Appreciation Programme in English-Khasi Translation

Some frequently faced problems in communicating knowledge in classrooms etc

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5.6 Some frequently faced problems in communicating knowledge in classrooms etc.
The following are some of the problems that often occur while communicating knowledge in a classrooms situation:

  • Explaining difficult concepts

  • Explaining meanings of unfamiliar words and expressions

  • Clearing up difficult grammatical issues

  • Teaching pronunciation

  • Explaining reading strategies

  • Giving instructions for tasks

Sometimes there are certain words which commonly pose difficulties for literary translators as well which are caused not only by the differences between the Source Language (SL) and the Target Language (TL), but also due to the differences between the Source Culture and the Target Culture. These words relate to:

Ecology- flora, fauna, geographical features. The translator usually omits the reference, provided it does not affect either the beauty or the coherence of the text.
Material culture- clothes, food, housing, transport, communication, transport etc. Here the cultural items like food and clothes cannot be wholly omitted as they contribute in creating the atmosphere which may be peculiar to the culture that is described in the Source Language Text. Hence transliterating (i.e. using the closest corresponding equivalent word due to absence of literal translation) such words in the Target language script is the best option that a translator can make.
Social culture- work and leisure, organizations, customs, ideas etc. It is the translator’s privilege to use his discretion to create the right response to the Source Language Text.
Descriptions of non-verbal communication like facial expressions, gestures etc. These also create serious difficulties when the source language culture and the target language are widely different. The expression “he beat his breast” means to congratulate oneself in the Chokwe language of Central Africa, though it suggests repentance in English. A literal meaning in this case would often convey the very opposite of what is implied. Since different cultures express themselves in different ways, in order to express the same thing to the people of a different culture, we may have to put it in a different way.

Proper nouns- names and nicknames. It is essential for the translator to understand the significance of the naming system before he decides to use any one particular name. A name in the source language may have a meaning which is mostly lost in the Target language. If the meaning is to be preserved, then the name itself will have to be changed in the translation, which may result in clumsiness of expression so the name is just transliterated and results in the loss of the name’s implications.

There can also be three types of untranslatability:

  • Linguistic untranslatability: The two factors responsible for this problem are Polysemy- when a word has more than one meaning, and the other is oligosemy- when the meaning is restricted

  • Cultural untranslatability: This may cause serious problems for the translator as the meaning of words in terms of their referents and their function in the cultural context become rather untranslatable. Three situations have been presented;

  • When a term in the Source Language does not have a corresponding referent in the Target Language which performs the same function. For example, in some languages there are no words for snow, for such phenomenon is outside the range of experience of their speakers. Hence it may be difficult to translate ‘as white as snow.’ However the closest natural equivalent to the phrase which has a corresponding function ‘as white as milk’ is used instead.

  • When the referent in the Source Language is present in the Target Language but has a different function to perform. For example, the Greek word ‘heart’ means ‘abdomen’ in Conob, and ‘liver’ in the Kabba-Lakka language of French Equatorial Africa. It is the duty of the translator to find the substitute term for the intended meaning.

  • When a term in the Source Language does not have a corresponding referent or any other referent with parallel function in the Target Language. In such circumstances either foreign words are borrowed or descriptive phrases are employed. For example, when speaking about amethyst in a language which does not have a name for it, the translator can say “a valuable stone called amethyst”.

  • Aesthetic untranslatability: This is an area not usually mentioned in translation criticism. This may be because beauty lacks a common parameter to measure aesthetic effects as the aesthetic appreciation of the same work will differ from person to person.

Although meaning is context bounded, context is boundless. The translator has an important task to do to portray and represent the ‘other’ culture, its society, traditions, context and situations furthermore s/he has to professionally move s/he readers into that ‘other’ world. As Peter Newmark (1981) says “A successful translation is probably more dependent on the translator’s empathy with the writer’s thought than on affinity with language and culture”.

5.7 Summary
In today’s world translation has turned into an industry. It has, no doubt, been a vehicle for change in many countries of the world. In Meghalaya, the desire of the British to communicate with the locals has been the tiny spark which led to the establishment of educational institutions. For a long time the syllabi in the schools contained translated versions of writings from the West. Nevertheless people like Soso Tham, U Babu Jeebon Roy took advantage of their education and were able to produce gems of thought and even become the conscience of the Khasi Pnar people. However the value of translation has come to light and it is hoped that it will unlock the hidden treasures of the indigenous people and bridge the gap that still exist between the East and the West, at the same time preserve and enrich their language and culture.

