Translators from one Indian language to other are still lacking

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Creative literature in every modern Indian language no doubt reflects all modern ideas of culture and philosophy. However, some Indian writers have chosen English as their language of expression. But we come across situations when the literature written by some Indians in English is presented as the only Indian literature on international forums, which cannot be further from the truth. One thing in which India lacks is the availability of translators who can translate directly from one Indian language to other. There are no doubt translators abound whose competency could not be challenged. But, most translators translate either to English or from English.

The situation may be slightly different in Hindi in which top literature of some Indian languages has already been translated. Thus, we find that tall literary figures of Bangla like Rabindranath, Sarat Chandra, Bankim Chandra and Mahasweta Devi are as well-known names in Hindi households as in Bengali. Complete works of these litterateurs have already been translated into Hindi. But its opposite is not true. I don’t think that even the classical writers of Hindi like Kabir, Tulsi and Surdas have been translated into most other Indian languages let alone the present day literature. You will rarely find a person translating directly from one Indian language to other, like Assamese to Bengali, Oriya to Bengali, or Gujarati to Bengali, or Bengali to Marathi or Gujarati.

As far as south Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam are concerned, very few works from these languages have been translated into North Indian languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya or Assamese. The speakers of Hindi, or Punjabi or Bengali depend on English to translate a south Indian language. Thus, we see that speakers of different modern Indian languages may speak more than one language while interacting in markets and offices, but as far as the cultural interaction is concerned they are still heavily dependent on English as a medium. This certainly takes a heavy toll on the quality of the translation.

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