Created under Republic Act.7356,the National Commission for Culture and the Arts(NCCA), through its Committee on Language and Translation (CLT) – under the Subcommision on Cultural Dissemination – is tasked to “encourage and monitor a comprehensive program of translation which shall make works by Filipinos and selected foreign classics equally accessible to Filipino and selected foreign classics equally accessible to Filipino as well as international readers.”(Sec.12 c) 4).

       In l993, the CLT of the then Presidential Commission for Culture and the Arts, through its member Andres Cristobal Cruz, presented a project proposal to prepare and publish a Filipino translation manual. During the term of Dr.Paz M.Belvez as Chair of the CLT (from July l993 to May l995) the initial materials for a translation manual “Patnubay sa Pagsasalin”(literally “Guide to Translation”) were gathered.

       When Virgilio S.Almario was elected May 1995 as Chairman of CLT, the translation manual project was finally officially approved and undertaken by the members and officials then of the CLT. From December 26 to 28, l995, a workshop was conducted at the Poveda House of Prayer in Tagaytay City. Workshop discussions included outlining the manual according to the contents and a review of the literature,Philippine and foreign.

       The draft was written by Prof.Virgilio S.Almario; Teo. S.Antonio; Aurora Batnag, Ph.D.; Prof.Paz M.Belvez, PhD; Executive Director of the Commission on Filipino Language Pamfilo Catacataca, Ph.D; Andres Cristobal Cruz; Clemencia C.Espiritu,Ph.D; Prof. Maria Victoria Gugol; , and resource persons, Mario I.Miclat, Ph.D; and Teresita Fortunato, Ph.D.

The objectives of the manual were set:

  1. Provide the translator or prospective translator information collected in a book that can help towards a good translation of a text;
  2. Respond to the frequent and many requests during language and translation conferences,within and outside the academe, for a translation manual;
  3. Encourage and promote intellectualization of Filipino;
  4. Support the bilingual policy on education;
  5. Support the creation of a national literature through translation of texts written in ethnological and regional languages in the Philippines;
  6. Assist the Commission on National Language in its activites for translation of government official documents; and
  7. Open opportunities for propagating a wider awareness, by way of translation, of science and technology for Filipinos.

       The workshop appointed Prof.Almario as general editor. The book 174-pages book, Patnubay sa Pagsasalin , was launched in l996, with a cover design by P.T.Martin, and published by the NCCA.

The Patnubay has six chapters:

(1) A short history of translation with the topics Wika ng Pagbibinyag ( Language of Christianization), Salin para sa Tanghalan at Aliwan (Translation for Stage and Entertainment);Salin para sa Bagong Kamulatan (Translation for New Enlightenment), and Tungo sa Pormalisasyon at Propesyonalisasyon ( Towards Formalization and Professionalization);

(2) Mga Simulain ng Pagsasalin (Translation Principles) with topics Depenisyon of Translation(Definition of Translation); Intensiyon and Context (Intention and Context); Tungkulin ng Tagasalin(Duties of a Translator

(3) Kaalamang Pangwika (Knowing Language); with topics Pangkalahatang Katangian ng mga Wika sa Filipinas (General Characteristic of Languages in the Philippines); Ingles at Filipino (English and Filipino); and Ayos ng mga Bahagi (Structure of Parts);

(4) Paghahanda sa Pagsasalin (Preparing to Translate) with topics: Panimulang mga Gawain(Initial Activities); Mga Paraan ng Pagsasalin (Ways of Translating); Mga uri ng Pagsasalin (Kinds of Translation); Pagsasaling Pampanitikan (Literary Translation); and Pagsasaling Teknikal(Technical Translation);

(5) Aktuwal na Pagsasalin (Actual Translation) with topics Mga Hakbang sa Pagbasa (Steps to Reading); Paghahanap ng Katumbas (Looking for Equivalents); Mga Hakbang Bago Manghiram(Steps before Borrowing); Paglahok ng mga Katutubong Wika (Using Native Languages);Panghiram (Borrowing); Paglikha (Inventing); and Iba-Ibang Wika ng Salin (Different Languages of Translation); and

(6) Ebalwasyon ng Salin (Evaluating Translation) with topics Pagsubok sa Pagsalin (Testing the Translation); Subok-gamit (Test-use); Kritisismo sa Salin (Translation Criticism); Mga Modelo sa Pagkritik ng Salin (Models for Translation Critique); Paghahambing ng Orihinal at Salin (Comparing the Original and the Translation); and Pamamaraang Segmentasyon (Segmentation).

