HomeLIKHAvol. 18 no. 1 (1998)

Some Notes on the Translation Process of Dekada '70

Lilia Maria Sevillano

Discipline: Literature



One of the country's leading writers today is Lualhati Bautista, multi-awarded recipient of the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. Her political narratives, especially, reflect the way oflife in this country during the rule of the dictator and underscore the socio-political situation prevalent in Philippine society then. Dekada 70 is one such tale, written during the Marcos regime. It is "more than the individual story of a mother watching her sons grow and plunge into real life" (Female Forum, Nov. 21, 1983). " .. .it is also a moving documentary of a turbulent decade in the history of contemporary Philippine society" (Sunday Magazine, Nov. 24, 1985). However, the narrative's beauty and meaning are missed by a wider readership since it is written in Filipino. These may be further appreciated and studied by a bigger audience if the work is translated into English.


Bautista's tales speak of the abuse and oppression from which people seek freedom until today, of the truth and justice sadly lacking in society, at one level. She also portrays, symbolically, the Filipina's struggle for identity and importance in a still predominantly patriarchal society. This consciousness of a woman's plight was what stimulated me into undertaking a translation project of one of her novels, Dekada 70. I wanted to capture the essence of its meanings in this endeavor. I believe that she stands as a model, being a woman and successful writer, for young women writers struggling for their own recognition and identity.