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Translation

Looking at this brief history of folktales writing and then their publishing, we have come to know so far that now is the trend to publish the folktales of individual countries and they are available for many countries too. Among them many local language folktales and folktale books have been translated in other languages including English. This brought those folktales not only to their own people but to other people who know English.

In this age we do not live on the island. We should know about other societies and cultures too and as the literature is the mirror of the society, we can know about other societies by reading their literature. Because a society's literature is for that particular society it is written in that language which other people cannot read if they do not know that language hence translation.

The only way to read that literature is to read its translation either in some common language (maybe in English) or the best way is to read in one's own language. Everybody cannot understand everybody's language that is where this translation comes in picture. Translation is not a new thing or a bad thing. Now is the time to translate English language and other language folktales in our own Hindi language so that our grassroots people can read them.

 

Need of Translation in Hindi

Survey of the foreign folktales in Hindi showed that very few foreign folktales and folktale books translated in Hindi are available in the market although many are available in English. This situation presents a grave need to translate them in Hindi and to make them available to our Hindi-speaking grassroots people. Here comes the need of translating them in Hindi.

The main purpose of any translation has always been to explain an un-understood language to a person in his own language. Primarily this platform also serves the same purpose. Its purpose is to provide the Hindi translation of as many folktales from as many countries as possible in English. Who does not love to read stories or folktales or fairy tales? Not only children, even housewives, grownups, educated people also like to read them. They can read these stories themselves for time pass, if not for educational purpose, and tell them to their children in their leisure time. Apart from this, even researchers can use this materials to refer to in their research projects. And the third last purpose is the preservation of literature for future. This will work as an archive Foreign Folktales in Hindi.

Thinking on this line I took up this project and adapted this material in Hindi from published books, journal literature, magazines, oral sources etc so that it can reach to our common people and they can also enjoy the other countries' stories.

When I started translating foreign folktales in Hindi I was quite unaware of the fact that it could be so much important for people. During my professional career of librarianship , I got the opportunity of collecting many various folktales from various places. I started this project in 1987 when I read some folktales in the thesis of the students in the school of theology where I was working as a librarian.

After that my ambition rose to collect more and more folktales. In 1990, I came to United States to live with my children. I stayed here for a couple of months. Here I found that public libraries are very good. I borrowed some folktales books and translated them in Hindi. I translated many folktales in that way and stepped on the road of translating folktales in Hindi. Later I collected many folktales.

 

Collection of the Material

Nigeria
This project started coming up out of the blue when I first started my professional career as a librarian in a Theological College in Nigeria in 1979. The college was a 3-year college preparing Ministers for Church. After I joined it required the submission of a long essay at the end of their course work. After their submission to the College they were sent to me fore safekeeping in the library for further use. It was not until 1987 when I came through an essay in which 8-10 folktales were given.

I read them with interest, something different from our own Indian stories, still quite different from English/British stories which our children knew being the children of British colony. After reading them a thought came to my mind that "I am reading these foreign folktales because I am here at this place but how our Indian children will read them if they are not available to them and how they can be made available to them? Besides, most children do not know English, even if they can get them somehow, how they will read them or how their parents will read them? Besides, even those children who are educated in English schools and convents normally know only British, German and French folktales, not of other countries.

This thought opened my eyes and I took that essay to my home. I read those stories several times and finally came to conclusion that I should translate them in Hindi then only I can them make them available to them.

They were only 8-10 at that time. I never thought what I will do of so few stories, but just to start from somewhere I translated them and kept them. That was the seed of this long project. At that time I did not know anything about folktales, as what was a folktale, whether they might be available? Are they really available? Can I get them? If yes, then how? Because Nigeria's libraries were very poor. Well I did not think any further than I should translate them in Hindi and I did the same waited for my shiny days.

Ethiopia
In 1989 I moved to Addis Ababa University Library where I worked as a librarian for three years in its Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) library. There I had access to many rare books, documents and manuscripts. Here also I collected a few Ethiopian folktales - approximately 40 folktales. The greatest achievement of working there was my awareness of Ethiopian History. During the period of three years I wrote several professional papers which made me the stepping stone of Ethiopian librararianship. I was happy to see that. If I could live there for some more time...

Above all here I translated a book on Queen of Sheba and the King Solomon. Oh, it was such a nice book written in such an interesting style that I brought that book home, read it and immediately started translating it. I could not restrict myself to translate it. It was a madness towards that because I did not know what I will do of that. In this madness in spite of being a librarian I did not write as what I was translating. That was the greatest achievement greatest knowledge of my stay there. Along with it there was some other internal information also of Ethiopia through the travelers' documents.

USA
My journey had begun. Still now I had no clear path in front of my eyes where I was heading to. Everything was dark ahead. In 1990 I went to USA and stay there for two months. I found their public libraries very rich and easy to use. I made use of them and I collected many stories of Canada and Africa. Here when I found that my collection was increasing I thought to make note of their references. I might have collected about 100 stories from there. But still my path was not clear and my manuscripts were piling up higher and higher.

