Friday, August 24, 2007

The next project

In Manuel L. Quezon III's blog, the comment section to an entry had him write this as a response to another comment on the state of literature in the Philippines:
I have have also been perplexed over the lack of interest in
translating, say, Orwell, into Filipino, and why Rolando Tinio seemed
the only one ambitious enough to attempt to translate Shakespeare.
To which I said this:
Let’s do it then. Anybody who has the time, pick a text to translate,
post it in a blog somewhere for students to access for free, and for
other people to critique and correct. We can start with essays in
English and go on from there. We can make technology work for us.
MLQ3 thought it's better to do this via a wiki instead of blogs, and yes a wiki would be a perfect tool for this. And while--I assume--MLQ3 is setting this wiki up and gathering support in his circle for this project-in-embryo, I thought I'd work on translating something in the meantime. Since Dean Jorge Bocobo of Philippine Commentary mentioned C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters in the same comment thread, I thought I'd start with that and work on it one screwtape letter at a time and post the translation here in installments.* The translation wouldnt be perfect of course, and Im sure it will go through numerous editions and revisions from the pool of talent MLQ3 manages to gather if the wiki sees the light of day. In the original concept in my head at the time I wrote the comment, I thought we should have students in mind as target audience for the translations, maybe high school students.

There will be those who will think it would be better to make the students learn English instead so theyll be able to read the works in their original languages, and Im all for that. But I believe it would be an incentive to learn English to those more 'literary' of our students to read the works in their original language if they get exposed to these works in a more accessible language first, like reading the Bible or Umberto Eco in English makes me want to read them in their original languages, but with the added advantage that they won't have to enroll in special courses in Hebrew, Greek, or Italian since English lessons come with the curriculum. I'll try to stick to the tone of the original while keeping an eye on the sensibilities of a 21st century audience of high school students. I expect that won't be easy but it would be a good exercise.

And so, as I put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, I'll probably have a draft ready by next week.

*The Screwtape Letters © 1942 C.S. Lewis Pte, Ltd, copyright restored 1996 C.S. Lewis Pte, Ltd. I'll worry about copyright laws later. If anybody from the Lewis estate is reading this, I dont have a cold farthing to my name. And besides, if my theory is correct, it'll make students want to read the original.

1 comment:

grifter said...

go, jego, go, jego, go!