Translation as Fission: repairing towards eco – holism

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Rindon Kundu


Richard Feynman’s statement, "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" (1959) compelled us to look beyond conventional laws to comprehend the nature and motion of nanoparticles, which do not obey orthodox physical laws such as Newton's. Following his statement, I argue, that we must descend and search for unconventionality that will challenge the compartmentalization of the world around geographies of inequality. In the Global North, conceptual comprehension of translation was impeded by the dominant cognition of obliteration of difference through translation. That would be an existential dilemma if translation can be seen as a ‘recovery’ (Mukherjee 2004). In order to destabilize the very primacy of the ‘original’, I will incorporate the Assamese term for translational act ‘bhāgani’, literally means ‘to breakdown’, ‘to disrupt’, and hints a splitting or fission of the mūl (original). A more nuanced understanding of the word recommends moving away from the Global North's hegemonic idea of translation. Incorporating a north – eastern Indian term will further politicize the issue of inclusion and exclusion.

We know that exciton – fracturing larger atoms releases huge quantities of renewable, carbon – free energy. Similarly, bhāgani, I argue, alludes to re – assemblage the original text into a new text that survives in the new realm, where the translator works as an external actor and the process releases energy, rewiring the translator's creative brain towards environmental patch – up, reminding Benjamin’s idea of translation as a patchy work (1955). In the process of fission, the original text's structure is broken up into bits, which are then reassembled into a new text bearing the imprint of new environs. Using etymological understanding of bhāgani, can we then design a new paradigm, dubbed 'translation as fission,' to achieve restitution through molecular bond breaking and forming? Can we heal environmental calamities and sustain world peace and ecological holism by using ‘eco – translatology' (Hu 2020) and a phrase from the Global South?

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Translation and Reparation