I always hear: “Translation of this book is ok but you should read the original version to get much of it”. Translation arouses the curiosity to learn other languages. If you read the books of, let’s say, an Indian author. After reading a couple of books and after hearing some remarks about the original versions, you may want to learn the original language itself. If you like Indian authors, you would probably want to get to know Indian culture and you would most possible plan a trip to India. Without knowing Indian, you just cannot comprehend a certain culture 100%. Language defines the way people think and therefore, kind of defines the culture. Once one of my philosophy professor said: “Every language is a radical view of life”. That’s so true. You are kind of restricted to the area that is defined by your language. To cross the borders, you have to learn other languages and translation helps a lot to promote other languages. As in my example, if you like the books of a certain culture, you want to learn the language. I learn French because I like old French songs a lot. At first, I was trying to find the translations of the lyrics, then I learned French (not advanced though) and I went to Paris as well. Language learning process is like a chain most of the times 🙂
All these thoughts derived from the following article 🙂 They may not be very relevant but after reading it, all the ideas just came into my mind. What I’m trying to say, shortly, translation makes people curious about a culture and therefore about a language. Here is the article by Robert McCrum:
“At the beginning of the 21st century, the world remains a patchwork of more than 5,000 separate and competing languages. But for those who still dream of the restoration of a universal language, the outlook has rarely been brighter: 2011 has been an extraordinary year for the art of translation. Could the tower of Babel actually be rebuilt?
Many language scholars now accept philosopher Noam Chomsky’s ground-breaking perception that, notwithstanding mutually unintelligible vocabularies, “Earthlings speak a single language” – an observation Chomsky claimed would be evident to a visiting Martian. For a variety of reasons, we are perhaps closer than ever to making it intelligible…Read more”
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