Translation Unbound: Philippine Views on Southeast Asia

Corazon D Villareal PhD University of the Philippines Diliman

Abstract This is a study of translation production in the Philippines related to Southeast Asia in the past four decades. Generally, these works are “exo-translations” (panlabas na pagsasalin) or translations of Southeast Asian works into Filipino, English and other languages. The other type refers to “endotranslations” (panloob na pagsasalin or paghuhubad). These are sited in historical research and involve the translation of terms and concepts in Philippine languages relating to Southeast Asia, thus uncovering some forgotten links. The corpus for analyses for this paper consists of two examples of exo-translations. These are Thelma Kintanar’s Daigdig nga Tao which is a direct translation into Filipino of Pramoedya’s Bumi Manusia; and Lualhati Bautista’s “For My Songsong,” an intergenre, interlinguistic translation into English of Chart Kobjitti’s Pham Phi Phaksa. Reflections on post-colonial translation have generally focused on the binaries of colonizer and colonized, but not on the horizontal crossings within the regional divide. A double-visioned poetics of translation allows us to see the multiplicities involved in relating with our Southeast Asian neighbors, and points to truly liberative directions for post-colonial theory. Keywords Post-colonial translation, Philippines, Indonesia, Southeast Asia,

they developed into Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms as a result of traveling religious scholars-cum-traders. Even so. What does translation reveal about the things that connect and divide us? How do translation processes retrieve and create bonds among us? How do we re-construct. the whole Malay archipelago. the lingua franca in this trade nexus was Malay. in search of a pre-colonial “Filipino” civilization in the late 19th century thought if themselves as Malay (Salazar xvii. political and cultural life in the area and inter-regional connections effaced.xix. our ways of seeing and relating with one another in the region? Translation shall be taken here in its inter-linguistic sense as the translation of a text from Bahasa Malay into Filipino. 2 . But the trade routes were later largely controlled by Muslim Arabic traders so these areas were converted to Islam by 1300 A. but the Spaniards bases was the presence of Malay words in Pampango.(Salazar 84). our colonial history (Spanish: 1560’s-1898. Salazar (p. 1 When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century.D. this was not true. as colonialism cut it up cartographically: the Malay peninsula into a separate unit. for instance. and Portuguese colonizers. and was effectively dismembered. Dutch. forming an arc from southeast to southwest toward the Malay peninsula. For centuries this was the center of a burgeoning coastal trade and after 100 A. Our cultural connections with the Malay world stem from the geographical proximity of the Sulu Archipelago south of the Philippines. actually a result of these trade contacts. across the Celebes Sea is the Indonesian archipelago. and the Filipino propagandists.” 3 See. Colonialism determined economic. 1991: 279-80. South of Sulu. 92) cites Rizal’s annotated edition of Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas where he describes Filipinos as “naturales Malayos.” the paper also anticipates how translation processes can reveal our differences since all of us have been altered through time. 2 Mojares.Introduction The compelling drive for this paper is to reconnect with Southeast Asia. ADMU Press 2006. (Taylor. 1988). he cites the Spanish tradition of giving a Sumatran origin for the Pamapngos. American. since as Nietzsche would say: “value and perspective change with the individual or the nation looking back into the past. the Philippines separated from the Celebes islands. but also in its broader sense of a cognitive mode concerned with cultural transmissions. cited by Amilbangsa). 2 However. was in the grip of Spanish. p. Pp. In Veneracion’s history of Bulacan.D. 13-14). these studies he did by way of Malay chronicles accessed in Europe. Amilbangsa’s Ukkil. 391. for instance. Yet. as in for example Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in which characters negotiate cultural divides within a monolingual text but where the Ibo language is overheard and traditional contexts felt. and Timor divided into east and west (Lane. in fact. 1899-1946) weakened such ties and obscured this past. they referred to Filipinos as Malayos. in the sphere of literary and cultural relations. British. create. 3 By the early 20th century. In Brains of the Nation. and strengthen bonds. This paper is specifically concerned with how translation processes can stir memory and remembrance and how these can lead us to retrieve. 211-213. 1 “This Malay-speaking nexus of trade and culture contact is the context of the “Laguna copper-plate inscription” in kawi script dated 900 A document clearly Old Malay. cites the philological studies of Trinidad Pardo de Tavera who traces the roots of Tagalog to Sanskrit via Java and Malacca.

