having to invest huge.
Bilingualism, multilingualism, challenges, economizing efforts, Babelfish, Google, limited resources for translators, entrepreneurship, common platform, networking, Co-creating values.


Before we enter into discussion on the Translator as an entrepreneur it is important for us to define entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship means different things to different people. For J.A Timmons, The Entrepreneurial Mind, 1989, it is the ability to create and build something from practically nothing. For Wennekers and Thurik, Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, 1999 it is the creation of new economic opportunities. For Wickham, Strategic Entrepreneurship: A decision making approach to new venture creation and management, 1998, it means creating and managing vision and demonstrating leadership. For Peter Druker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, it is a practice with a knowledge base.

Conceptually and in practice, the term hints of no stereotypical model. Yet it has its root in the French word ‘entreprendre’ which literally means to undertake – indicating the minimum characteristics of an entrepreneur.

From the perspective of economic functions, three crucial characteristics of entrepreneurial activity are: risk taking, innovation and venturing into new business activities for profit. (David Kirby, Entrepreneurship, 2003 McCraw Hill).

National Knowledge Commission (NKC), the core advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, which focuses on creating knowledge capital, has recognized entrepreneurship as one of the key factors of wealth creation and employment generation. As per NKC, ‘Entrepreneurship is the professional application of knowledge, skills and competencies and / or of monetizing a new idea by an individual or a set of people by launching an enterprise de novo or diversifying from an existing one (distinct from seeking self employment as in a profession or trade), thus to pursue growth while generating wealth, employment and social good’.

Entrepreneurship in India

Entrepreneurship has been ‘embedded in the Indian genius and is a part of its tradition’[1]. To quote the renowned economist, T.N. Srinivasan, ‘India has been an entrepreneurial society…we had the entrepreneurial skill but suppressed it for too long a time…and now it is thriving. The entrepreneurial spirit is an ongoing characteristic of India’s history, particularly visible in a number of communities engaged primarily in trading.[2] Traditionally, the Entrepreneurship of such communities is facilitated principally by the successful use of informal ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’ and interdependent business networks. Further, there is also a rich tradition within the Indian Diaspora, spanning the past several hundred years, whose spirit of enterprise is legion.

Entrepreneurship in India occurs in ‘far more encompassing and far reaching ways than in developed countries’, and could, therefore, be far more complex,’ for there is so much more that needs to be done.[3] Commentators today celebrate the ubiquitous Indian attitude of ‘jugaad’ (a Hindi word roughly translated as ‘creative improvisation…a tool to some how find a solution based on a refusal to accept defeat, and calling on initiative, quick thinking, cunning and resolve…to quickly fulfill market demands at the lowest possible prices[4]’) as an entrepreneurial trait that has been as much a part of everyday Indian living as its rich tradition of philosophy and speculation.

The salience of Entrepreneurship in India has intensified in recent times, particularly with the rise in knowledge-intensive Services. New entrepreneurs who do not belong to traditional business communities have begun to emerge in large numbers; Entrepreneurship has grown rapidly, visibly so, creating wealth and generating employment especially in the past twenty years. Crucial efforts initiated after economic liberalization – including systematic attempts to reduce the ‘licence raj’, greater efforts to make finance more easily accessible to entrepreneurs and other institutional support to ‘techno-preneurs’- have helped improve the climate for Entrepreneurship.

The Translator as an entrepreneur

After several years of struggle, in many countries Translation has evolved as a professional activity and its practitioners have been able to get a professional status. However, it is important to note that India, in spite of having recognized and documented the presence of 1635 rationalized mother tongues, classified into 234 mother tongues and grouped under 122 languages, has failed to achieve professional status for its translators. Translation is an activity that not only helps bridge communication gap, rather it facilitates the whole set of business activity in terms of localization and globalization thus generating employment. An individual translator not only generates employment for himself/herself but also facilitates multiple activities and thus multiple employment activities ranging from DTP, advertising, education etc. to development and facilitation of high-end software and products. A translator applies his knowledge, skills and competencies and consistently evolves and applies new ideas at the individual level or collectively and in most of the cases, he/she is one person enterprise that generates employment and wealth and contributes to the economic development of the country.

It is also notable that most of the translators in India are forced to orient their profession and tune it as per the language demand of the industry by being restricted to the roles of language teacher, BPO employee, tele caller, etc. Those who remain loyal to their professional orientation as translator become freelance translators and often slowly grow into translation agencies. Unlike big business houses, translation businesses are usually run from home or from sparsely-furnished small offices, have limited resources and often the owners don’t know where the next penny is coming from to keep the operation going. Most of the time, such translators or agencies work in isolation and lead lonely existences as few can empathize with their troubles.