5.8 Self Assessment Questions:
5.8.1 Match the following-

Dr. John Roberts Father of Khasi Literature

Ri Khasi Press 1896

U Babu Jeebon Roy Father of Modern Khasi

Ki Phawer u Aesop 1920

Aesop’s Fables 620BC

5.8.2 True and False questions:

  • The Bible was wholly translated in 1891- True

  • Soso Tham’s, Ki Phawer u Aesop has been reprinted nineteen times- True

  • Translated texts gradually lead to the establishments of elementary schools- True

  • Hugh Robert’s Anglo-Khasi Dictionary was published in 1870-True

  • The first complete alphabet and correct spellings of the Khasis was introduced by U Babu Jeebon Roy and Radhon Singh Berry in 1899-True

5.8.3 Fill in the blanks questions:

  1. In 1900________________ became the first tribal language in North Eastern India to be recognized for High schools.

  2. It took Soso Tham ________ years to translate his first poem which was a nursery rhyme in 1922.

  3. __________________ is the new buzz word for translation.

  4. ____________________ classrooms are not ideal for any kind of translation.

  5. Translation is by its nature a highly ____________________ activity.

5.9 Terminal questions

  • Transcreation is the new buzz word for translation. Elaborate.

  • Do you think that translation is an intrinsic part of communication? Explain.

  • How far has translation contributed to the growth of educational institutions in Meghalaya?

  • How can translation exercises become an exciting venture among learners?

  • Show some of the problems that a translator encounters from time to time.

  • How can translation skill help enhance teaching learning outcomes?

  • What are frequently faced problems in communicating knowledge in classrooms?

  • What are the three types of untranslatability? Explain with examples

  • What are some of the words that pose difficulties to literary translators?

5.10 Sample Answer to terminal questions. Give your answer the other questions similarly.
1. Transcreation is the new buzz word for translation. Elaborate

In translation, the original writer is still at the centre. Sometimes word by word translation may not resonate well with the intended readers. This is when transcreation comes into play. Transcreation basically means recreating a text for the target group, in other words, “translating” and “recreating” the text. The idea is taking the same concept in one language and completely recreating it in another language. Transcreation is usually applied to marketing and advertising and not to legal or technical translation where the stress is on accuracy. A transcreator must have excellent knowledge of both the source language and the target language; he must possess thorough knowledge of the cultural background; and understand the ‘message’ that it is aiming to convey. The purpose of transcreation is not just conveying the meaning but to produce the same ‘reaction’ in the source language, in the target language.

When Soso Tham transcreated Aesop’s Fables, as an artist, he was able to transcend the styles, images, emotions, and cultural background on the one hand, and retain the original concept on the other. Ki Phawer U Aesop therefore connects emotionally with the regional target group. He has been able to achieve what translation in itself will not be able to achieve. The maxims that are found in the Khasi version of Aesop’s Fables are at present of proverbial nature and are widely used that sometimes the transcreator rightly seems to take the place of the writer. As was said of Dryden’s translation of Homer: “It is beautiful, but there is no Homer in it” applies to Ki Phawer u Aesop: “It is beautiful, but there is no Aesop in it, just U Soso Tham”. No wonder transcreation is the new buzz word for translation.
5.11 References and further readings

  • Sreedevi K. Nair- Aspects of Translation

  • J. N. Choudhury- The Khasi Canvas: A note on Khasi & its development as a literary language- I. M. Simon

  • Bijoya Sawian- A Translation of Ka Jingsneng Tymmen (The Teachings of Elders)

Internet sources:

  • Dr. Ankur Deka- U Soso Tham- The Torchbearer of Khasi Poetry,

  • Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih- The Birth Pangs of a Poet,

