Shyam Ranganathan
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I am a translation theorist and translator. These two aspects of my work grew organically. While I wrote a dissertation on translation, I decided to translate a philosophical text from Sanskrit because I could not stand the translations on the market: they were all interpretations and not explications.  Getting involved in the practical challenges of translation had a marked influence on my philosophical views and translation theory. It further undermined, in my view, a common position in the literature that the object of translation is the linguistic meaning of what is said and that the content of thought is this meaning. This is an implausible view for a variety of reasons, I came to believe as a result of  my interdisciplinary research in philosophy but also fields such as linguistic anthropology, translation studies and area studies such as Indology.  Linguistic meaning is a cultural artefact of past cultural decisions: to call this the content of thought is to unwittingly endorse the politics of a culture as though it is the very content of the thinkable. Rather, I came to appreciate that when we get around to translation successfully, we treat thought as the disciplinary use of such resources. This influenced my understanding of the discipline relativity of translational practice: there is no such thing as translation as such —one always translates works of a specific kind.  This is why translators must specialize in specific disciplines.  I distil my translation theory here.




Translator