Socio- Cultural situation of translators in India

Bilinguals have always been respected in India as persons with superior qualifications, and they have played a pivotal role in social and cultural change. Slowly, bilingualism has become so widespread that it is complementary in nature. For example, an individual may use a particular language at home, another in the neighborhood and the bazaar, and still another in certain formal domains such as education, administration, and the like. In addition, the languages of national and international communication, Hindi and English, are also part of the linguistic repertoire of a sizeable number of Indians. In India, linguistic diversity is not by accident, but is inherited in the process of acquiring the composite culture of India.

Economic Situation of a translator in India

On the one hand, bilingualism/ multilingualism have played a pivotal role in shaping the diverse society of India, and even UNESCO has appreciated India’s situation on maintaining its linguistic diversity. On the other hand, Indian translators face challenges that are byproducts of the bilingualism / multilingualism inherent in Indian society. For example, it is very common to equate a translator with a bilingual neighbor, friend, relative or office colleague who are readily available for help or extend their services either at a very low price or, many times, even for free. I define these actions as part of the entrepreneurship attitude inherent in almost every Indian who tries to make best use of available resources and economizes his/ her efforts by making use of available resources. In this case, the resources are readily available bilinguals or multilinguals. These challenges become tougher when a Project Manager, knowingly or unknowingly equates the service cost of a professional translator with that of his in-house bilingual colleague whose services he / she has been availing of, free of charge. The challenge becomes stiffer when a translator has to explain to the Project Manager or the Indian Businessman (who still insists on using online freeware like Babelfish, Google or Systran) the difference between a machine translation and a professional translation, while trying to bid for an international project. This further confirms the resolve of an Indian businessman to prove his entrepreneurship skill which finally leads to a fiasco.

Making of a translator in India

As explained above, in spite of India’s very rich and continuing diversity of languages, there are only a few universities that offer translation courses in their curriculum, and these find it difficult to sustain themselves because of lack of infrastructure, lack of trained faculty, lack of well formulated course curriculum and, above and all, public lack of awareness and government apathy.

In this situation, it becomes very challenging for a translator to evolve as a professional, and those who evolve as professionals can be easily put into the category of entrepreneurs as they develop the ability to create and build something from practically nothing, and they practice this process of building wealth daily and continue to face all odds with a hope that one day they would be established translators. 

External challenges faced by the translator entrepreneur

Once a professional translator starts interacting with the Industry, external challenges multiply. The translator goes on to face many other issues, including payment issues with clients followed by lack of continuity of work, government apathy towards professional recognition, lack of established standards, lack of certification, lack of funds for up gradation of skills,  etc.

Global challenges faced by the translator entrepreneur

Many of the leading portals have developed a strong foothold in India. It is true that they have given good opportunities to many of the translators to get in touch with domestic as well as International agencies and that this has resulted in an increase in income. However, it is important to note that most of these portals are operated from outside India and they follow their own rules. Many times, Indian translators are cheated and then, to add insult to injury, blamed for bad quality. This kind of situation arises because of a mismatch of expectations, lack of documented guidelines and supports that agencies or clients must offer translators. Outsourcing is a good phenomenon, but service takers as well as service providers need to develop trust and culture sensitive relationships that is so often lacking in these web portals.

Competition from International agencies

It is true that the majority of Indian translators still follow the translation approach of translation – many times translations are handwritten, followed by typing, re-checking – and final delivery; this translation approach has its own importance, but it results in delivery delay and lack of quality control, making the whole affair vulnerable to stiff competition.

On the other hand, International agencies who maintain in-house teams of translators are sophisticated. They make use of trained translators who are well versed with computer applications and CAT tools (Computer Aided Translation Tools). Unless Indian translators also upgrade themselves with this modern translation approach, they will continue to suffer the snobbery of a select privileged few. Also, there are a few MNCs who have already made their presence in the Indian market, and, as a matter of practice, with their organizational strength and economic power, it would be easy for them to develop an economically competitive process that would be a big challenge to Indian translators entrepreneurs who are still struggling for their identity. By the time they realize their weaknesses, it would be too late to start competing with these translation houses. 

Internal challenges faced by the translator entrepreneur

An individual, after having gone through the hurdles involved in evolving as a translator, faces the next stage of problems and  challenges that many times originate from his / her own self:   

1) Translation activities have been treated as a very personal and private affair by individual language professionals. Many times, even best friends do not share information between themselves about their translation projects.

