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June 13, 2005

Ghosh on Interpreting

“…there’s no one else who knows how to speak to both of them – to her and to him. It’s you who stands between them: whatever they say to each other will go through your ears and your lips. But for you neither of them will know what is in the mind of the other. Their words will be in your hands you can make them mean what you will” (257).

“...the insider’s indispensability; every new peril was proof of his importance; each new threat evidence of his worth. These temptations were all too readily available to every guide and translator – not to succumb was to make yourself dispensible; to give in was to destroy the value of your word, and thus your work” (321).

a nightmare about a language examination. “In the small hours he sat up suddenly, in a sweat of anxiety: he could not remember the language he was dreaming in, but the word pariksha, ‘examination’, was ringing in his head and he was trying to explain why he had translated the word in the archaic sense of ‘trial by ordeal’” (316).

the spell of the interpreter…”vanished, creating the illusion that she was speaking directly to” (308)

“…the vistas he had been looking at lay deep within the interior of other languages. Those horizons had filled him with the desire to learn of the ways in which other realities were conjugated. And he remembered too the obstacles, the frustration, the sense that he would never be able to bend his mouth around those words, produce those sounds, put sentences together in the required way, a way that seemed to call for a recasting of the usual order of things. It was pure desire that had quickened his mind…” (269).

“…the mudbanks of the tide country are shaped not only by rivers of silt, but also by rivers of language: Bengali, English, Arabic, Hindi, Arakanese and who knows what else? Flowing into one another they create a proliferation of small worlds that hang suspended in the flow. And so it dawned on me: the tide country’s faith is something like of its great mohonas, a meeting not just of many rivers, but a roundabout people can use to pass in many directions – from country to country and even between faiths and religions” (247).

“’I’m an interpreter and translator by profession…businessman…started a company some years ago when I discovered a shortage of language professionals…Now I provide translators for all kinds of organizations…in short, anyone who can pay’” (198).

p. 258 and 335. An example - Moyna’s words, interpreted by Kanii.

The Hungry Tide, by Amitav Ghosh

326 – the target of rage

Posted by Steph at June 13, 2005 9:41 AM

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