Tejaswini Niranjana (Siting Translation) details Orientalist translations of India in British knowledge productions. A main concern.” However. But the focus has been on the binaries of the colonized and the colonizer. has been hailed a truly groundbreaking study where “translation is compellingly revealed to be the agent (or subverter of empire). Bienvenido Lumbera views cultural translation from Marxist perspectives focusing on receptivity and resistance in translating into Tagalog of T.S. significant studies on translation have similarly been located in the nexus of the colonizer and the colonized. Evasco. he likewise observes translation activity across languages especially from the late 19th century to early 20th century a sharing necessary to the development of a national literature. and Villareal(1994. Edward Said’s monumental work addressed the West’s Orientalist translations or representations of the East (largely the Arabic world). literature and culture among them the studies of Ocampo. by the market pull of publishing and uneven power relations among languages and cultures in the Philippines.” National Artist for Literature 2006. especially on how Filipino translators have subverted the colonizer’s ideology. National Artist for Literature 2000. and Quindoza-Santiago. mainly a poet and critic has turned his attention to religious documents from Spanish into Tagalog in the first two centuries of the Spanish colonial era and how the translation was made an instrument for the spiritual and cultural captivity of the colonized. and now she is engaged with a team in India on translating Western feminist literary theory across indigenous languages in India. Resil Mojares notes the unidirectional flow of translation from Spanish to Cebuano in the Spanish era and the colonizer’s preoccupation with “’fixing’ the native and cataloguing his resources. in fact. 1999) and on Asian traditions in translation (Hung. Eliot’s Wasteland in the martial law period of the Marcos dictatorship.Inter-regional connections have not been sufficiently addressed in post-colonial translation studies. Virgilio Almario. In the Philippines. a vision sometimes vitiated. however. But there have been few intraregional translation studies even in collections on post-colonial translation (Bassnett and Trivedi. Rafael’s study (1988) of Tagalog ladinos talking back to the Spanish missionaries in the translation of Spanish religious texts into Tagalog in the Spanish era. 2005). The former set of studies received a boost from a tri-university program funded 3 . Talal Asad (1986) points to asymmetries in cultural translation as seen in the interactions between the languages of “dominated and dominant societies” resulting from the “hierarchies” characterizing the global political economy. 1997) and feminist studies like those of Lucero. of translation studies in the Philippines from the 1980’s to the ‘90’s is how local languages and cultures can be mainstreamed in the development of the national language. Wakabayashi . Research impetus has been particularly strong among Indian scholars from the Indian continent and the diaspora.

This is a translation from Bahasa Indonesia into Filipino of the novel entitled Bumi Manusia by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. The aim is to suggest lines of inquiry that can be pursued in the field of intra-regional translation. among them Zeus Salazar. 6 The Pantayong Pananaw movement has been criticized. Unfortunately. Carol Hau’s “Linguistic Turn…” 4 4 . This is a singular case as it is one of the few works directly translated into Filipino from a Southeast Asian language. Thelma B. 4 The groundwork for the project of reconnecting with Southeast Asia through translation has been prepared largely by our historians. for privileging linguistic analysis at the expense of socio-critical analysis. These he linked to terms and concepts in Malay and other Austronesian languages and by showing their differences from their English translations.by the Toyota Foundation in the 1980’s but funds have run out. and himself a translation studies scholar. Bautista’s translation into Filipino of the novel The Judgement. 5 In the visual and dance arts. however. The body of works from Southeast Asia that Filipinos have translated into Filipino. But in the Philippines (and I surmise in most Southeast Asia) intra-regional translation studies is fertile new ground . Salazar and the This type of translation we can classify as “endo-translations” (panloob na pagsasalin or paghuhubad). but it was only beginning the 1980’s with the coming together of the Ministries of Information of the ASEAN nations thru the COCI that a sustained intra-regional translation program began. Kintanar’s Daigdig ng Tao. who founded the highly influential Pantayong Pananaw movement and Cesar Adib Majul who has explored our Muslim Southeast Asian links. a prodigious translator of Malay literature into English. English. There have been isolated translations in the last century. This is a poem in Filipino based on Ang Paghuhukom. he hoped to re-view our uncritical use of foreign analytic categories. See for instance. mainly a historian on Indonesia. even these programs have been short-lived. Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa has explored the Southeast Asian connections of Southern Philippines. Lualhati Bautista’s “Kay May Sonsong” (“For May Sonsong”). For this paper I have selected two works from these initiatives. the Philippines’ National Artist for Literature for 2006. and other Philippine languages is slim compared to the Western works translated into our languages from the two colonial eras till today. that of Max Lane. Except for the works of a few such as those of the Australian scholars Harry Aveling. 1. One other institutional initiative was translation program the the Toyota Foundation supported in cooperation with the Solidarity Publishing House owned by Francisco Sionil-Jose. 2. but also the translator into English of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s The Buru Quartet of which Bumi Manusia is a part. 5 Historiography by Salazar privileged Filipino concepts through a detailed linguistic and ethnographic analyses. 6 The other type of translations is what we can classify as “exo-translations” (panlabas na pagsasalin) or translations of Southeast Asian works into Filipino. English and other languages.