2) Translators suffer from an identity crisis - Let us say, an Indian language professional refers to himself as a translator in a gathering of friends or acquaintances who otherwise have no other association with the translation industry. The response the professional's statement would commonly receive would simply be, "Okay, this is what you do. But what is your profession?" This underlines the very simple fact that the translation industry generally has very little professional recognition in the perception of the masses. This does affect the credibility and the position of a professional translator in the eyes of his social peers. This is what we translators refer to as an Identity Crisis.

3) Ego clashes - identity crisis makes an individual more sensitive to issues that have been making him suffer, any new initiative is regarded with suspicion - once suspicion comes - questions are asked, many times resulting in absurd questions offending egos and ultimately, failure of any collective initiatives for professional development.

 4) If at all logic prevails - the established translators start fearing loosing their business which they have established since years, making personal efforts - but very privately. Under no circumstances do they want to come to a common platform and discuss relations or issues related to their clients. But this thought is not expressed directly (part of identity crisis), rather it is expressed in terms of pin-pointing personal or professional or organizational weaknesses of the individual who has taken the initiative. 

 Successful translators and diversification

In spite of all the odds mentioned above, there are quite a good number of translators in India who face these challenges and overcome all hurdles to finally make a living and contribute to the economic and cultural growth of the country. In addition, there are a few who grow enough to launch small and medium sized translation enterprises which further add value to translation as a profession.

Need for collaborative efforts

With the collaborative efforts of a few like minded professional translators, the Indian Translators Association was established in December 2007. It seeks to unite the widespread translator and interpreter community of India on a common platform to address issues for the betterment of the industry and take steps to ensure that its members provide services meeting the professional standards of the industry. Its integration with the International Federation of Translators (FIT) in July 2008 and its subsequent collaboration with Termnet Austria prove its commitment towards achieving its objectives and goal of developing a vibrant platform for the translator’s community of India. 

Networking as a Possible Solution

To counter external as well as internal challenges a translator needs to take into consideration the phenomenon of globalization that has brought tremendous dynamism into market forces. The world is evolving towards finding innovative ways of achieving customer satisfaction that is based on N =1 (one consumer experience at a time) and R = G (resource from multiple vendors and often from around the globe). [5] To achieve competitiveness and provide unique, personalized experiences to consumers the firm needs to create a system that involves individual customers in co-creating a product / service that provides a unique experience. No firm is big enough in scope and size to satisfy the experiences of one consumer at a time. Therefore, all firms will access resources from a wide variety of other big and small firms – a global ecosystem. The focus is on access to resources, not ownership of resources. Not to go too deeply into the logistics of this innovative thought, it is very important to understand that even the biggest companies do not own all the necessary resources to cater to the needs of their customer, nor do they have complete production in-house as the new dynamics of market demands inter-dependency on internal and external sources.

The above thoughts are very encouraging for an entrepreneur and especially for the translator who depends heavily on external sources and who does not have enough funds to own resources. As explained above, nor do the big business houses have the complete ownership of resources. The idea is to have fast access to these resources. A translator entrepreneur needs to be connected to fellow translators within his own country as well as outside the country to have access to information and knowledge and develop teams for the execution of a project through available resources and provide services and achieve customer satisfaction. For developing connectivity and networking, there are already various online systems in place that allow free access to their platform and offer options to develop connectivity and develop social or professional networks that further helps individual members to build on relationships, share knowledge and help in the overall growth of a complete social or cultural system thus allowing the creator of the system to benefit from the presence of a large number of human networks connected to its server. Amongst many other networks, I find Google, LinkedIn, Face Book, Hotmail, Groupsite and Twitter to be examples of the N=1 and R=G phenomenon.   

Even for translators, there are well known networks that work wonders, and a translator must tune himself / herself to changing dynamics and bring competitiveness through using these networks (for example, Termium Canada, Terment Austria or even Termtruk and various other initiatives). In the Indian context, although there has not been a very visible network of translators, empowered by big business houses, however many personal initiatives are in place (for example, and it is expected that in times to come when better understating of the market comes, translators would start networking in an organized way and such private initiatives would become part of a collective initiative covering a considerable number of translators.

All that remains to be said in conclusion is that, while Indian translators as entrepreneurs are slowly evolving, in spite of many obstacles, they are yet to explore their fullest potential by adopting a common platform. On the one hand, this, and the other hurdles and set backs can be attributed, to a large extent, to vestigial colonial mind sets on all sides  (the colonizer and the colonized) which have so far endured past their expiry dates yet continue to exert influence. Perhaps the time has come for change and, given the shared impacts of events, East or West, North or South, salvation for all lies in sharing knowledge, experience and resources. The future of translation as a profession lies in the “networking” of entrepreneurs to economize processes and sustain growth by using all available resources and infrastructure. All that this requires is the investment of goodwill across the globe.

