Translation major problem in Indian literature : Tharoor

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Kochi, Feb 4 (UNI) Noted writer and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor today said translation was a major problem in Indian literature, as it was difficult to strike a balance between the writer and the translator.

Addressing a gathering after the release of the Malayalam edition of his book ''Bookless in Baghdad' at the ongoing fourth DC International Book Fair here, Mr Tharoor said ''it was difficult to find a balance between someone, who understands the original language well and somebody, who could express the language into which the work is being translated, equally well.'' He said in certain cases the writer's flowery language could be spoiled by the translator's inferior writing and in others, the translations could be better than the original work.

'' Writers like M T Vasudevan Nair and O V Vijayan were capable of translating their Malayalam works into English with the same freshness and quality,'' he said.

Mr Tharoor said Bookless in Baghdad, contains 40 essays and the lead essay was on the Iraqi capital during the days of UN sanctions in 1998.

'' I visited Baghdad in 1998 as an UN official and found that the love for books did not fade even when the bombs were exploding in trouble-prone areas,'' he added.

Besides, the book had pieces on R K Narayanan, Nirad C Choudhary and P G Wodehouse and writings on literature.

Speaking on the occasion as part of acclaimed writer Basheer's Centenary celebrations, R E Asher, who had translated the writer's works into English, said '' Vaikom Mohammed Basheer was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.'' The stories of Mr Basheer gave a new dimension and meaning with its simple language and feeling to the reader,'' Dr Asher added.


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