  • Anukriti.Net Central Institute of Indian languages, Mysore- About Translation,

  • Michael Cronin- Translation and Globalisation,

  • Dr. B. Hariharan- A review on Cronin’s Translation and Globalisation,

  • Carmen Wang- Transcreation the Translation Industry Buzzword,

  • Percy Balemans- Transcreation: translating & recreating,

  • Radmila Popovic- The place of translation in language teaching,

  • Paper presentations during the National Conference on “Language & Translation Industry of India: Opportunities & Challenges” April 17-18, 2009 New Delhi by:

Mr. L. N. Bajal, Founder True Translations Private Limited

Mr. Samrat Yadav, CEO, Total Internet Solutions

Mr. Hemanger Dutta, Research Scholar, Linguistics, JNU,

  • British Council, BBC Teaching English- Translation activities in the language classroom, TE Editor on 25 March 2009, 13:38,

  • Abdulmoneim Mahmoud, Translation and Foreign Language Reading Comprehension: A Neglected Didactic Procedure,

  • Language Information Service (LIS) - India. Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore,

Unit 6: Translation and Tourism in Meghalaya
6.0 Objectives

6.1 Introduction: Tourism and Translation

6.2 Tourism and Translation in Meghalaya

6.3 Vocational Aspects of Translation in Tourism

6.4 Some Frequently Asked Questions by Tourists

6.5 Activity

6.6 Summary

6.7 Answers to SAQs

6.0 Objectives
After reading this unit, you will be able to:

  1. List the major dimensions of tourism in Meghalaya;

  2. Identify the role of translation in the tourism sector of Meghalaya; and

  3. Do practice of translating tourism information from English to Khasi

6.1 Introduction: tourism and translation
As global travel becomes increasingly popular, the importance of providing translation services in the tourism industry becomes significant. Translation services are incredibly important in the tourism industry for a number of reasons. Primarily, these services ensure that visitors to foreign countries are able to communicate effectively with others and they are able to understand the materials and information that are presented to them. Translation services are utilized in a wide variety of contexts, including the translation of written materials on transport vehicles such as planes, buses, trains, and subways, as well as vocally through spoken tour guides or audio-visual tapes and films. By including translation services into the tourism industry, travelers are able to go just about anywhere without having to worry about miscommunication or misunderstanding. This opens up a new opportunity for both travelers and for tourist destinations, since more people will be able to travel without having to necessarily learn the language of another culture. There are many benefits to providing translation services in the tourism industry. As mentioned above, it helps to facilitate easy travel for visitors from all over the globe. By making the travel experience simpler and comfortable for visitors through translation services there will be rewards in terms of increase revenue from foreign visitors. This may also allow for more people to take business trips to these locations, which will have great economic benefits for the entire area.
6.2 Tourism and translation in Meghalaya
Tourism industry in Meghalaya has seen a sharp rise and is growing rapidly. This also involves vivid tours to different cities, towns and places of interest in Meghalaya. As tourism is a service industry, success of a business in this industry depends on the customer satisfaction. Therefore it is important for the people involved in this industry to speak in the language of their customers. Hence tourism translation is unique from many other specialty fields of translation because it does not require an in-depth knowledge of complex technical terms unintelligible to the average person.
Translation plays an effective role in promoting tourism. Tourism translation allows travel agencies, tour operators, hotels and other businesses to reach out to potential customers around the world. It also promotes and enhances customer satisfaction by assisting them to learn few local basic communicative sentences or words which would tremendously boost marketing sales, communication, especially in the rural and remote areas, which in turn will also become very educative and generate a sense of pride and joy not only to the tourists but to the local people as well. This may also go a long way in improving and promoting culture tourism. Therefore, tourism translators and tourism translation are in high demand.
The importance of translation in the tourism industry can be summarized as follows.

  • The Translation services help the tourists visiting a foreign country in understanding the local people and their culture.

  • They also help the tourists to communicate effectively in the local language.

  • It helps to facilitate easy travel for visitors from all over the globe.

  • This is also beneficial for the companies because, when they offer translation services at popular tourist sites, they will have increasing number of yearly tourists.

  • By providing multilingual copies of informational booklets, guided tours, menus, travel brochures and more, businesses are able to reach a greater number of potential clients.

  • Language translation also helps in promoting the tourist place, a country, a region, a city or a nature reserve.

  • Translation also helps in the increasing the sales or the companies/departments operating in the tourism industry.

  • Translation helps in creating interest in tourists to go to a particular place and to deal with a particular business.

