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An Afternoon of Translation & Transcreation

September 23, 2023 @ 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm


As part of being the Singapore Book Council‘s first translator in residence, I’ll be joining Zulfadli Rashid for what should be a very rich afternoon of sharing and discussion.

Here is a complete description:

Join us for a translation-filled afternoon as we hear from two creators working in two different genres: Big, a playwright known for his transcreations of plays such as Haresh Sharma’s Hope and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, translator of Tamil and Spanish, whose notable translations include The Kural: Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural and Give, Eat, and Live: Poems of Avvaiyar. Find out how through their translations and transcreations, they allow their choice work to be more accessible to the current-day audience.


In this segment, Zulfadli Rashid will share more about his ‘transcreation’ journey which began in 2015 with Haresh Sharma’s Hope, which he adapted into Malay, entitled Harap. Since then, he has translated and/or adapted (this process later on called ‘transcreation’) Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange into Orang, as well as Tze Chien’s Poop into Berak. Both plays went through the process of transcreation into the Malay universe, and not necessarily for the Malay-speaking audience, but rather for a more contemporary theatre audience, regardless of their background.

Big will shed light on his creative process with Mari Kita Main Wayang by Felix Cheong, where he approached transcreation with added complexity, particularly focusing on language intricacies and modernising the thematic elements from the original script, yet ensuring that the form, the traditional structure and cultural nuances that defined a Perenakan play still remained intact.

Mari Kita Main Wayang will be staged at the Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay from November 17 – 19.


In this segment, Thomas will take us “behind the scenes” of his translations from Tamil and from Spanish and share how each one of them ultimately demanded its own poetics and approach. He’ll explore the challenges involved in rendering in English the compact verse form of the The Kural: Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural, in conveying the imagery and phrasing of Avvaiyar’s poems in Give, Eat, and Live, and in being true to the rhythms and to the silence that make Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo the masterpiece in Spanish that it is.

He’ll also explore the questions of serendipity and synergy that have been key to his journeys between and across worlds.

This programme is presented in collaboration with Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay (Singapore).

Simple refreshments will be provided.


September 23, 2023
2:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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Singapore Book Council
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Esplanade Studio 219
Esplanade Mall, #02-19, 8 Raffles Ave
Singapore, 039802 Singapore
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