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The National Conference on “Language and Translation Industry of India---Opportunities and Challenges”

(April 16-18, 2009), New Delhi


Organized by: 
Indian Translators Association, Linguaindia Foundation

Event Partner : Allied Modlingua Services Pvt. Ltd.


Supported by:

Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore

International Federation of Translators,Montreal

Click here for Photos

          The National Conference on “Language and Translation Industry of India---Opportunities and Challenges” was held at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade Auditorium with an enthusiastic and august audience deliberating upon different aspects of Translation in general, with an emphasis on the Translation Industry in particular.

          This Conference aimed to bring translators, translation service providers, technology partners, quality control auditors, terminologists, project managers, communication managers, academicians, publishers, content writers and government officials on a common platform and engage them in a discourse and dialogue befitting the best interest of Indian Translation Industry.


          The Conference was preceded by a workshop at Instituto Cervantes, 48, Hanuman Road, New Delhi. The highlight of this workshop was to discuss and deliberate on different means to standardize Terminology according to International Standards, managing Quality Standards in Translation and Professional Ethics in translation profession.

          The Chief Guest of the session was His Excellency Mr. Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos, the Ambassador of Cuba in India and the session was chaired by Prof. Ana Isabel Reguillo, Instituto Cervantes, New Delhi.

          It was an interesting session where Prof. Roger T Bell, University of Westminster, UK; Anja Drame, Deputy Director, International Information Center for Terminology, Austria; Dr. Gabriele Sauberer, Secretary General of Termnet, Austria; Dr. Peter Jones, Quality Lead Auditor & Deputy Director, Austrian Standards Plus Certification, Austria engaged the audience in an interactive session to bring out the importance and significance of having a homogeneity in both technical and terminological standards and the necessity to evolve professional ethics where the Translation Industry is concerned. The workshop ended with a session on CAT tools by Conference convener Mr.Ravi Kumar.


          After the traditional inauguration, the keynote address was delivered by the chief guest, Prof. Ramadhikari Kumar, Rector, JNU. He mentioned that commercial translation along with academic translation should be brought into focus and looked up as a respected way of generating economy. Translators and subject-wise editors are also the need of the day to ensure standard and quality translation.
Prof. Shankar Basu, Dean, School for Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies, JNU, urged upon the urgent need to set up institutes to educate translators. He also mentioned that globalization and liberalization of economy have added new vistas to the economic scenario where translation plays an important role to meet the urgent requirement of foreign translation and interpretation with regards to Korean, Japanese and Chinese languages.
Keeping in mind that the inaugural session was in memory of Shri Rambriksh Benipuri, his son Prof. Mahendra Benipuri narrated the life history of his father and his contributions to the field of Indian Literature. To carry forward the message and emphasize the relevance that Benipuri’s stories still have, Ms. Swati Das, Head, Department of English, DPS, Gurgaon read out her own translation of his short story ‘Raziya’.
The next event was conferring the Rambriksh Benipuri Award, in national and international category, to Prof. R P Bhatnagar, Former Professor and Chairman, Department of English, University of Rajasthan and Prof. Roger T Bell, University of Westminster, UK, respectively for their outstanding contribution to the field of translation.

          Dr. P P Giridhar, Head, NTM, CIIL- Mysore, oriented the audience with his thought provoking submission that everything that is intelligible is translatable. He made the point that expressive power of human language is configured differently in different languages. He then went on to showcase the National Translation Mission website and sensitized the audience about the objective of NTM and in an illuminating analysis he concluded that translation could touch human lives in ways that we do not know. Dr. P P. Giridhar’s presentation was followed by the views of Mr.N.L.Lakhanpal, (IAS) ex-Director General – Foreign Trade who stressed the need for quality translation. Next was a talk by Ms. Marielle Morin, Director of French Information Resource Centre (FIRC) who described the activities of FIRC in promoting translation activities in India especially in the context of the translation of literary books from French to Indian languages and vice-versa.


          The second and final day of the conference saw participants deliberating upon different aspects of Machine Translation, the importance of cross cultural translation, the translation industry with respect to advertising agency and such.

          The day opened with Prof. Bhatnagar’s speech where he stressed on the need of translation as an important tool in SLT (second language teaching). What followed is Prof. V N Shukla’s (Director –Special Applications, SNLP, C-DAC) demonstration on C-DAC’s endeavors to develop Machine Aided Translation System (MATS) and Translation Support Systems (TSS) etc. Dr. Giridhar, in his presentation, contested the prevalent pessimism in Indian Machine Translation scenario that human linguistic behaviour cannot be simulated by machines. He criticized the way programming has taken a center stage where MT is concerned. Taking his observation further, he pointed out that linguists and programmers should work side by side to improve the MT scenario. Dr. Vijay K Malhotra, Computaional Linguistics Expert and Ex-Director, Hindi Bhasha, Indian Railways, Government of India, also opined the same in his presentation.

          The next sessions noted various deliberations on aspects ranging from the purpose of translation and the eternal question, ‘translation for whom’ to the statistics that detailed the relation between the translation industry and the Hindi advertisement industry. Prof. Om Gupta, Dean, JMI Management School, New Delhi,  Dr. S M Mishra, Deputy Director, Indian Council for Historical Research, New Delhi, Ms. Jeeva Ratnam Guruswamy, Senior Lecturer – French, Avinashilingam University for Women, Coimbatore, Dr. H C Pande, Professor and Ex-Dean, JNU, Mr. Sanjay Singh, Lecturer –Media Studies, ARSD College, DU Prof. Vashini Sharma, Central Institute of Hindi, Agra, Mr. L.N. Baijal, Founder, True Translations Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, Dr. Tulika Chandra, Asia – Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi, Mr. Samrat Yadav, CEO, Total Internet Solutions, New Delhi were some of the speakers during the sessions.

          The other highlights of the sessions were the presentations by Mr. Uma Shankar B R, Deputy General Manager, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Limited (REBI), Bangalore and Mr. Ashok Bagri, Managing Partner, TransInfropreneur, Bangalore. Both the delegates helped the audience understand the operational methods of translation industry and explained the need to use the computer assisted translation (CAT) tools like TRADOS. Mr. Bagri especially drove home the factor that though the tool is expensive, it is worth investing in it to achieve international standards.

The conference ended with a thanksgiving note by the Convenor Mr. Ravi Kumar, Founder President of Indian Translators Association. Mr. Kumar extended his special thanks to ITAINDIA Patron, Mr. R. Viswanathan (currently, Ambassador of India to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay). He also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to CIIL-Mysore; TERMNET- Austria; FIT-Montreal; Instituto Cervantes-New Delhi; RBEI-Bangalore; ZeitGeist-New Delhi; Heartsome-Singapore; LinguaIndia Foundation-New Delhi and Transwelt- Bangalore for having extended their active support to the conference.


          By nature, this conference was more commercial in spirit. The noted delegates proposed to follow EN 15038 standard (European Standard of Translation Services) to maintain a global standard where translation is concerned. The conference also helped us understand a new notion of ‘consumer’ v/s ‘reader’.  The entire process was a learning experience as it showcased different ways of defining, comprehending, learning and using translation.

          It acted as a window to view the other side of translation activity. The scenario of the journey of translation from a purely academic initiative to a full fledged commercial enterprise could very well be observed through this two-day conference.

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