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A little more practice would definitely help

April 19, 2022 | 05:31 IST

A little more practice would definitely help

Is it important to have an English translation for writers in Goa who work in Konkani and Marathi to gain national recognition? The writers as well as the translators have expressed their opinion

J

he literary world was very excited after the English translation of a Hindi novel was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. To be more specific, Geetanjali Shree’s Hindi novel Ret Samadhi has been translated into English as Tomb of Sand by Daisy Rockwell. Great news no doubt, but it begs the question of how important these awards are and what effect they have on a writer. If we needed an English translation to ensure that regional writers find their place in the sun? all other languages. She said: “One of the important aspects here is the translation of regional language literature into languages ​​such as English, which has a wider reach. These translations do not occur in a frenzied manner and therefore the beauty of the language remains centered on the particular region. That said, honors and awards do not really reflect the greatness of a language, but efforts should certainly be made to ensure that the richness of languages ​​and regions reaches wider audiences and readers, as these thoughts reflect the heart of a particular region. Savia Veigas, an English-language writer, felt that good literature in any language was always rewarding. She said, “I would prefer to read a well-translated book, which is good if I can’t read that language. Some of the best books I’ve read have been translated because I don’t read Russian, Japanese, German, Spanish, and Urdu. Good literature uses the power to create atmosphere, to describe cultural specificities and characters. No doubt it is better to read it in the original language. But if such a possibility is not available, one should read the translations. I remember Gabriel Garcia Marquez saying that the English translation of his book One Hundred Years of Solitude (which won him the Nobel Prize) was even better than the original”. She pointed out that Speaking about the translator who translated the Hindi literary work into English, Savia said that Daisy Rockwell is a very accomplished translator. She said: ‘It’s good to have a translation shortlisted for the Booker and it would mean that Hindi fiction showcases the best in writing. Translation is a serious literary genre. English teachers teach translation and that may be the only way to gain access to world cultures. Konkani is a great language, but only when it has a vocabulary that includes scientific terms does it break the ceiling. Only then would every Goan be proud to write and be educated in Konkani. So, learning from this new trend, we should strengthen the culture of translation by translating other languages ​​into Konkani so that we can grow the language and move forward.” Dean in the world of Konkani literature, Damodar Mauzo had a lot to say on the subject. He said: ‘I don’t think you need English, but I think nominations should come from the right quarters. I strongly believe that publishers should strive to promote their authors. I think it’s natural for people to know you when you win an award. After winning the Jnanpith award, people all over the country heard about me and my work. Internationally, you have to look at writers like Kazuo Ishiguro who rose to international fame after winning the Man Booker Prize. Previously, no one knew him or the others, but the opportunity arose and they became famous. When it comes to Konkani writers, it’s important to get recognition in your state, and then, when the opportunity arises, make the most of it. When I won the prize, I never believed that I was the best writer. I knew there were hundreds of other writers in different languages ​​who were just as good or even better. To hit the big time, you need the right time. Glenis Mendoca has a doctorate in translation and is an assistant professor at a college. She said the only way for a writer to gain recognition is through a good translation. Glenis said, “Some of the best works have not been translated. All the Goans who have won nationally have done so through good translations. Mauzo won the Jnanpith for translated work. Half of the credit should go to the translators. Look at books that weren’t in English that won the Nobel Prize for Literature thanks to excellent translations. Mauzo was very aggressive in his efforts to obtain translations and it paid off. The writers of Goa must do the same”. Heta Pandit, another writer, lamented the lack of awareness of writers and literature in the state. She cited the example of a play called Dhukhor Dynesh Moghe which she said was world class and didn’t get much reaction in the state. Heta said, “There are things happening but it is only known to a very small group of writers and translators. It’s very depressing.” Jose Lourenco, who writes in Konkani, said Konkani’s readership was so much smaller. He said, “Our market is spread all over thanks to our colonial history. And yes, we are divided by scripts, we don’t get the numbers. We’re getting there slowly. Look at Mauzo, his work is translated and I think others should also push for the same. Then they’ll have a chance to win prizes and they’ll be recognized.” Agusto Pinto, reviewer and translator smiled and said it was an extremely complex issue. He said “Goa is a small place. If they want to be recognized, they have to be signed by a national publisher like Penguin, Harpers , but they’re very hard to get into. They’re all companies that all want to make a profit. Unless you’re a Damodar Mauzo, they’re not willing to look at new writers. I’m working on translations. I have three excellent writers, plays by Pundalik Naik, Gajanand Jog and poems by Late Vishnu Wagh. They are lying on my laptop. I find it difficult to interest national publishers. I can get them published in Goa and sell five hundred copies. But that won’t get you national publishers. He said it was important for writers in Goa to be warned in order to be recognized. Pundalik, Agusto said, was in that position to gain national recognition, but he couldn’t do his job, but now, at 71, no one was looking at him. He said, “If you have a name like Manohar Shetty, you can get a Goa writers anthology because he has a certain reputation. But for me, it’s a problem because no one in the publishing industry knows me. Translators need these contacts”. Perhaps in time, as the market matures, there will be a more organized system that will ensure that interesting works will be translated and brought to the attention of the bigger publishers who might shoot them and touch them.

Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson