Monday, 28 May 2012, 07:59 GMT
The road to recreating the text
By The Kurdish Globe
By Shorsh Ghafuri

Globe's interview with literary critic Abdulmutallib Abdulla

Abdulmutallib Abdulla is born in Erbil in 1962. He pursued his studies in Erbil and finishes the health department at the technical institute in Erbil in 1987. He started to write poems and other articles during the school activities. He spends most of his time reading and participating in the literary and arts gatherings and events in Erbil.

He has a number of published works including poetry books, linguistic studies, translated literary works and articles. His translation works are all from the Arabic language.

Globe: Many think that translation is the foundation of the relations with the foreign culture and arts as well as a way for the construction of a basis for the creation of different directions of Kurdish writing? What do you think about translation?

Abdulla: Translation is caring about the intellectual relations between nations and helps deepening and expansion of individual's thinking, openness and seeing differences. In translation the idea of tolerating the other becomes one of the nice ends.

I would like to say that translation, before everything else is taking and reading. A translator who is also a reader will not stay as a translator who transfers a text from a language to another for the purpose of helping readers who can't read the source language. Translator is rather a very good reader who dissolves in every parts of a text and pulls them into the target text. Here translator is given a complex task, which is transferring text from a culture to another. Hence a real transition should be a special state for the process of meeting and taking.

Globe: Is the Kurdish translation at a level to be confident that it could bring the unique texts into our writing world, or in the opposite one should doubt all the texts that have been brought into Kurdish till now?

Abdulla: In order for translator not to fall into a mere historical logic, he should melt into the meaning and universality of a text for the purpose of translating it, in a way that translation becomes a process of taking and giving, and readers should be able to welcome the universality of the translated text instead of being deprived of meaning of the text. He should enjoy the meeting of the texts. In such translations the translator replaces the author and plays a role in the overall structure of the translated text.

If this is the definition of translation and successful translator, we might not be able to be optimistic about the Kurdish translation. However, we can still mention names of some Kurdish translators who have indeed played a significant role in the processes of translation, choosing texts and communication.

Globe: It has been discussed for many times whether poetry can be translated or not. However, still poetry readers are looking for the answer to the question whether the heartbeats of a poem stop with translation, or in the opposite, it will gain another shock and life?

Abdulla: I would like to reiterate that translation is all about the process of reading and taking. For this to be true, we need to talk about reading and taking as a process that has the ability to create, explore and to make things talks and the reader creates the process of understanding through his awareness about his own existence. So, I would like to say translation is creativity and it depends on the ability, imagination, skills and universality of the translator.

And creativity is multi-dimensional reading, analysis and explanation. It is about reaching the reader and creating different readings for the text. So, if translation is creativity, all the arguments that describe translator as disloyal, untrustworthy, etc. All indicate lack of understanding of translation. So, this issue is in no way related to the source and destination language, whether Kurdish is the source or the destination language.

Globe: Has the Kurdish language reached a stage where we can think of translating Kurdish into other foreign languages, or it is not related to this and it rather depends on the power of the Kurdish text that might not have become apparent till now to express the power of the Kurdish writing among the foreign readers?

Abdulla: Of course, if you want to introduce others to the cultural and intellectual level of your language, you should be at a high level of knowledge, arts and intellect and have the ability to read, take, investigate, analyze and chose, because translation is not only restricted to transferring the meaning of a text from a language to another, but it is rather the deconstruction of a specific text and culture in a different direction of understanding and intellect. Here the question should be whether we have such translators. Whether we have thought of a large national translation institute?

I reiterate that translation is creation and innovation, from where the process of giving birth to a different text starts through understanding the source language's level and universality. In other words, a creative text is one that invites the reader to thinking and different analysis. Hence it is the translation and thinking that understands the movement and the identity of an innovative text. This thinking unveils the different dimensions of innovation and discovers the dimensions of beauty inside it. And it is through the very process of this discovery that the taste of innovation is born. Translation/innovation is reaching this simple taste which does not only try to protect and keep the meanings, but rather reassigns them.

For me, translation is not a process of linking, but rather the accumulation of the strange objects. I would like to say that translator should not hurt the first language in the aim of enshrining his own language, in the same way that one should not hide the harshness and strong tone of the source language in the destination language.