Seminar for journalists on “The Art of Translation” | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Seminar for journalists on “The Art of Translation”

07 July, 03

This Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) held a seminar for journalists on “The Art of Translation” at its Vicky Zeitlin Media Library Tuesday in Karachi. Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included eminent Poet and writer, Shan ul Haq Haqqee, Kunwar Khalid Younus, member National Assembly, Hasan Abidi President Literary Committee, Karachi Press Club and Abdul Hafeez Noori, Resident Editor, The Nation London.

Shan- ul- Haq Haqqee, Poet, writer, lexicographer and translator, in his key note address said that overwhelming proliferation of English language in Pakistan has taken place at the expense of national language of the country viz Urdu as its growth has come to a virtual standstill in the country which reflects a dismal situation.

He lamented that ironically no coordination exist between different organizations including Muqtidara Urdu Language working for the promotion of Urdu language and this lack of interaction between them may be attributed for its downward slide. He conceded that English is an international language and in today’s era it has become unavoidable for any country to accrue benefit from this language, however at the same time maintaining originality and integrity of Urdu language also is mandatory. Dr. Haqee pointed out that hitherto English language was perceived as a sub-standard and slang language and citing instance in this regard he asserted that during the same period in view of insignificance of the language, Bible, the Holy Book of the Christians was published in German Language.

Shan-ul-Haq Haqqi said that a common vocabulary was emerging across the world as a result of translations and that was a welcome sign.

He said that it was true that Urdu was deficient in scientific vocabulary but was far richer than English, as far as expression was concerned. He said there was no need to establish a development board for the promotion of languages since every new invention brought a new word. He said it was the ordinary people who ultimately decide which word needed to be borrowed from other languages.

He said that translation was the source of knowledge across the world. He said that languages flourished in different regions independently but at times a certain language became dominant due to varied reasons. He said English was an international language but we should focus on our own languages. There was a time when even Englishmen felt that their language was inferior and preferred writing in Latin.

He said there were two types of translations, namely academic and literary while journalism had its own parlance. He said there was a common element in languages, which made the process of translation easier. He said it was not true that Urdu was deficient since prior to the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, court proceedings took place in Urdu or Sindhi, even engineering was taught in Urdu. He said what constitutes Pakistan today was the foothold of Sanskrit but the nation had suffered culturally over the years.

Kunwar Khalid Younus, member National Assembly, concurred remarks of Shan ul Haq Haqqee about vast range of sound in Urdu language compared to English, however he also pointed out that dictionary of Urdu is relatively limited.

He said the inception of both the languages belongs to the same period, however owing to incorporation of more foreign languages into English, it commanded monumental popularity globally. Kunwar Khalid pointing at combined strength of large number of people who speak Hindi and Urdu language world over, said it would be ranked as the third or ostensibly fourth most spoken languages. He asserted that a general perception exist among masses that translation from Urdu to English Language is more difficult compared to translation from Vice versa.

“Recently a foreign magazine has expressed the apprehension that in next 15 to 20 years, with the current state of decline, some major languages would be phased out which also includes Urdu language. Drastic measures are needed to overcome the situation and protect national language from being obliterated” he remarked.

Senior journalist Hasan Abidi President literary committee Karachi Press Club and reviewer of books and literary works of Daily Dawn said that Urdu journalism flourished essentially due to translations. He said languages were threatened due to economic domination. “Languages generally develops and proliferates with its common usage, however in Pakistan Urdu was not accorded due significance which resulted in deterioration of its standard of deterioration. The situation is not that precarious as depicted by some elements and with little efforts its past glory can be restored”.

Abdul Hafeez Noori, resident editor, The Nation, London, said newsrooms played a vital role in translations. He said a good sub-editors not only offered a good translation to the reader, he also developed the language. He said translations should be simple.