Archive for April, 2008

Fiction from Wales translated to meet demand in Asia

April 26, 2008

FICTION by Welsh authors is being translated into Turkish and Arabic to meet Asian bookworms’ growing interest in contemporary Wales.

Publishers in the Middle East have chosen some of the grittiest portrayals of life in Wales for their readers – but that can cause a few difficulties.

Stories have to be chosen with care because ripe language and descriptions of sexual activity might not pass the censors or could offend readers in some countries.

And one translator said it was impossible to translate into Arabic the vernacular used by author Niall Griffiths in his novel Runt, which revolves around a teenage savant on a Welsh hill farm.

Read further here


Vikram Seth

April 25, 2008

A Suitable Boy, Vikram’s epic, best-selling novel about post-colonial India, put him into the public gaze and won several awards. Its length alone, at 1,300 pages, is a talking point, and it took the author ten years to write.

His most recent book, Two Lives, published in 2005, is a personal and loving memoir of his “Shanti Uncle” and “Aunty Henny”, his great-uncle and German Jewish aunt, who first met in Germany and left before the Holocaust, and of their marriage and life in post-war Britain.

But very few of us know that Vikram has translated more than 20 Indian texts to create a work themed on the ages of man.

Vikram has translated from many Indian languages – Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Tamil – and from a variety of sources, ranging from the Buddhist scripture, Dhammapada to something from the Sanskrit text, Bhagavad Gita.

Now, if one tries to take one language pair at a time, think of the nature of the text he has translated, and ponder over it, one will realise not only the gigantic efforts of Vikram, but also his multi-faceted mastery.

English-Hindi / Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary launched

April 24, 2008

Penguin Books India and Yatra Books have launched The Penguin English-Hindi/ Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary. Compiled by Arvind Kumar and Kusum Kumar, the book was launched recently by Smt. Madhu Goswami, Deputy Secretary Hindi, Ministry of External Affairs. The three-volume Penguin English–Hindi/Hindi–English Dictionary and Thesaurus is billed as a landmark in bilingual lexicography. Today, just as more Hindi-speakers than ever before are eager to master English, a large number of Indians and non-Indians are learning Hindi through the medium of English. Global communication and educational systems today demand a bilingual dictionary and thesaurus that covers a wide spectrum of social and cultural terms, both Indian and non-Indian. This book, arranged thematically with two bilingual dictionaries and indexes and extremely easy to use, fits the bill well.

IBM resorting to translation

April 23, 2008

In the age when translation is coming out of the confines of University curriculum, and innumerable global biggies are realising the importance of native language in order to reach out to common man/end user, it is always interesting to know the next entity joining the bandwagon.

Now, IBM has decided that it doesn’t want to be left out of the mobile realm. It has fired up a number of programs (instant translator, social networking, and mobile health care) that will make mobile phones even more useful for everyday tasks than they already are.

IBM has seen some of the writing on the wall. It knows that mobile phones are replacing PCs at more and more tasks at a greater rate each day. In recognition of that, a new IBM Research program will entail a number of efforts to bring services to the millions of people in the world who have bypassed using the personal computer as their primary method of accessing technology, and are instead using their mobile phone to access the Web, conduct financial transactions, entertain themselves, shop, and more. IBM’s research facilities in India will be spearheading the work on these new mobile programs, but IBM said seven other global sites also will be working on the projects.

One of the projects is – Universal Mobile Translator:

IBM is working to facilitate speech between individuals who speak no common language with the goal of free-form dialogue facilitated by a PDA or smartphone. IBM hopes to embed real-time translation technologies into mobile phones, handheld devices, and cars for instant translations.

Many translators out there might be wondering – what is ‘real-time translation technology’! Folks, we have a long way to go. Accept it.

Sahitya Akademi honour for Bharathidasan varsity Prof

April 22, 2008

The Sahitya Akademi has honoured Dr V Ayothi, Professor of English, Bharathidasan University, with a national-level award in appreciation of his translation of Tamil short stories, poems and oral literature into English.

An University release said that Dr Ayothi was one among the two translators from the southern region and the only person from Tamil Nadu to win the award, carrying a certificate and a cash prize.

The Akademi had conducted an all-India Literary Translation Competition at the end of 2007 as a fitting finale to its Golden Jubilee celebrations. Several translations from nearly 30 Indian languages were submitted and nearly half of the awards were won by translations of Bengali literature!!

Olympic torch, the poem and its translation

April 21, 2008

The first runner of Olympic torch

AS THE Olympic torch makes its way through Canberra on Thursday, another relay will shadow it, as it has since the torch began its journey in Greece on March 24. An initiative of writers’ organisation International PEN, and the brainchild of Sydney writer Chip Rolley, the PEN Poem Relay is a web-based campaign calling for freedom of expression in China.

Writers worldwide have translated and recorded the poem June by imprisoned journalist and poet Shi Tao into, at last count, more than 90 languages.

The poem as translated to English from Chinese by Chip Rolley is as under:

My whole life
Will never get past “June”
June, when my heart died
When my poetry died
When my lover
Died in romance’s pool of blood

June, the scorching sun burns open my skin
Revealing the true nature of my wound
June, the fish swims out of the blood-red sea
Toward another place to hibernate
June, the earth shifts, the rivers fall silent
Piled up letters unable to be delivered to the dead.