[1] R. Gopalakrishnan, Prosperity Beyond Our Cities by Spreading Enterprise, AD Shroff Memorial Lecture, October 17-18, 2007
[2] Dwijendra Tripathy (ed.), Business Communities of India: A Historical Perspective. 1984
[3] Tarun Khanna, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are reshaping their future and yours, 2007
[4] See Pawan K Verma, Being Indian
[5] This phenomenon can be more understood by going through the writings of management guru C.K Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan in “ The New Age of Innovation: Driving Co-Created Value through Global Networks, Tata Mc Graw Hill, 2008 
This Article is written by Ravi Kumar, Founder of Modlingua Learning, India's No.1 Certified Translation Service Providers
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Itamar Even-Zohar, born 1939, is an Israeli culture researcher and professor at Tel Aviv University. Even-Zohar is a pioneer of polysystem theory and the theory of cultural repertoires.
After broadening of approaches towards translation from static ones to skopos theory, and then register and discourse analysis, relating language to its socio-cultural function in 1960’s, a new model called “poly-system theory was developed in 1970’s. The theorists saw translated literature as a system operating in the larger social, literary and historical systems of the target culture. This was an important move, as till that point, translated literature was always considered as a derivative and second rate form.

Structuralist Approach

Since the early 1970s Even-Zohar has been working on developing theoretical tools and research methodology for dealing with the complexity and interdependency of socio-cultural ‘systems,’ which he views as heterogeneous, versatile and dynamic networks. In 1972, he proposed a multi-layered structural theory of text, but soon became one of the first critics of “Static Structuralism”.

Note: Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure is known to have worked on Structural Linguistics. His book “Course in General Linguistics”, published posthumously in 1916, stressed examining language as a static system of interconnected units. He is thus known as a father of modern linguistics for bringing about the shift from diachronic (historical) to synchronic (non-historical) analysis, as well as for introducing several basic dimensions of semiotic analysis that are still important today, such as syntagmatic and paradigmatic analysis (or 'associations' as Saussure was still calling them).
Even-Zohar (1978) noticed structuralist agenda as a rigid and ‘sterile’ interpretation of Saussure’s notions of structure and ‘linguistic system’.

Poly-system theory
In 1978, Itmar Even Zohar constructed a research program that dealt with literary systems rather than text. It allowed researchers to break away from the normative notion of “literature” and “culture” as limited sets of highbrow products and explore a multi-layered interplay between “center” and “periphery”, and “canonized” and “non-canonized.”

Zohar emphasized that translated literature operates as a system:

1. In the way the TL selects work for translation.
2. In the way translation norms, behavior and policies are influenced by other co-systems

Shuttleworth and Cowie (1997:176) follows: The polysystem is conceived as a heterogeneous, hierarchized conglomerate (or system) of systems which interact to bring about an ongoing dynamic process of evaluation within the poly-system as a whole.
Dynamic process of evaluation is vital to the polysystem. Broadly there are two types of systems: 1) Innovatory System 2) Conservative system. Both the systems are in constant state of flux and competition. Because of this flux the position of translated literature is not fixed either. It may occupy a primary or a secondary position in the polysystem.

Primary (Innovatory)
It participates actively in shaping the center of the polysystem. It is likely to be innovatory and linked to major events of literary history as they are taking place. Often, leading writers produce the most important translations and translations are a leading factor in the formation of the new models of for the target culture, introducing new poetics, techniques and so on. Zohar gives three major cases where translated literature occupies the primary position.

1. When a young literature is being established and looks initially to older ones for ready –made models.
2. When a literature is peripheral or weak, and imports those literary types which it is lacking. This can happen when a smaller nation is dominated by the culture of a larger one, or this can happen within a nation where various levels of literary canons exist. Eg. Within Spain, Galicia imports many translations from the dominant Spanish form Castillian, on the other hand, Spain itself imports canonized and non-canonized literature from English speaking world.
3. When there is a critical turning point in the literary history at which the established models are no longer considered sufficient, or when there is a vacuum in the literature of the country. Where no type holds sway, it is easier for foreign models to assume primacy.

Secondary (Conservative)
It represents a peripheral system within the polysystem. It has no major influence over the central system and even becomes a conservative element, preserving conventional forms and conforming to the literary norms of the target system. Secondary position is normal one for translated literature, however, translated literature itself is stratified.

