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Friday, 17 March 2017 10:10

Workshop theme and Cfp

Writing the Margins: Negotiating the Politics of Translating Dalit Literature

India, 22-24th November 2017

West Bengal State University, Calcutta

New political and cultural margins have emerged as contested terrain in translation studies and one such margin that has witnessed much activity is the area of Dalit Literature. With Dalits and ‘Dalit issues’ gaining electoral mileage on the Indian subcontinent, the political scenario in India has seen the emergence of a space that is fraught with anxieties, apprehensions and misunderstandings. This has led to an increasing demand for intellectual interactions and exchanges between the erstwhile ‘elite’ centers and the margins that are now making rapid strides towards the political centres. Translation has been a key word here, and speeches, essays, manifestoes have needed translations into the common Indian languages, Hindi or English.

This workshop was partly sponsored by Routledge and IATIS gratefully acknowledges their support of our aim to stimulate interaction among scholars in different geographical regions, particularly in regions where Translation Studies is still developing and gaining recognition. 

Despite these ongoing projects that seek to gain greater visibility and to connect across the nation, Dalit literature from Bengal has remained largely unknown. As a consequence, awareness regarding Bengali Dalit literature has remained minimal unlike its counterparts in other parts of India such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Available only in the Bangla language and its variants, this literature has remained out of the purview of the established publication houses.

This translation workshop with its focus on the translation of Bengal’s Dalit literature hopes to help initiate critical debate on and translation of the little-known Bengali Dalit literature into English. The workshop will therefore bring together translation scholars, Dalit writers and translators, with the aim of discussing the function and processes of translating Dalit literature. The workshop is planned as two complementary parts:

  1. One half of the workshop will comprise presentations by experienced translators and translation-scholars who will initiate discussion on key theoretical and methodological issues concerning the process of reading and translating marginalised literatures: the issue of translating into a more ‘powerful’ target language, inequalities of social power inherent in the relationships of the writer, translator and publisher, the different audience of the translated English text that may introduce extra-textual issues such as conforming to global expectations or addressing pre-determined discourses, and the issue of largely non-Dalit translators of Dalit texts.
  2. The other half will focus on the actual texts for translation. The participant-translators (selected through a combination of invitations and an open call for applicants) will be sent selected pieces to be translated in advance of the workshop. Their draft translations will be submitted in advance and circulated to participants before the workshop so that the challenges of translation posed in these texts can be discussed at the workshop. The translators will be invited to refine their translations after the workshop, finalizing them for publication. It is envisaged that a selection of the presented papers and translated works will be published following the workshop.

Applications are invited from anybody interested in participating as a translator and with a good knowledge of Bangla and English. Please send your CV along with a sample of your Bangla to English translated work and the original Bangla text (this can be any literary genre such as a short story, poem, or excerpt from a longer work), to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your translation sample should be no more than 500 words.

The workshop will be bilingual, that is, both Bangla and English will be official languages of the workshop. Interpreters will be provided to facilitate communication for those who do not know one of the languages.

Invited Writers:

  • Manoranjan Byapari
  • Kalyani Thakur
  • Bimalendu Halder

Invited Translators:

  • Rita Kothari (Gujarati-English)
  • M. Kannan (Tamil-English)
  • Ramaswamy Sangye (Marathi-English)
  • Arunava Sinha (Hindi-English)

Key dates:

Application and submission of CV, sample translation piece: 30 May, 2017 (you will receive a response to acknowledge receipt of application within a week).

Selected translators will be contacted along with a text for translation: 30 June, 2017.

Last date for submission of translations: 30 October, 2017.

Circulation of translations amongst participants: 1 November, 2017.

For further queries regarding the workshop, please contact the workshop organiser, Sipra Mukherjee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The workshop is organized by the Department of English, West Bengal State University, India, with academic support and sponsorship from the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS) and Routledge.

For full details of workshop programme please see workshop webpage.

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