       Patnubay‘s Appendix I is five pages of bibilography of works cited,which includes published and unpublished works, the latter by Filipino academics and scholars.

       Patnubay’ s Appendix 2 Panimulang Gabay sa Ispeling is an initial guide to spelling which was adopted by the Sanggunian ng mga Unibersidad at Kolehiyo sa Filipinas (SANGFIL), Council of Univesities and Colleges of the Philippines in its congress on August 8-9,l996 at the Ateneo de Manila.

       The Guide to Spelling limits itself to the new Filipino alphabet letters C, F, J, N (enye), Q, V, X and Z .The guide also limits itself to proper nouns and adjectives, thus (as examples) : Cruz, Fernan, Jules; calyx, vulture; pizza, jazz, zoo; condor, cyst,shellac, acoustic; folder, fax, filament, futbol (football); jet;hadji; jumbo;El Nino, duena; quantum, quid pro quo, quota; video, oven, huvug (Itbayat,tears); tax, fixer, exhibit; zebra, zigzag, quiz, fez, uzazang (Manobo, prawn).

       Patnubay sa Pagsasalin includes Pahayag Hinggil sa mga Karapatan at Tungkulin ng mga Tagasalin(Declaration on the Rights and Obligations of Translators), prepared and adopted by the Committee on Translation of the International PEN and the Committee on Translation of PEN American Center, January l986, translated by Centeno San Miguel.

       In its introductory history of translation in the Philippines, Patnubay cites Doctrina Christiana (l593), Christian Doctrine, as the first book of prayers and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church which was translated to Tagalog in the Philippines. The missionary scholars studied the native languages and used them to bring the natives under the bell. In the l8th,the first book with an original fragments of native poetry was Memoriala de la vida cristiana en lengua tagalog (1605), and the first dictionary was Fray Pedro de San Buenaventura’sVocabulario de la lengua tagala (1627).

       Before the end of the 18th century, translations shifted from the religious to metrical romances from Spain. Florante at Laura by Francisco Balagtas was inspired by the metrical romances, and its allegorical social consciousness also inspired the literary works of Rizal, who was in turn translated by Marcelo H.del Pilar. Rizal’s valedictory poem, “Mi UltimoAdios” was first translated by Andres Bonifacio.

       In Teodoro A. Agoncillo’s Tagalog Periodical Literature from the start of the American period up to l941, he cited literary translations to Tagalog of l09 short stories, 51 poems, l9 plays, 87 novels, and two folktalkes. Translations continue to the present, in l995 the poems of Pope John Paul II were translated to Tagalog by Andres Cristobal Cruz with permission from the Vatican.

       The NCCA’s Committee on Language and Translation as of this date, September, l998, mandated to “encourage and monitor a national program of translation” has began preparations for drafting a national translation program.

About the Author:
Andres Cristobal Cruz is a columnist for ISYU. His story, “The Quarrel” has earned him a Palanca. He has published several other books: “Estero Poems” (1962), “White Wall and Other Tundo Stories” (1965), “Panahon ng Aking Pag-ibig: Mga Kuwentong Tundo” (1965), “Tundo by Two” (1965), and “Ang Tundo Man ay Langit Din” (1985). His published translations include: “Gandhi, Ang Lahat ay Magkakapatid” (1962), “Mga Kuwentong Aleman” (1965), “Mga Tula ni Pope John Paul II” (1995), with work on “Irish Poets” in progress.