Drizzling in Tongues: On Translating Myself by Kiran Bhat

Drizzling in Tongues: On Translating Myself

By Kiran Bhat

In this piece, multilingual poet Kiran Bhat reflects on the act of self-translation, and how the act and ambitions of a translation project can shift based on language, emotion, and sound.

To be lost in language, or languages. I don’t want to say I was born with this problem. Language is not a space, language is a trap. We are born into one, we are formed into one, and we never choose which one it is. My blessing was that I was raised in an environment in which I thought, felt, and conditioned myself in the world’s lingua franca, English. For my family who remained in India, particularly the older generation, the language was Kannada. In order to connect deeper with my grandparents or uncles and aunties, I would have to speak in Kannada. And then, when I studied abroad in Spain, and learned that there were people who did not speak English, who had chortled and gossiped and slandered in a completely different tongue, I learned I had to speak in Spanish, too.

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