and of particular interest to us. Like most translations into Filipino. this is relay translation but “Kay May Sonsong” also involves inter-genre translation. Interestingly. In 1898 when the novel opens. and Pramoedya has actually brought to life in Minke. Pramoedya’s decision to write in Bahasa Indonesia. the end of the Dutch colonial rule appeared impending with the nationalist awakening which developed at sometimes vertiginous pace in the first decades of the 20th century. Minke was actually inspired by Raden Mas Tirto Adhisuryo. “all this was based upon no more than the beautiful documents written by expert scribes and clerks with their indelible black ink that soaked halfway through the thickness of the paper. the only weapon against this persecution via script is media. as well as different religions. was the development of Bahasa Indonesia from a highly diverse archipelago consisting of over three hundred ethnic groups and more than two hundred fifty distinct languages (apart from the dominant Dutch) and hierarchies within languages themselves. To quote Minke. On one level Bumi utilizes what Jacobson terms as intralingual translation which is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs in the same language” and on another. and potentially. Thailand’s National Artist for Literature (Year?). like mobilizations through the formation of political movements. the narrator.” (Lane 327). the principal channel for communication in the 5 . among the people of the highly diverse country. is the technology of mechanical reproduction in which photographs of scientific advancement all over the world could reach Betawi and Surabaya. translation as a cognitive mode of processing events. At the close of the novel. what he marvels at unceasingly. Bumi and Daigdig Bumi Manusia is an ideal site for exploring the various meanings of translation within post-colonial contexts. Indonesia. This was manifested politically thru some landmark developments. Mellema’s legitimate son initiates legal proceedings to divest Nyai Ontosoroh of all her possessions. not in Dutch. invalidate the marriage of Minke and Annelies under Islamic law. in Javanese or any other Indonesian language was keyed in to nationalist unification efforts in the larger process of “nation formation” in the first 60 years of the 20th century. and to place her daughter Annelies under his guardianship.This is Laurie Maund’s English translation of the novel Kham Phi Phaksa by Chart Kobjitti. All these are registered through the consciousness of Minke. To Minke. This is effected through a foreign power’s documentation system. It is the link of the archipelago to the world outside. then Netherlands East Indies. the narrator. was a society in transition. the first pribumi or native to publish a paper. who is not merely imagined. but culturally. what fascinates the 18 year old narrator. a new historical personality in the process of being forged by history itself [italics by Lane]. “Ang lahat ng ito ay ibinatay lang sa magagandang dokumento na isinulat ng mga ekspertong tagasulat sa itim na tintang hindi mabubura at tumatalab hanggang sa kalahati ng kapal ng papel (Kintanar 292).

