Translating ‘My Childhood’


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There is always a debate about whether translations can really capture the spirit of the original. For me, this debate was settled when I read the lucid translations of Plato’s dialogues by B. Jowett, who was Regius Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford.

Mera PindOne day, someone told Mr L K Naqvi, then Assistant Editor, incharge of the Magazine Section of The Tribune that Mera Pind was impossible to translate. Well, that became a challenge, and he commissioned Prof Rana Nayar of the Department of English, Panjab University, Chandigarh, to translate a chapter of Mera Pind, titled Mera Bachpan, which was printed in The Tribune.

Prof Nayar has translated an ever increasing number of books from Punjabi to English, and is an authority on Punjabi literature. Please click here to read his transation of Mera Bachpan.

Incidentally, September 30 marked the International Translation Day, established in 1991 by the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (International Federation of Translators). September 30th was chosen because it is the feast day of St. Jerome (347-420 AD), patron saint of translators, interpreters and librarians. The day celebrates and promotes translation as an essential activity in contemporary society.

Reading an e-mail that informed me about this fact made me update the blog. I am sure that you will enjoy reading Prof Rana Nayar’s translation of a part of Giani Gurdit Singh’s Mera Pind that I personally enjoy a lot!

Roopinder Singh