Translation Strategy
Position occupied by translated literature in the polysystem conditions the translation strategy.
If it is primary, translators do not tend to follow target literature models and are more prepared to break conventions, they thus produce a TT that is close match in terms of adequacy, reproducing the textual relations of the ST. This itself may, then lead to new SL models.
If it is secondary, translators tend to use existing target –culture models for the TT and produce more non–adequate translations.
Genztler sums up, polysystem theory as per the following

1. Literature itself is studied alongside the social, historical, and cultural forces.
2. Even-Zohar moves away from the isolated study of individual texts towards the study of translation within the cultural and literary systems in which it functions.
3. The non-prescriptive definition of equivalence and adequacy allows for variation according to cultural and historical situation of the text.The last point helped theorist to escape from the constant use of concept of equivalence in 1960’s and 1970’s.

Critique by Gentzler
1. Overgeneralization to universal laws of translation based on relatively little evidence
2. Over reliance on formalist model of 1920’s, Zohar later evolved it, thus contradictory to its own theory, and might be inappropriate for translated texts in the 1970s.
3. the tendency to focus on the abstract model rather than the real-life constraints placed on texts and translators.
4. How far the supposed scientific model is objective ?
This Article is written by Ravi Kumar, Founder of Modlingua Learning, India's No.1 Certified Translation Service Providers
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An overall assessment of the book "The never cold call again Online Playbook" Written by Writer: Frank J.Rumbauskas Jr. 

1. Purpose of the book

“The never cold call again online playbook” is an informative book that shows how to create a targeted, web-based sales and marketing strategy that fits small as well as well large enterprises. It systematically deals with all important aspects of creating a platform, its branding and marketing that involves increase of online presence through e-mail campaign, building buzz online, social media marketing and search engine optimization, traffic generation, website planning in order to turn traffic into sales and generation of back-end profits etc.

1.1 Author’s goal

The author in a very simple language explains the facts and strategies that he applies to his own online business. He shares his experience and how his business turned out to be one of the well known success stories of present time. Through this book, he aims to impart knowledge related to online marketing strategies involving creation of an online business platform, its branding and marketing. Before entering into details of the strategies that he has developed over a period of time through his own involvement in an internet based business, he warns the reader not to expect overnight results by simply creating a website. He further explains that good profit and results can be achieved only through a well-planned strategy and consistent online efforts through branding, building buzz online, generating highly targeted high value traffic, turning traffic into sales and getting backend profits.

1.2 Target readers

The book deals with a variety of subject matters related to online marketing, branding, media coverage, buzz building through blogging, podcasting, vodcasting, tweeting, use of social network, traffic generation, e-mail marketing, use of craiglists and other internet classified sites, youtube, affiliate programs and joint ventures, creation of viral effects and website planning and development with a view to increase profit and sales and make use of online identity to generate offline income. Therefore, it serves as a reference book for students, academicians, practitioners, business managers, entrepreneurs as well as knowledge seekers with interest in the internet and online marketing.

1.3 Content

Although the book is not specifically designed to be used as a text book, it contains considerable amount of usable information. The book has been written in a narrative and story-telling form and its simple language makes it more readable and easy to understand. The use of “you” to explain the facts and figures not only makes the language more informal, but also helps the reader to quickly understand the given explanations and relate them with his or her own realities. The reader is easily able to understand that only creating a website is not enough, it is rather the first step towards the intended goal of achieving larger sales and profit. After creation of a well-planned website, it becomes mandatory on the part of the owner to design and develop online marketing strategies, build trustworthy online followers, build a durable brand over a period of time through continuous online marketing while using mass mails, traffic generation, back linking, effective use of various social media channels like Google, Facebook, Youtube, Itunes etc.

1.4 Organization
The content of the book is divided into six sections/areas, namely:
1. Online marketing today
2. Building a brand online
3. Building buzz online
4. Generating highly targeted, high-value traffic
5. Turning traffic into sales
6. Unlock hidden back-end profits.

Each section is further divided into respective chapters that systematically explain the situation, define problem areas, and suggest solutions through examples followed by case studies of success and failures that the author has encountered while trying to build his online enterprise.

This strategy of dealing with practical issues by citing real examples renders the book useful.

2. Strong Points

The book is written in an easy language. It is systematic and covers all topics defined in the proposed course namely:

a) Online marketing
b) Bulk e-mailing and spam filters
c) Social media marketing
d) Search engine optimization (SEO)

In addition, the book also covers the strategies to turn traffic into sales and maximize profits. Further, the author also explains how to monetize through affiliate promotion while building online brand. In addition, it is of great interest to know that the online identity can generate offline income. The author has explained these aspects in detail thus, providing valuable additional information and knowledge to the reader.