subsequently effecting American colonization until 1948. But whereas the Indonesians moved closer to developing Bahasa Indonesia as a national language as early as the twenties to which foreign and local languages would be recycled through translation. and to perform a role in this particular stage of the nationalist struggle. Against the legal discourse with which the colonial power orders his subjectivity and those of the Ontosorohs. Filipino ilustrados articulated their call for reforms in Spanish to the colonial government while the Filipino revolutionists called the Filipinos to arms in Tagalog. however. Men are hired to read Minke’s appeal to the people in the villages. Bumi opens in 1898. In this respect. In Europe Minke’s cause is taken up by an Dutch exResident Commissioner he had befriended. native scribes handcopy two copies each of the legal documents in the possession of Nyai. mainly “seditious plays” across 8 vernacular languages which remained untranslated to elude the monolingual colonizer. To Max Lane: “Translating Pramoedya is not just a matter of language but a matter of engaging with the process that is the liberation of Indonesia. The frustration at having its independence seized by another colonial power found expression in the flowering of Philippine literatures. Daigdig is a realization of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the “Uberleben” or “Fortleben” i.” (From the English translation of Pramoedya’s Arok Dedes). The fictional text. Filipino as a national language became a reality only with the nationalistic ferment in the late sixties in the beginning of the Marcos era.N. As the translator reads of 6 . who publish both Dutch and Malay versions of his appeal in the Malay-Dutch press. the year Filipinos declared Philippine Independence from Spain. the Filipinos’ struggle to develop a national language. both have had to live through totalitarian regimes. and the translation becomes a means to reconnect with each other.e. Minke wields the discourse of translation to construct and assert a different identity. and in subsequent developments.newly-ushered age of mechanical reproduction. The nationalist movement that made possible such a declaration was a site for transmitting common nationalist ideals but these had to be communicated through a linguistic divide. 15 copies are distributed to leading Islamic scholars. The Philippine Republic was short-lived as the troop-carrying American naval fleet streamed through the Manila Bay in 1899. by exemplifying division and change in the colonial era. For both. as a redemptive act that ensures the afterlife [italics supplied] of Bumi in its Filipino translation. signals an imperative—the value and vitality of translation in creating a system of meaning and representation different from that imposed by a colonial power. was disrupted with the American imposition of English. Ang Daigdig ng Tao recalls the Filipinos’ engagement with political processes parallel to those in the emerging Indonesian nation. just a year before Indonesia declared its independence from the Dutch. and in Surabaya by his Dutch friends in S. The Filipino nationalist struggle that resumed with American colonization ran parallel with the Indonesian movement in the first decades of the 20th century. language remained a key instrument in articulating nationalist ideals. But this afterlife is not equivalent to Bumi nor its mere extension.

yet I had already experienced modern learning and science. however. In Chapter 2 of the Lane translation. inevitably come to mind. In Bumi. Kintanar speaks of “serendipitous” similarities like the term sayang which can only roughly be translated into English as “What a waste!” or “What a pity. They had bestowed upon me a blessing whose beauty was beyond description. A comparison of excerpts from the English translation of Lane and the Filipino translation by Kintanar reveals this play beyond time. 1. there is mention of pupuh which is translated as sabungan in Daigdig. this becomes : Sa mura kung edad. [italics supplied].” (We might mention. (Des Tours Babel 179). [Italics supplied here and in the other examples below.” Speaking of her translation. This relationship is facilitated by a linguistic kinship between Filipino and Bahasa Indonesia . nabighani na ako ng siyensiya at karunungan na nagbigay ng isang gayumang ang kagandahan ay di mailalarawan. we mentioned Minke’s sense of marvel at the scientific and technological developments in the West unfolding before his eyes through textual and photographic reproductions. the commencing of a revolutionary time for his country. here of course. just the age of a corn plant. however. and at the personal. To quote Lane: “…the peculiar social and political history of language in Indonesia has meant that some linguistic phenomena have not been reproducible. kasingmura pa lang ng nagbubungang mais. suggest that this play of likeness and otherness in Daigdig extends beyond the material realities of politics language. it is like Bumi but infused with the “otherness” of the Filipino experience.” The similarity arises not only from equivalent or like sounding terms but in similarities between material culture. and culture. It is a relationship not possible with the English translation. His wonderment merges at the social level with a sense of awakening .the Indonesian struggle through Minke. there are other linguistic similarities like the Filipino balibalita for the Indonesian “beriberita.] In the Kintanar translation. memories of specific historical figures and events. and the translation becomes another life. both terms actually refer to a rural setting. Earlier.) Some slippages in the translation . 7 . These terms refer to a place for cockfights.” The Indonesian “kampong” is translated as “baryo” in Daigdig. also the differences in target audience among the three translations as influencing the choices. The Indonesian and the Filipino are conjoined in Ang Daigdig. Minke writes: I was still very young. while Lane uses the generic “villages. a beginning fascination with the beauty of women. but in Lane this is rendered merely as “arena.” In Bumi and Daigdig.