The poem is a moving meditation on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre, written on June 9, 2004, to coincide with the event’s 15th anniversary.

It has moved via website, from PEN centre to centre, along a route similar to the Olympic torch itinerary, adding new translations as it goes. So far the poem has been to 70 locations throughout Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, and it will continue its journey up to the opening of the Olympics in August. The Australian leg will include translations into Aboriginal and other languages that reflect our extraordinary linguistic diversity.

No more via media

April 14, 2008

Pune-based translators launch Marathi versions of famous German, Japanese and Russian books

Detectives from Russia, Woman robot from Japan, young couples from Germany are all set to come down to Maharashtra and entertain the masses in Marathi. After the success of Kelyane Bhashantar, a tri-monthly translations magazine, Vidyasagar Mahajan, Nissim Bedekar and Anagha Bhat are ready to launch their books that are translations of famous books in German, Japanese and Russian.

Most of the translations that happen in India are through English. Take for example this — a Russian book will be first translated in English and then to respective Indian language. But in doing so, we tend to lose the real essence of the book. What we are doing are direct translations, thus we also translate the cultures and not only the language,” says Vidyasagar Mahajan, lecturer of Russian language, NDA.

Mahajan’s book Dusrya Jodidarachya Shodhat, is a translation of a German book-Beim Naechsten Mann Wird Alles Anders, which means — with the next man everything will change. The book talks about live-in relationships. Commenting on the comparison between German and Indian literature, Mahajan says, “Both the countries have had great writers. While our literature tends to be spontaneity based some times, German literature is an amalgamation of thinking and literary skills.”

Nissim Bedekar is into translating patents from Japanese to English. He is also a professor in the Japanese department of the University of Pune. What Bedekar really enjoys doing is translating Japanese literature. “My book Bokkochan* Ani Itar Japani Katha is about a woman robot,” he says adding, “Japan has produced a number of great writers like Akuta Gawa and many more, but we are not exposed to this side of Japanese language. Students only want to learn Japanese because of its importance in IT and technical translations. We need to create awareness about importance of Japanese in literature.”

While this is the story with German and Japanese, Anagha Bhat, founder editor of Kelyane Bhashantar has translated short stories of five Russian authors in Marathi. “Russia has a different amalgamation of Europe and Asia and it is this mix that is reflected beautifully in Russian writings. Russian books are fantastic examples of stories related to mental dilemmas,” says Bhat who has translated stories of Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Shidrin, Tolstoy and Chekhov.

– Pranav Kulkarni in Indian Express, 12th April, 2008

* i would like to mention the Gujarati translation of ‘totochan’ by great Shri Ramanlal Soni, whose efforts are beyond the words of appreciation. Gujarati stalwarts have a lot to their credit but sad to say, they are all unsung heroes so far.

मधुशाला – डॉ. हरिवंशराय बच्चन

April 12, 2008

Dr. Harivanshrai Bachchan has created an unparalleled masterpiece in the history of Hindi poetries.

For his die-hard fans, here is the file:


Geetanjali – Ravindranath Tagore

April 11, 2008

हे नाथ ! तू मेरी इतनी विनती

हे, नाथ ! तू मेरी इतनी विनती स्वीकार कर;

एक बार स्वीकार कर !

मेरे हृदय में बस जा, अब लौट कर न जा !

जो दिन तेरे वियोग में गया, वह धूलि में मिल गया !

अब तेरे ही प्रकाश में जीवन-कलिका को खिलाने के लिए

मैं दिनानुदिन जाग रहा हूँ ।

किस उन्माद में, किस खोज में, मैं इधर-उधर की राहों पर

भटकता रहा ? कौन जाने ?

अब मेरे हृदय पर कान रख और अपनी ही आवाज़ सुन !

मेरे पास जो पाप-धन या छल-बल शेष दिखाई दे,

उस के कारण मुझे मत लौटा दे

उसे आग से भस्म कर दे !

अनुवाद: सत्यकाम विद्यालंकार, इंदु जैन

Translate and go global

April 9, 2008

Indian authors writing in English have been the toast of the town for a while now, but authors expressing themselves in regional languages hardly get noticed.

Discussions on the challenge before regional authors to get the same kind of attention from a global or national audience has been the topic for discussion in national conventions.

The Indian publishing industry has an annual turnover of Rs 100,000 million and rolls out 80,000 titles every year in languages, including English. However, India’s regional literature tends to be accessible to a select few. Many authors writing in regional languages feel they are marginalised because their work is not available in translation.

Need of the hour is to get books translated from one regional language to the other and to English, which will help communicating with other regions of India as well at global level. A publisher should come up with at least two publications of translated works in a year. Publication of translations would help check marginalisation of regional authors.

More so, as translations are vehicles for promotion and national integration in a country known for its language diversity. Governments also have a role to play in this endeavour.

Some of the major problems before the authors as well as distributors are quality of translations and fund crunch. Such problems could be overcome by adopting a definite policy on these two matters.