A person with very limited knowledge related to information technology can easily understand the basic fundamentals of online marketing as the description has been presented in a graded manner. The author initially defines simple issues followed by more complex issues which helps the reader fully understand the importance of creating a solid platform, durable branding followed by online marketing to finally increase sales and profits.

All major areas related to internet based activities have been explained through examples of real issues, encountered by the author, on his way to creating a successful online venture. For example, while trying to explain the importance of online marketing, the author explains how cold calling is dead, and it annoys people and is frequently illegal.

3. Weak points
The informal writing style and the manner of presentation clearly demonstrate that the book is not specifically designed as a teaching manual. Although the book has been divided into six broad sections followed by specific chapters within respective sections, they neither clearly define the specific learning objectives, nor the general learning objectives.

The book does not give an opportunity to solve problems, as it does not have any exercises where the student can learn through problem-based learning activities. The book provides only surface learning experience to students and as a result, it fails to motivate students who are yet to enter the professional world. It demands a teacher’s intervention to provide additional inputs and make use of teaching strategies in order to motivate students for achieving intended learning outcomes through cognitive activities.

Also, it is important to mention that the book does not provide any supplemental materials in the form of task based activities. This absence may become a hindrance in developing self-directed learning skills of students.

The book does not cover the mass mailer called “sendblaster”, an integral part of the proposed course.

Moreover, many times, the author ends up self-praising his success without giving any concrete proof and data.

4. Overall assessment

4.1 Quality

Although the book is quite informative, its simplicity of language and detailed description of internet marketing and social media in a systematic and progressive manner has given considerable commercial success to the book and world fame to the author, it cannot be used as a standalone course manual.

The author’s main focus is to give factual as well as conceptual knowledge. The book fails to provide procedural as well as meta-cognitive knowledge. Therefore, the absence of these may act as a hindrance in developing the self-directed learning skills of students. It becomes mandatory for the teacher to provide supplemental materials for cognitive activities and deep learning process. The absence of problem-based learning exercises, further poses a challenge to the teacher as well as the students in developing self-directed learning skills.

4.2 Usefulness

In the absence of course materials specifically designed for translators on the given course module, “Information Technology Integration: Online Marketing and Social Media”, the identified book, “The Never Cold Call Again Online Playbook”, serves as a ready reference for teachers as well as students. The book is concise and informative that broadly covers all aspects of the course content. However, at the same time, it certainly also demands a careful approach to achieve a general objective, a specific objective and an intended outcome learning defined in the course module.

5. Conclusion

This book can further help in developing a customized course manual for professional development of translators by specifying cases related to translation profession. The development of problem-based learning course manual is very important to develop self-directed learning skills, especially when translators are ready to enter into the professional world.

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This research deals with a critical study of the reseach Outline for a Sociology of translation: Current issues and future prospects” by Heilbron, Johan and Sapiro, Gisele.2007, published in Constructing a Sociology of Translation. Michela Wolf and Alexandra Fulkari (eds). Amsterdam: John Benjaminis Publishing Company. pp 93-107


The cultural turn shifts focus to “the text embedded within its network of both source and target cultural signs” (Bassnett and Leferevere),  and broadens the perspective and opens the doors to research on translation process revealing the power relations underlying any translation activity and therefore pointing to the fact that translation can never be neutral.

The methodologies developed through cultural turn do not provide sufficient scope to broaden research on role of translators and various agencies involved in translation process as an agent.

Translation emerged to be viewed as “socially regulated activity” (Hermans 1997). Therefore, experts turned to sociology to describe the social implications of translation in its various forms and profile.

Influenced by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu approach to power within the context of comprehensive theory of society, Heilbron and Sapiro reject the idea of interpretive approach to the text and the purely economic analysis of transnational exchanges. 

  1. Interpretive approach consists of two opposite tendencies
  2. Objectivist: arises from classic hermeneutics
    1. focus on literary and philosophical studies of translation
    2. more to do with understanding of text and involves comparison of translation with the source text, source language or source culture and examine the creative deviation from the original
  3. Subjectivist or relativist: has its affinity with framework of culture studies  
    1. Focus on various modes of appropriating texts, on the instability of their meaning and the mutual permeability of cultures
    2. Considers translation in the context where they are produced and actually function, in other words in the target culture   

2. Economic Approach

The economic approach, more powerful socially but much less widespread within studies on translation, performs a reduction that is somewhat the contrary.