Lesotho
Lesotho is a small landlocked country in South Africa. In the meantime I got an appointment to work with National University of Lesotho, Lesotho, and went there for one year in 1992. Here also I worked in a specialized library - "Institute of Southern African Studies" (ISAS) library and this work gave me some more  opportunities to look into their local literature. Although it was  very little time but still I could collect a few stories from there from Southern African countries.

 

Scope and Limitations in Translation in Hindi

1. Language of Folktales
Here we will talk only about translation from English to Hindi. Translation of most countries folktales is available in English except Africa but whenever and wherever I could get hold of any African tale in English I translated it. That is why it was easier to translate other countries' folktales in Hindi, but it was very difficult to find such literature for African countries. That is why my more emphasis was on African folktales in English. Fortunately I could find a fairly good size of those tales, but still considering its size it is nothing.

2. Language Used
Since these stories have not been written as literary tales for literary people, but only for grassroots people, as an alternative of their English version which are not accessible to them so only simple and spoken language has been used. This language can be used by the children up to the age of 15

3. Availability of Folktales
This collection has the limitation of availability of a folktale or folktale book. I could use only those folktales which were available to me - through libraries, Internet, manuscripts, journals etc, or I could lay my hands up on.

4. Countries
Many countries' folktales are available in English in plenty, while others were found only scarcely and yet others are just a couple. Attention has been paid to collect the folktales from those countries with scarcely available folktales. Considering the importance and popularity of many well-known folktales and folktale books, their folktales have also not been left out completely. When I started the the collection, there was no planning to collect Indian folktales, but considering India as a multilingual country some of its non-Hindi provinces' folktales which were available in English were also collected.

5. Names Etc
As every country has its own naming style, vegetables, fruits, animals, vegetations, idioms, expressions. It is very difficult to understand everything same to same, so whatever foreign names of the people, places and things are unfamiliar to our Hindi-speaking people, and because of their varied pronunciations even by foreigners, their names have been given in English as footnotes. Many names of fruits, vegetable and animals, are just unknown to Indians, have been explained through their pictures wherever it was found possible.

6. In the Last
These folktales have been collected single-handedly working hard searching obscure sources and translating them diligently for many years.

 

Processing the Material

After this, in 1993, I came to USA to study, spent two years in obtaining an other post-graduate degree in Library Science, and got a job of librarian in an automotive organization. Worked there for five years, involved in a car accident, got handicapped and stayed home for the rest of my life. That was the end of my professional career.

From about year 2000, the use of Internet was increasing at a fast speed. I made use of it. By God's grace during my study period I learnt to build a Web Site, so I started to build a Web Site for me and started working on it. I did a lot of work in it, put lots of information in it - lot of our Hindu religious information, but reserved a section for children also in which I put lots of material for them too - some educational, some for entertainment and some for knowledge. . No regrets.

During this period my collection of stories was buried in my suitcase and continuing with my web Site I was heading towards somewhere - did not know where.

It was going on fine that one evening we were sitting with some of our friends that a talk started about Ethiopia. In those days people used to go to America, Canada, UK, Germany, France, but few people were heard going to Africa. Many people did not know even where Ethiopia was. Well, when they heard that we were in Africa for over 16 years, they were very surprised. They could not think that anybody can go to any African country for job and lived there for such a long time - 16 years. It is not a short period of a few months - it was the whole 16 years.

They showered on us questions upon questions. How we lived there, whether it was worth living there, was it comfortable living etc etc. To cut short, when they were satisfied with their curiosity then they asked if we had this information somewhere in written. We said "Yes. We have." They suggested us that we should write it it and publish for the benefit of our society because they thought that they had never read this kind of information anywhere else before in printed form.

This encouragement gave me a push and I went straight to my box in which my piles of papers were kept. I took out them, dusted them, organized them and started to think how and where to begin. Certainly that material could not be sent in this original form. It has to be reorganize it and bring it in usable form. Sitting here in Canada it was feasible to publish them here, that is why I thought to publish them in India. For that they needed the manuscripts. Sending physical manuscripts was also not possible so it was decided to write them on computer and then send them anywhere by e-mail.

Being here I was not familiar with any of the Hindi fonts. Fortunately somebody suggested me Shusha font to use so I took that font and was happy with it as it was easy to type and good to look at too. I started converted my paper files into computer files. When I started working on my Folktale Project and started writing my manuscripts on computer, it also took me several years to bring my garbage in shape in a useful way. Now I was ready to publish my material and send it to anybody electronically.

 

 

 

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Created by Sushma Gupta on November 27, 2018
Contact:  sushmajee@yahoo.com
Modified on 03/21/19