Tuesday 28 May 2024

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Culture | Literature

Regional languages make Indian stories more impressive than English: Couto


Stories based on Indian situation come out in a more impressive manner in regional languages than English. “Dirgh Maun Tem”, a Konkani translation of Shashi Deshpande’s famous English novel “That Long Silence” is a testimony, says Padmashree awardee and writer Maria Aurora Couto.

Speaking after releasing the Konkani translation by Goan author Prashanti Talpankar, Couto said India has only two English writers whose works reflect strong regional flavour – R K Narayan and Shashi Deshpande.

Recalling her school and college days in Dharwad with Deshpande, Couto said “Shashi’s biggest advantage as an English writer is that she is fully in command with both Kannada and Marathi cultures”.

The book release was a symbolic gesture at a one-day seminar and four-day workshop on translation organised by Faculty of Languages and Literature of Goa University, in association with Goa’s Directorate of Official Language, Vishwa Konkani Kendra of Mangalore and Sahitya Academy of Delhi.

Couto was impressed with the observation of students and lecturers at a panel discussion held prior to the book release, comparing the original English novel with Talpankar’s Konkani translation.

The panelists in one voice appreciated the Konkani book, stating that the translation sounds more impressive than the original due to its Indian flavour in local language. Discussion among the panelists, consisting of Swetlana Fernandes, Ambika Kamat and Antara Bhide, was moderated by Prof Glenis Mendonca.

“It is bound to be since Shashi’s original book is fully based on social, cultural and religious structures of Indian society. However, I agree with Shashi that the book is not a depiction of society from feminist point of view. She is not a feminist, but a humanist,” said Couto.


Taking the argument ahead, veteran writer Dr Tanaji Halarnkar, while presiding over, said translator should actually behave as a cultural ambassador without distorting the originality of the source language.

“In case of “Dirgh Maun Tem”, Talpankar has succeeded in retaining the originality of the book while adapting it to Konkani style of writing. That has made the book interesting”, said Dr Halarnkar.

Dr Kiran Budkuley, the Dean of Faculty of Languages and Literature, said the panel discussion on comparing the translated book with the original book has opened a new chapter of critical evaluation of a literary creation in such a manner.

Prashanti Talpankar, the writer, said the credit of making the translation authentic goes to all her friends, relatives and writers who helped her by providing proper vocabulary.

The function was compered jointly by Akshata Bhat and Tanvi Bambolkar. 

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