  1. assimilates translated books into the most general category of goods, identifying them as merchandise produced, distributed and consumed according to the logic of national and international markets.
  2. To considering  translated books as commodities like any other commodities occults the specificity of cultural goods as well as the modalities specific to their production and marketing.

The market of symbolic goods is a specific type of economy that functions according to its own criteria of valuation (Bourdieu 1977, 1993). Thus both favor a proper sociological analysis that embraces the whole set of social relations within which translations are produced and circulated.

  1. Development of sociological analysis

The methodologies developed through cultural turn or economic approach to translation do not provide sufficient scope to broaden research on role of translators and various agencies,  involved in translation process as an agent.

Translation emerged to be viewed as “socially regulated activity” (Hermans 1997) that involves following:

  1. Questions about the stakes and functions of translations
  2. Their agencies and agents
  3. The space in which they are situated
  4. Constraints: both political and economic that circumscribe them

Therefore, experts turned to sociology to describe the social implications of translation in its various forms and profiles.

Focus : Translational circulation of cultural goods

Through sociological approach to translation, both the writers tend to analyze conditions of transnational circulation of goods as per the following

  1. Structure of the field of international cultural exchange
  2. Types of constraints – political and economic – that influence these exchanges
  3. Agents of intermediation and process of importing and receiving these by the recipient country

International Field

Based on the program proposed by Pierre Bourdieu (2002) on social conditions of international circulation of cultural goods, both the writers place transnational transfer of translation within space of nation states and language groups, and propose to analyze translation as embedded within the power relations of national sates and their languages.

Power relations are of three types

  1. Political
  2. Economic
  3. Cultural: a) power relations between linguistic communities as assessed by number of primary and secondary speakers b) symbolic capital accumulated by different countries within the relevant field of cultural production.


In these power relations, the means of political, economic and cultural struggles are unequally distributed. Cultural exchanges are therefore unequal exchanges that express relations of domination.   These relations are structured and highly hierarchical, so is the global system of translations.

Worldwide % distribution of translation   

Hyper- Central

Central Semi – peripheral Peripheral

Source language English: 50%

Source language

German: 10%

French: 12%

Source language

8 languages including

Spanish 3%

Italian 1%

Rest other languages

Less than 1%

(Sources not mentioned, acknowledges the comments made by Pym on deficiencies it contains)


Chinese, Arabic and Japanese languages are one of the widely spoken languages but do not represent central position, hence number of speakers do not play role in determining hierarchy of central language and peripheral language

  1. Flow of translations are highly uneven and flowing more from center towards periphery
  2. Communication among peripheral languages very often passes through an intermediary of a center language (mainly English, German or French)
  3. Proportionally, central languages have more genres of books translated from them to other languages
  4. Unequal share of translations in different countries also attests to these power relations that are proportional to degree of centrality and their relative significance.

Worldwide % of translated book in comparison to national production of books

England and USA : Less than 4%

Germany and France: 14% to 18%

Italy and Spain: 24%

Netherlands and Sweden: 25%

Portugal: 35%

Greece: 45%

(1990: source not mentioned)


  1. The dominant countries export their cultural products widely and translate little into their languages, dominated countries export little and import a lot of translated foreign books
  2. The more the cultural production of a country is central, the more it serves as a reference in other countries, but less material is translated into this language
  3. Therefore, Translation Studies in small countries like Netherlands, Belgium and Israel  has gained more importance and status than those countries which represent system’s center
  4. Since translation studies emerged in small countries with high translation ratios, it is possible that the cultural significance of translation has been somewhat overestimated.
  5. A country’s loss of power or prestige can result in diminuend effect. Eg. Translations from Russian decreased and underwent abrupt change after its disintegration, followed by sharp rise in number of foreign translations published in Russia.

Principles of differentiation in the dynamics of exchange

International cultural exchanges are differentiated according to three main factors:

