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Don Bosco the Translator

It might come as a shock to the reader to see a title such as “Don Bosco the Translator”. He was just about everything else, the reader might say, everything from farmhand to founder, from manual labourer to miracle worker – but a translator?? So clearly, the first thing we need to establish is just who or what the “translator” is.

Ask the common person what a translator is and they may say something along the following lines: the translator is someone who takes a source text in one language and converts it to a target text in another language, and since “text” can be more than writing (in its broadest understanding it may also be spoken, include other information channels like music, images…), then the translator might indeed be a Jack (or Jill) of all trades! Ah! “of all trades”, including the farmhand and the founder, the manual labourer and the miracle worker no doubt!

But let’s take a closer look at this. In his article (later published as a book) Translation as a Profession, Roger Chriss sums it up well: “Translators are language professionals. They are applied linguists, competent writers, diplomats, and educated amateurs.” (Chriss 2006). Of course, he makes a clear distinction, too, between the “translator” who deals with written text and the “interpreter” who deals with spoken text, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.

While not a linguist in today’s professional sense, Don Bosco had to be capable of discerning subtleties and nuances in the languages he used (especially Piedmontese and Italian, but not only), and was indeed very capable in this matter. He used language very cleverly and effectively, always subservient to the overriding principle of the salvation of souls, especially if they were young and poor. He also had to research terminology and colloquialisms, and handle new developments in his languages, particularly at a time when a unified Italy came into being (1860s) and, curiously enough, when both its king and prime minister did not speak Italian but Piedmontese and French









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Salesian College, Sonada was accredited by NAAC on 16 September 2004 and was given the Grade C++ (Institutional Score between 65-70%). On 26 February 2010 Salesian College has been conferred the status of a College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) by UGC, New Delhi, and into its 2nd Cycle from 1st April 2014. In March 2012, the College was re-accredited by NAAC with ‘A’ Grade (CGPA of 3.16 out of 4) to be the first College to receive such grade under the University of North Bengal.

The College retained its A Grade under the New stringent Format of Accreditation in May 2019 and it is valid till 2024.

Salesian Publications, Salesian Research Institute, and Salesian Translation Centre offer opportunities for capacity building for aspiring teaching and research personnel of the region. Salesian College Extension Activities Centre has trained and placed over 600 youth of the region in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development and Don Bosco Tech, New Delhi. Salesian College invites young people and their parents to partner in nurturing an ideal society.


Salesian Journal of ‘Humanities and Social Sciences'

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