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  Life   More Features  19 Apr 2019  Gained in translation

Gained in translation

Published : Apr 20, 2019, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Apr 20, 2019, 12:05 am IST

Jyothi Vijayakumar, who translated Rahul Gandhi’s recent speech while in Kerala, is being praised for doing an outstanding job.

Jyothi Vijayakumar translating Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the venue.
 Jyothi Vijayakumar translating Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the venue.

Remember the epic scene in which Yaswansth Sahai Ji getting baffled when fellow party members failed to catch what he was trying to convey in the cult political satire Sandesham? Malayalis have never shown mercy in trolling political speech translations gone wrong. The list of politicians who have faced the wrath of trollers includes the likes of BJP leader K. Surendran, who translated Narendra Modi’s speech in 2014. Speeches of Brinda Karat and Venkaiah Naidu for their respective party meetings in Kerala failed to catch the grip when their chosen translators ran out of words and sometimes translated wrongly. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Pathanamthitta during an election rally the other day was the latest to have ‘lost in translation’ as it was terribly translated by veteran leader P.J. Kurien.

But, here is one translator who is the darling of social media now. Jyothi Vijayakumar, who translated Rahul’s speech at Pathanapuram, ‘nailed it’ by brilliantly translating his speech into Malayalam, giving no hope to the trollers.

Jyothi Vijayakumar, daughter of Congress leader Adv. D. Vijayakumar from Chengannur, is not new to the trade. She was the translator for both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi during their various visits in 2014, 2016, 2017 and now twice in 2019. “I was not just committing myself to do the translation. I was actually moved by Rahul’s vision and ideology for the greater good of this country. I have been following him on his social media platforms and used to listen to his speeches regularly. They influenced me a lot. I have learnt a lot of things from him. When I started doing the translations, it helped me a lot as I was familiar with his style of speaking and the content. I knew the vision he used to convey during his speeches.”

Jyothi VijayakumarJyothi Vijayakumar

A lawyer and a faculty at a civil service academy in Thiruvananthapuram, Jyothi was into student politics during her college days. But, she says it was recently that she started to understand the party ideologies deeply, and she thanks Rahul Gandhi for that and claims that he has a great hand in transforming the face of the party in a way that attracted many youngsters like her to it. Her words during the translation were too powerful and authoritative that the audience, who were eagerly waiting to know what their beloved leader was talking, could not help cheer. It is clearly evident that the cheers and the applauds were not just for the questions and criticisms that Rahul Gandhi raised against the Central government, but also for the powerful, authoritative, booming rendition of the translation at the gathering.

It was not for the first time that she created headlines for the top-notch political translation. In 2016, when Sonia Gandhi visited Kerala, Jyothi was the one who translated her speech.  When asked about how hard it was to keep up with the rhythm and pace of Rahul during the speech, she goes, “For all those who understand basic English, his talks are very easy to understand. Unlike many, he uses the common man’s style, without much jargons and complex phrases. His primary goal is to convey the message and for that, he always keeps it simple. For a translator, that is very helpful too. But it is very special to stand beside him and convey his idea to the public the way he would like to do. You don’t have too much time to think about anything else. But as I have been listening to his speeches, I could get a grip easily.”

When asked about P.J. Kurien’s translation mishap during Rahul Gandhi’s speech, Jyothi says, “Apart from knowing the right words and having a grip over the language, there is a part where audio logistics can play a role. So, technical issues can affect the translations.”

Although she has not been active in politics lately, she is now part of the social media cell of the Congress party.

Tags: rahul gandhi, jyothi vijayakumar