although unconsciously. experienced. Kintanar: Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat at sa bawa’t taong nagpakahirap para magawa ang bagong himala ng ito. Here though. pekasih 2. the Indonesian playwright Bakdi Soemanto notes representations of Javanese mysticism in Arok Dedes. hindi matatalo ng nasa retratong iyan. he marries Ken Dedes. bighani means fascination. Suurhof says: There is a goddess here too in Surabaya—beautiful beyond comparison. goddess—being a secularized set of terms cannot quite contain the folk spirituality evoked by the Filipino words. Retrato lang naman iyan. furthermore. The table below shows no equivalence or even resemblance in lexical forms between Filipino and Indonesian for the terms italicized above. 2010. wonders. 7 Gayuma refers to a mysterious attraction attributed to a love-charm. For instance. Lane: I was truly grateful to all those people who had worked so tirelessly to give birth to these new wonders . blessing 2. a sacred sword. It’s only a picture. groaning note. nanghihimok ang boses niyang magaspang meron ding diwata rito sa Surabaya. In a conversation with his classmate Robert Suurhof catches Minke gaping at Princess Wilhelmina’s photo. In Kintanar. UP Diliman. Filipino 1. goddess But Kintanar draws upon even deeper ties. gayuma 2. another novel by Pramoedya. this becomes: Kalimutan mo na iyan. In a coaxing. diwata Bahasa Indonesia 1. 8 .2. July 1. mu’djizat 4. but often associated with a fairy. bidadari. bighani 3. budyok 3. himala is a mysterious. anyway. dewa English 1. not just a liking. Sometime in between the thirteenth and fourteenth century. the Indonesian and the Filipino experiences intersect. Maganda at walang katulad. it may come from the force of a gayuma. easily equal to this picture. himala 4. experienced 3. The terms blessing. Ken Arok assassinates Tunggul Ametung the ruler of heaven and earth by using the keris. out of the natural occurrence. the 7 Interview at the Center for Women’s Studies. 3. wonders 4. while diwata is a goddess .

roughly translated in English as one’s “double. Johns. I do not see in the case of translating Bumi in Bahasa Indonesia into Daigdig in Filipino. in Pramoedya’s other historical novels.” however. is replete with meanings. This was not a problem in her translation.’” The idea of translation as a playing out of “our entire relation to the Other” is particularly attractive and usable for inter-regional perspectives on translation. as in fact. for instance. one of the eight major languages in the Philippines. according to Kintanar.H. Current scholarship on nationalism assert that “the real origins of the nation lie outside of the national” but in the global (Rafael xvi). and the foreign opening up “the foreign to us [the translator]in its utter foreignness”. it had been generated by the collective memory of his fellow political prisoners. an Australian critic who has written favorable reviews of Pramoedya. supernatural.” the concept of the dungan. and one’s well-being is dependent on the way we relate to this other—but on equal terms. “not mere mediation. is concerned as much with words as what is behind words. Translation. the dungan separates from the body but this can be called back through some rituals. which at least for now.” In the Filipino context. among which is utter estrangement and asymmetrical relationships of power resulting in exclusionary relationships. because “emotional intensity is not alien to us. Translation. is the Javanese concept of power as concentrated force. he discusses this idea in relation to “the trial of the foreign” which has a double meaning: 1) the trial of the foreign referring to a relationship between the self-same.” Coming from Hiligaynon. 9 . The concept is consistent with the lingering orality in Bumi. and physical sources of power. as Berman says is thus. 8 Ileto writes of how Filipino revolutionists against Spain drew blood from exhumed bodies during the Catholics’ Holy Week celebrations. Bumi was created literally by word-of-mouth in Buru Island where Pramoedya was in prison. in fact.” Drawing from Holderlin and Heidegger. thus. I would introduce. scenes of mourning for the departed loved ones are often extended. They would use these for charms like anting-anting which they were convinced.” but “a process in which our entire relation to the Other is played out. Interestingly. A. what the historian Rafael enumerates as the sources of the nation coincide with sources of Minke’s enchantment described in the opening chapters of Bumi : 8 For a further understanding of the Javanese concept of power. The principle behind this belief of Filipino revolutionists. 2) the trial for the foreign because “the foreign work is uprooted from its own ‘language ground. all writing paraphernalia were banned. The concept of the “other. please see Benedict Anderson’s Language and Power. made them invincible. the term refers to the belief that everyone is born with a double. instead of the “other. has remarked on the “hysterical intensity” of Pramoedya’s characters.former ruler’s cakti from whom he would derive spiritual. In the dream or in sickness. and so he narrated the story to his fellow inmates. according to Ileto. emotion is not just intense but longdrawn. in Filipino films. and before it was finally published by Hasta Mitra Publishing House in 1980.

