South Asia is as rich in biodiversity as it is in linguistic diversity. However, as a colonial legacy publications on natural history and conservation issues are mostly in English. It is essential to engage with the grass-roots public and relevant stakeholders (such as legislators, media persons, forest department) on conservation issues in local languages. This would help them to better understand the subject. This will also help the naturalists, conservationists and wildlife biologists to create awareness among wider sections of the public. There is a close link between language and conservation movement. Hence, it is essential to encourage students to communicate conservation science through vernacular languages.
In this 2.5 hrs workshop we will introduce students through an interactive lecture on importance of using local languages, challenges in writing and translating into local languages, aspects to consider while translating ecological concepts, importance of documenting and redeeming traditional nomenclature and coining new scientific terminologies. In the discussion session we will invite experts who write in local languages on natural history to share their experiences. This will enable students to understand the current status of nature writing in different Indian languages. This workshop will also be useful for the individuals well versed in writing in local languages. Students and researchers interested in communicating conservation issues in vernacular will benefit from this workshop.
P. Jeganathan is a wildlife biologist with Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore. He writes in Tamil and English on natural history and various conservation issues.
S. Theodore Baskaran is a nature writer in English and Tamil . He is the author of The Dance of the Sarus (OUP) and he edited a collection of articles on nature The Sprint of The Blackbuck (Penguin). He translated The way of the Tiger by K. Ullas Karanth into Tamil as Kaanurai Vengai (Kalachuvadu).
He is a trustee of WWF-India.