  1. Political relations between countries and political orientation of the government - also involves type of government, liberal, communist, fascist etc.
    1. Economic relations (especially the international book market) and economic factors –
      1. also involves liberalization of the book market, as in the United States, cultural goods appear primarily as commercial products that must obey the law of profitability.
      2. calls for study of purely economic logic through more refined technique than standard models of cultural economics, as non- market forces, notably state institutions are also involved in construction of supply and demand of cultural goods.
      3. In relation to political and economic factors the degree of protection of market and degree to which culture fulfills an ideological purpose, one finds a series of possible configurations, specially with liberalization and GATT agreement of 1986 and its Uruguay Round of negotiations, TRIPS adopted in 1994 within the framework of WTO etc.
  2. Cultural exchanges between countries: within which literary exchanges may enjoy relative autonomy.
  3. From the standpoint of literary exchanges, transnational relations are above all relations of domination based on the unequal distribution of linguistic and literary capital (Casanova 1999).
  4. The dominated languages are those endowed with little literary capital and low international recognition. The dominant languages, due to their specific prestige, their antiquity, and the number of texts that are written in these languages and that are universally regarded as important, possess much literary capital.
  5. translation of a canonic work of classic literature may serve to accumulate symbolic capital, whereas the translation of a text of a dominated literature into a dominant language like English or French constitutes a veritable consecration for the author (Casanova 2002).
  6. Large scale circulation: profit vs. small scale circulation for ideology, prestige and diversity, and state intervention to curb effect of economic constraints in a free trade economy.

Agents of Intermediation and dynamics of reception

International cultural exchanges are organized by the means of institutions and individuals agents, each arising from different political, economic and cultural dynamics in a given space and time, as per the following stages:

Stage I: with formation of nation- states, the following agents played role

-          Embassies, cultural institutes, translation institutes, journals promoted by specific government agencies to promote national literature etc.

Stage II: Industrialization of book market

-          Emergence of specialized agents in trade of translated books: independent publishing houses with foreign rights departments, literary agents, international book fairs etc.

-          Development of market of cultural goods and liberalization of cultural exchange in their latter period marginalized the role of government agencies.

-          Government agencies including foreign policy representatives of the government responsible for promotion of national literature work in close cooperation with specialized agents to participate in the commercial exchanges, and they also work like literary agents, and a set of specific agents like authors, translators, critic, academics and scholars who benefit from such engagements.

-          Appearance of a group of importers and exports have added new range of activities, who apart from playing role of intermediation, also help literary production into central languages

Stage III – Professional development

With professionalization of specialized agents and emergence of professional association, the global system of translation saw new breed of social agents in the system with some peculiar characteristics.

-          World of literary translators is bifurcated into academics and professional translators characterized by strong individualism and division in terms of gender, ideology, political and social affiliations

-          They are also characterized by elitist individualism and logic of completion in order to gain symbolic capital and hence supremacy in their area of activities  

Structure of space of reception.

  1. This space is also more or less governed by either market or political factors, and depends on the functioning of its institutions: controls over print publication, specialized book series, the editorial policy of each publishing company, the space of journals and periodicals, the modes of consecration (literary prizes and awards), etc.
  2. Also depends in part by the representations of the culture of origin and by the status (majority or minority) of the language itself.
  3. Recipients reinterpret translated texts as a function of the stakes prevailing in the field of reception.
  4. In a more general way, translation has multiple functions:
    1. an instrument of mediation and exchange, it may also fulfil political or economic functions, and constitute a mode of legitimation, in which authors as much as mediators may be the beneficiaries.
    2. The value of translation does not depend only on the position of languages, but also on the positions of both translated authors and their translators, and each of them in both the national literary field and the global literary space (Casanova 2002).
    3. The translation into central languages constitutes a consecration that modifies the position of an author in his field of origin. Inversely, it is a mode of accumulation of literary capital for groups
    4. Translation is also means of accumulating symbolic power for publishers lacking economic and cultural capital
    5. Literary translation may play a role in the creation of collective identities including national, regional or social, religious or genre identities.


Thus we notice translation as a socially regulated activity that has following three dimensions

  1. Nation states and various agents get engaged in the cross- national transfer that involves existence of field of international relations of exchange forming global system of translation
  2. These exchanges involve power relations, and nation states and various agents involved compete with each other to gain supremacy through political, social or cultural dynamics
  3. The dynamics of translation depend on the structure of space of reception and the way relevant intermediaries shape social demand.


  1. How we apply social theory of Bourdieu in the field of Professional translation that deals with technical and scientific text ?
  2. Where do we place influence of IT, social media and crowd outsourcing (the role of non-human actants) in translation in wake of resources becoming global,?
  3. With reference to practice and role of various agents involved in circulation of cultural goods, where do we see improvised performance, or doxic experience (not fully conscious)  as proposed by Bourdieu? On the contrary, in international arena, especially GATT and TRIPS, or international relations, all actions are conscious and fully negotiated and deliberated?
  4. How do we explain habitus of the agents in global system of translations ?
  5. How far the research applies to Indian context, where there is multitude of layers of culture, languages, religions, beliefs and a quasi-federal structure of political system. 



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