LANGUAGE + LOSS + REPAIR
"It would be inaccurate for me to say that translation is nurturing. Translation from my first language, Telugu, is actually quite painful for me. (I enjoy translating from other languages.) It’s painful because I’m constantly reminded of loss. I was brought to the US when I was five, and mostly stopped speaking my first language. That language is a love of my life—I think of Dante’s evocation of the emotional call of the “language of the cradle”—and it feels very far away from me most days. I do translation from Telugu as a way of reckoning with that loss, so that the loss is not simply a disappearance or void. If the work is nurturing in any way it’s because it’s a way of staying with loss, mourning—which is to say remembering. Translation for me is repair work."
—Madhu Kaza, in conversation with Raj Chakrapani of the Rumpus