in particular]for “comparative thinking. taking advantage of the closeness in lexis and syntax and the cultural affinities between Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino. the development of new technologies of transportation and communication. but Indonesian informants. as most of us are in the Philippines. Moreover. she reacted against the use of Taglish or FilEnglish 10 . among them Zeus Salazar. media and popular culture. Learning the language day to day. was initially the project of her son Frederick. An esteemed literature professor in the Dept. it had spread and developed swiftly. contradictions exist within each national culture.” according to Rafael. Filipino. These. is there reference to regional connections in Southeast Asia as part of the global. are products of American colonial education. she could be what we can call as an “accidental” translator because she had gone to live in Indonesia when her husband took a UN post in Indonesia in the early 1980’s. of English at the University of the Philippines Diliman. plus the centuries-old separation brought about by colonial histories. immersion has not been possible because they are residents of the Philippines. But nowhere in his book and in Buru itself. and insisted that no such changes should be made. present certain practical problems for the Filipino translator in the process of conjuring the dungan.the growth of capitalist markets and the spread of print capitalism. who was in Indonesia as part of his graduate program on Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell. But these shared cultures are diverse. the vernacularization of the colonial languages [as the development of Bahasa Indonesia]. about the nation that is “proper or native to the nation as such” since its formation is determined by global developments. Kintanar easily picked up Bahasa Indonesia and worked on the translation of Bumi into Filipino. and shared cultures have been altered through time. we can count with our fingers the translators who can work directly from Bahasa Indonesia to Filipino. through the rite of translation. In particular. she completed Daigdig ng Tao. Thus. except for an exposure of a few years in the source cultures. But the case of Kintanar is different. However.” “There is nothing. the dungan or shared cultures forgotten or obscured in the past. Emily Cruz and Thelma Kintanar. however. The translation. especially from the late 1970’s and from the nationalistic momentum from the anti-Marcos. Kintanar continued to translate the novel from the first 40 pages started by her son. These efforts were necessitated by the fact that Kintanar. anti-imperialist movements. who generally see their neighbors through “English” eyes. For instance. the preponderance in the Philippines of relay translation from English But the question of what Filipino to use in Daigdig presents a problem. Filipino had become elusive and hybrid. Bomen Guillermo. the use of the emergent elite [Minke. and when he had to leave because of other commitments. Kintanar was horrified to see alterations in the manuscript she had submitted to the publisher. consulting not just her son. Must the global exclude regional connections? The task then of the translator in a post-colonial context is to summon. influenced by factors such as street and popular language. subsequently published by Solidaridad Publishing House in Manila in 1989. and English haunting the language.

For instance. Subsequently. pangangasera.terms.drawing at that point from various sources: traders’ Malay. hybrid style of Filipino which “fractured in” English. for Ibu which means Mother. On the other hand. For My Sonsong The project of reconnecting becomes more difficult with regard to relay translations since the translation is removed many layers from the original as in Lualhati Bautista’s “For May Sonsong. she writes a poem in Filipino based on Ang Paghuhukom and translates this same poem into English. Moreover. But for this interlinguistic. or retrato. and who had no or vague memory for Fil-Hispanic terms like karuwahe. inter-genre transfer another approach to inter-regional connections can be made. not just in script but in sound. if I were an actress and viva would think of adopting Kobjiti’s novel into film i wouldn’t allow it 11 . Here the text to be analyzed is her English translation. sapagka’t sa paggamit niya ng salita . Kintanar chooses to use Ina because Ina connotes deep respect (as befitting Minke’s attitude towards his mother) which the more familiar. more intimate Inay or even Nanay does not have . adherence to which was her primary concern in translation: Sinikap kong palabasin ang natatanging estilo ni Pramoedya. Thai is hardly accessible to the Filipino. however. sa pagbuo niya ng pangungusap. when terms in Filipino and Tagalog were available. if Filipino is the national language. at sa paglikha niya ng parirala ay makikita ang kanyang pag-iisip at paningin bilang isang manunulat at isang Javanese. her Filipino translation of Chart Kobjitti’s Kham Phi Phaksa. where would terms from regional languages in the Philippines come in? The Bahasa Indonesia in Minke’s time was developing . who had no patience with long Filipino terms like pamamagitan or sapagka’t.” Lualhati Bautista bases Ang Paghuhukom. on The Judgement. who spoke the easy. the editors of the publishing house may have had an eye on the target readers of Daigdig. the awkwardly standardized Malay used by the Dutch. an English translation by Laurie Maund. Bumi was composed in the 1960’s and the national language must have dramatically changed by that time. these may not have hewed in to style of Pramoedya. Unlike Bahasa Indonesia to which Filipino has linguistic similarities. Furthermore. and Chinese Malay. young college students.

