Translating Transformation

The very sound of the word ‘T-R-A-N-S-L-A-T-E’ triggers such feeling in me!

“Traaaan” … “Slei” “T” or perhaps “Transle” “It”. My … ! Gives me the goosebumps!

The ‘sle’ sounds like you are slinging something or someone on a giant catapult. Then you let fly. It lands with a soft thud, ‘it’.

What a thing to do! Translate. One language to another. One way of feeling, thinking to another. One heart and mind to another set.


Etalsnart? Anuwaad? Traduction? These and many more meanings apply, actually.

What happens to you when you are translating? Do you feel something? Anything?

My nerves tingle when I translate. More complex the sentences, greater the challenge in translating those. Simpler ones are universally acknowledged as the best way to go, but c’mon, hey, without complex ones the simpler would not be simple at all.

I am on a high when I am translating. Sometimes I translate that sensation I felt that time … I was either hot under the ears or cold-blooded all through – one of the two or everything in between.

It’s like having a rare scotch. Every new word smells like the dust after the very first monsoon shower. Euphoric! The prospect that you have been able to breathe new life into the original is extremely refreshing, isn’t it?

There’s never a dull moment when you are translating. I have done translations where I used a translator’s license to its fullest potential. And I have done translations where there was none; I had to stick as close to original words as possible. And I have done translations that required being faithful to the original yet providing original input where appropriate.

I was so immersed in translation for a long while; I even translated the old, classic songs I would belt out during showers! In a lighter vein, some day, I’ll reproduce those translations here.

Meanwhile, translation has gone and translated me into transformation. The effect you feel is tremendous – and unlike any other. It is an epiphanic moment to have found the precise set of words to describe the authors description. However, what is truly remarkable about that new sentence you have come up with is that you have made a contribution to literary communication if your translation is any good.

For example, as a fresh graduate, I translated four of T.S. Eliot’s critical essays into Marathi. His famous phrase, ‘objective correlative’ was translated as ‘aadhibhautik parasparaanvay‘.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Oh, the joys of translation are akin to creation!
Only, it is much better than creation itself, because the challenge is to use an example to make something even better.

I don’t know to what extent I succeeded or failed. Nor do I care, after my experience of translation. What I do know is that I translated experience into personal joy!

I translated transformation.


About Nikhil Khandekar

I have been a teacher, writer, editor, translator, book lover - now ebook and audiobook lover - and a student every step of the way. I've been there and done that and never ceased to be amazed by either the natural or the man-made worlds. I am the founder of Webwrit - a unique service for sourcing top-notch web content writing, editing, and translation services. My website is My blog is my personal attempt to serve up the very best of content in English that my younger friends, peers, and elders alike might read for the sheer pleasure of reading something straight from a familiar heart.
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