Carrying The Words Across


The New Year ushers in a  special new book : one in which I have played the translator’s role, translating from Malayalam to English.

If you read quotes about the art of translation, you will find intriguing opinions. From Paul Aster to Umberto Eco, Borges to Rabassa, they all have their views on this mirroring technique. Frost, of course, told us all about what is lost in translation.( But I  seriously disliked that Coppola movie.)

I enjoy translating from one language to another. But my enjoyment need not translate ( forgive the pun) to another’s rating of its quality.Luckily, being a bureaucrat has its advantages- like Eeyore the donkey, we are always prepared for the worst. Nothing really cheers you up. Nothing actually gets you down. We just carry on with the job at hand.

The adventure of getting inside the head of another, checking every jot and tittle(that is from the great Rabassa himself!), being comprehensible, being dispassionate, willingly detached, letting go…the closest analogy would be a spiritual experience.

Here’s wishing more such experiences in the beautiful new year! May we all love what we do. May we all get to do what we love. May we all make our loved ones proud. May we all gain energy from the Nay-Sayers and sceptics. May we all read and grow everyday.




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