lumang diyaryo—ang mga bagay iniipon nito sa kubo. sacks of broken glass and of cans you keep and treasure beneath the wooden bed safe from Fak’s eyes because he picks on these whenever he looks for something to blame for his fate.if I wouldn’t play the role. shifts from Fak’s to the woman persona through whom Bautista articulates her desire to break free from the patriarchal roles that convention has dictated. a state. Tuwing may pagkakataon. is equated with madness. and hoard them in the hut. sa tantya niya’y hindi nito lubos na hawak ang sarili. coconut husks. he got the impression that she wasn’t really there. bulaklak. Mahilig itong mangulekta ng kung anu-ano: bao ng niyog. which sadly. He noticed that she always like to collect things like old coconut shells. So let her be mad but free rather than sane but captive. The point of view. sirang suklay. broken combs. who marks the boundaries of sanity?) What Bautista is unable to do in an intra-genre translation (novel to novel) is realized in an inter-genre translation (novel to poem) through the speaker in the poem who is infused with 12 . patagong itinatapon niya ang mga iyon (Bautista 23). old newspapers. it’s not because I’m an expert madwoman but because that’s the only opportunity for me to freely do everything I cannot do because I am sane like collecting porcelain. Sa nakita ni Fak sa asawang tatay niya. The details in the poem are derived from the novel as the following excerpt from the Maund and Bautista translations would show: From what Fak had seen of his father’s wife. etc. (For really. Fak would discreetly throw them out. flowers. (Maund 27). Every now and then. however.

the translations become the meta-narratives for the woman’s pursuit of freedom. who is gifted with flexibility and sincerity while writers often only invent lies to prettify the role of their Christ they already did this to magdalena. if I were an actress and PETA would think of adopting the novel for the theatre i wouldn’t allow it if I wouldn’t play your role. Interestingly. Such movement is demonstrated in the fourth stanza. takes over as sign-giver from Kobjitti. Moreover. and I would steal justice denied you by Kobjitti.” In this task. Bautista appears to privilege the translator. who gave you life and breath and didn’t know you. a series of “interpretants” in which she. the original Kobjitti work sets off a series of intersemiotic translations. the translator. becomes the multiple roles by and for the woman: “I will save you from the prison box of the unwanted. The translator is made to assume multiple roles as she shuttles from novel to poem to film to theatre and to other media as yet unmentioned. both actual and virtual in Bautista’s imagination. as translator.. and the multiple roles Bautista. 13 . is it because he is a man so that he doesn’t understand that at nights when you cradle in your lap your beloved’s face it could be that sex is not on your mind but a mother’s love for a child? i’ll make you a lead character instead of a burden to the story who causes father and child to fall in hell. assumes.agency. but possible.

Her position is significant. In the case of this translation. the purpose of the translator and the target audience. because it puts the translator as the site for the twin tasks of documentation and recuperation in the women’s struggle. however. in the remembrance of these cultures in the past and the alertness to how these have changed. 14 . however. The task of the translator. In our search for identity and difference. Conclusion The approaches to inter-regional translation will differ according to text types and contexts. but her disarming frankness may be explained by her multi-media background and her grasp of popular culture. kinship between the Filipino and Thai arises from a gender bonding that the translator creates by an aggressive manipulation of subjectivities. and as well. is to retrieve and create shared cultures obscured by the colonial experience.The iconoclasm is rather unexpected since Bautista herself is a writer. we see ourselves and the multiplicities of our dungan in our history and possibility.

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