Tracing the Local: The Translator-Travellee in French Accounts of India

  • Sanjukta Banerjee


This paper seeks to trace the presence of the “translator-travellee” in the construction and dissemination of French travel writing on India from the eighteenth century. Drawing on the concept of “language as a local practice” (Pennycook 2010), it examines the travellers’ descriptions of India’s linguistic landscape to underscore the interactional history of representation that the conventions of European travel writing have tended to elide, particularly in the context of the subcontinent. The local in this paper is approached as a process inextricably linked with the social and the historical, and its exploration is aimed at rendering visible the role of the Indian translator/interpreter in embedding vernacular knowledge in international discursive networks at a crucial period in the subcontinent’s encounter with the West.