Why did I play around with the title of this blog? And why did I end up where I did?
Back in 2010, I was very focused. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the works of a wonderful poet from Gujarat, Narasinh Mehta, a fifteenth century singer of songs that rank high in the tradition of love-centered devotion, પ્રેમલક્ષણા ભક્તિ [prem-lakshana bhakti]. Check out my posts here and in the Category,
Narsinh Mehta Lots more to come! I have not been idle!
Also, long after my career in the world of English Literature as a student, scholar, theoretician, lecturer had disappeared, a long stint in the world of technology and business, left me challenged but unsatisfied.
What was I doing? What did I love doing?
My passion is for words and how they communicate, not just mechanically, as in an assigned 500 word Freshman class essay, but how the communication structure evolves and encompasses both the world we know and the world beyond. Analyzing and explaining that process is exciting. I had loved it in exploring the enormous universe of Literature. I also found it fascinating in the world of technology and its tools for communication. In all my technical jobs, essentially I translated information, not data, from one form to another. From early 1980s User Guides and Systems Administration Manuals, to the 1990s user-centered systems engineering design were all incarnations of the translation, interpretive function.
How can we communicate meaning so that some other brain grasps it? Where is that crucial and joyful moment? How do I capture it?
I found it in the desire to share the talents of artists from my own background to a global community. So I’ve translated Gujarati Ghazals, a creative and innovative genre that is brought alive in sung performances. Gujarati ghazals share the heritage of the Urdu tradition but provide a characteristically unique contribution. [will post some soon]
No one outside the Gujarati-speaking diaspora, can truly enjoy the thoughts, sentiments, and talent in these works. A known musical structure, an ancient tradition of stanza formation, and delivery style give readers and more so, listeners, a pathway to some enjoyment. But the magic of the thoughts and play of ideas often can fall by the wayside.
For a meaning-lover, this is intolerable!
So drawing from my dry academic past, I called myself a “Semiophile,” a lover of the discipline that examines the world of signs. Semiotics (English/American term) and Semiologie (French) essentially look at the organized ways in which communication develops:
- what are its core elements,
- how do they operate,
- what happens in different kinds of communication when things work or when they don’t work?
This discipline is known as the study of sign systems and it actually includes much more beyond verbal communication–all the way from anthropology and biology to zoology. But I will try to stay focused and not talk about “Life, Universe, and Everything.”
But that’s exactly it! It is LIFE, UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING!
Transforming baby cries to something communicable is the way a baby human survives.
Think about it. You’ll find you yourself are a Translator!
Do I need a fancy-schmancy made up name? NO! So drop the ‘semiophile’ moniker!
The Blog’s name, is “Translating”: Something fundamental to my existence. No need for the noun to answer the question: WHAT?
Next time: Making. . . . . .