Concourse: 12/03/13


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Department of Translation Studies
The English and Foreign Languages University
Hyderabad, India-500 007

Call for Papers

3-day National Seminar from 24th – 26th March, 2014


Translating Oral/Folk texts from Indian Languages into English:
A Relook at the (Re)Formations of Orientalism/Nationalism/Community in the Colonial and Postcolonial contexts

Understanding the Orientalist discourse in the Indian context has heavily relied on colonial archive in English and also the Indological work in 18th and 19th century. The role of translation in constituting the Orientalist discourse on India or in the emergence of Indology is also relatively only slightly explored, and the researchers have shown how translations of Sanskrit texts into English played a major role in constituting India (Indology).  There are also quite a number of studies of translations into Indian languages from English which explore how modernity was translated through such acts of translations, and how the colonial texts were morphed into nationalist ones during this period. But there seems to be a whole lot of other texts that were in Indian languages and in oral form were translated into English during the colonial period. Some of these texts which have been retranslated and reissued in print form have become iconic texts in the context of linguistic nationalism in India. Translation of “poems” of Bhakti saints like Sarvajna, Valluvar,  Tukaram, Kabir, Meera etc.; translation of folk stories, songs from different languages including tribal languages in 19th century and early 20th century; translation of classical/written texts of some of the Indian languages like Telugu,  Tamil and Kannada into English and other European languages are yet to be understood in terms of their implications for the twin discourses of Orientalism, Nationalism that emerged in the 19th and  20th century India. Some of these texts/saints whose popularity was limited to a particular caste/community/region become the icon of a language through such translations into English during the 19th century. The seminar examines such oral/folk non-Sanskrit texts translated into English both by the colonizers/missionaries and the native elite, and probes the implications of these translations in certain socio-political discursive formations. It is hoped that this seminar, by bringing scholars who are working on such translations to deliberate on the issues, will produce a sizable body of knowledge in the area which might bring to light the neglected areas of research within the academic field now come to be known as post-colonial studies/ translation studies.

Following are some of the textual translation corpus on which proposal for papers can be submitted:
·         Translation of Bhakti Literature in 19th and early 20th century into English by the missionaries/colonizers
·         Translation of Folk/Oral literature of Tribal and Non-tribal Indian languages in the form of anthologies by the colonizers/missionaries
·         Translation of same set of texts by the native elite  subsequently.
·         Problems of bringing such oral texts, which are dynamic, into static book form and into an alien language and the politics of this process.
·         Role of such canonical non-Sanskrit texts in Understanding/constituting India in 19th and early 20th century

The papers can focus on answering any of the following issues or any other related ones:
§  Who were the translators? Why did they choose these texts for translation?
§  What were the modes of documenting the dynamic oral texts in print form?
§  What were the methods of translation adopted to bring them into an alien language?
§  What functions did such translations perform in Indology?
§  What role did such translations play in constituting Orientalism and Nationalism?
§  What were the consequences of translating/canonizing such texts in the Indian language cultures/societies?
§  If some of these texts/authors (like Thirukkural,  Sarvjna, Tukaram) went on to become the icons of a particular language, can we say that translations played a major role in this?
§  If multiple translations of the text have appeared over a period of time what prompted the subsequent translations?
§  Do the subsequent translations play the role of critiquing the earlier translations? If yes how?

Important Dates:
Submission of Abstracts: 20th January, 2014
Acceptance will be conveyed by 31st January, 2014
Submission of Full Papers by 5th March, 2014
Please send an abstract of 500 words (maximum) in ms word format or any other compatible format to the Coordinators of the Seminar:
Send  your abstracts to

Local Participants:   200
Non-local Participants:  500
Students:  100
Note: The organizers are not in a position to pay TA or DA to any participants due to the paucity of funds. However, local hospitality at Hyderabad would be extended to all participants.

Dr. H. Lakshmi
Associate Professor  & Head
Dr. Tharakeshwar V.B.
Associate professor
Department of Translation Studies
The English and Foreign Languages University
 For  further information  mail us: