Collaboratively Translating Katwiran: A Note on Reason Has its Reason, an English translation of Rolando S. Tinio’s May Katwiran ang Katwiran

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This preamble gives an account of how a director and two actors collaborated in translating Rolando S. Tinio’s May Katwiran Ang Katwiran from Filipino to English. Our method was intuitive and inductive, finding the rules of translation as we went along. We first agreed to treat the play as a Lehrstrücke, or a learning play, the aim of which is to demonstrate a dialectical way of reasoning. This kind of thinking, expressed in arguments and debate, shapes the lines and songs of the play. In turn, actors and audiences must listen to the arguments or reasons, assess them, and make a conclusion rather than engage emotionally with the lines. This “objective” intention of the play, coupled with an appreciation of its cultural context, guide the translation. We chose not to follow any translation theory and instead asked three questions: Does the English translation convey the general Filipino meaning? Does it make sense in English? Does it work on stage? A yes answer to all three questions meant that the translation was workable. Some remarks on the reception of the play in an international theater festival in Yogyakarta, Indonesia conclude the essay.