M. A. Macauliffe and the angst of the translator

Thumbnail Image
Singh, Nikky-Guninder Kaur
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Had I known earlier the difficulties I should have to encounter, I should certainly never have undertaken a translation of this description', wrote Macauliffe (1898, 365). Even though he had carefully studied the text, familiarized himself with its source language(s), and was fluent in the target language, translating the Guru Granth into English proved to be an arduous task for the Irishman. His angst is indeed intriguing. Heidegger said, 'Tell me what you think of translation, and I will tell you who you are', so the concern voiced by our translator offers clues into his personal sensibilities and intellectual legacy. Using Amrtya Sen's 'exoticist', 'magisterial', and 'curatorial' typology (2005), we discover here a western approach antithetical to orientalism. My paper explores the synergy between Macauliffe's existential response and his non-orientalist translation of the Japji, the opening hymn of the Guru Granth.
Macauliffe , Sikh , Guru Granth , Japji , Translation , Orientalism , Exoticist , Magisterial , Curatorial
SINGH, N.-G. K. 2017. M. A. Macauliffe and the angst of the translator. Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 4(1), 33-57.
Link to publisher’s version
(c)2017, The Author(s).