6.3 Vocational aspects of translation in tourism
Translation in the tourism industry offers a wide range of vocational opportunity. The major areas are tour/tourists guides, travel agencies/tour operators, hospitality sector like hotels, resorts, etc and the transport sector. Let us look into one of these sectors in detail.
Tour/tourists guides

The Art of Guiding is a skill; it is the skill of selecting information and varying it for different audiences. It is also the skill of presenting it in a simple and precise way and of allowing the visitor to see and to understand what he wishes and wants to learn. This requires training and preparation for acquisition of the needed skills; hence, the importance of Translation courses and the Guide training courses.

A tour guide/tourist guide is a person who guides the tourists and offers them all relevant information about the place they are visiting which may include places of interests, religious and historical sites, museums, and venues of other significant interest. A tour guide must be capable of interpreting the cultural and natural heritage of an area and possess a specific qualification usually issued and/or recognized by the appropriate authority.
Therefore, Tour guides must have thorough knowledge about the cities, regions and/or countries where they work. It is the responsibility of the tour guide to help travelers understand the culture of the region and the way of life of its inhabitants. This may include translating the local languages (source language) into a desired language (target language) and vice versa. Tour guides are expected to promote the cultural and natural heritage and at the same time impress on the visitors the significance of the place they are visiting. Considerable importance is placed on the tour guide’s knowledge of folk tales, history and culture. He/she is expected to furnish the right information to tourists and not disappoint them.
We had listed some of the important vocational areas in the tourism sector. These sectors are operational in Meghalaya too. Below are listed some of the translation activities related to travel and tourism:

  1. Guidebooks and visitor guides

  2. Travel and tourism websites

  3. Brochures and flyers

  4. Museum and exhibition guides

  5. Newspaper/magazine articles

  6. Advertising and marketing materials

  7. Newsletters

  8. Contacts & Correspondence

  9. Online databases

Self Assessment Question 1

List four different types of tourism literature which can be translated for tourism promotion. Give three reasons why they need to be translated.

  • Note: Your answer should be of one hundred words. Use the space given below for writing your answer.

  • You may check your answer with the possible answer given at the end of the unit.



6.4 Frequently-asked-questions of the tourists
Some of the frequently asked questions of the Tourists in Meghalaya relate to transport and communication, accommodation, places of interests, history, geography, and culture. Most ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘how’ questions, are as follows:


Hello (greetings):



Thank you:



How are you? / How do you do?

Kumno phi long?


What is your name?

Kaei ka kyrteng jong phi?


What is this?

Kaei kane?


What do you want?

Phi kwah aiu?


Please come in:

Sngewbha rung


Please sit down:

Sngewbha shong


I am sorry:

Wat sngew eiei


Please wait for a while

Sngewbha ap shiphang


Can I help you?

Phi donkam jingiarap ei ei?



Leit suk


Let us go

Ia ngin ia leit noh



Where can I find a good hotel to stay?

Hangno nga lah ban ioh jaka sah/ing basa kaba bha ba ngan sah?


Will you go to the hotel?

Phin leit biang sha jaka sah/ ing basa/hotel?


This is a small Hotel

Kane kadei ka jaka sah/ingbasa/ hotel ka ba rit


The Hotel is big

Kane kadei ka jaka sah/ingbasa/ hotel ka ba heh



Wan sngewbha


This is a beautiful place

Kane ka long ka jaka ka ba itynnad


Thank you for your help

Khublei shibun iaka jingiarap jong phi


I want to stay in this place

Nga kwah ban sah ha kane ka jaka


I want to stay in/occupy Luxurious rooms

Nga kwah ban sah ha ki kamra ba bha tam.


I want to stay in a hotel which is near to a market place/shopping area

Nga kwah ban sah ha ka iinbasa/jakasah/hotel kaba don hajan jong ka iew/jaka leit siew leit tda


I do not want to lodge in this hotel

Ngam kwah ban sah ha kane ka iingbasa/hotel


I want to shift to another hotel

Nga kwah ban kynriah noh ia ka iingbasa/jaka sah/hotel


I have a comfortable stay here

Nga sngewtynnad bha ban sah hangne/ha kane ka jaka


I will visit again next time

Ngan sa wan biang sa shisien ha kawei pat ka por.

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