ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

TRANSLATION HOWLERS THAT TRIGGER TOOTHY SMILES

Updated on March 16, 2012
Source
Source


Translation, they say, is a tricky teaser. The truism inherent in the statement dawns on me as I attempt to translate two lines of a simple Hindi maxim in English while writing an article. ( Of course, it was not at all necessary, but somehow at the spur of the moment, without knowing what possessed me, I thought of giving it a try. And once, I had it in me, it was difficult to shirk off the idea) After repeated attempts at it, the translated version still looked crude and rudimentary, and not conveying the finer quiddity of the two-line Hindi maxim . Finally, I consulted a friend of mine. He, however, opined, “It’s okay Yaar; we are not professional translators after all, so why worry? I bet nobody is going to notice this minor trip up. Let it stay like that only.” He proved right. None did. May be they had been over-courteous; I don’t know. What I know, however, is that by then the bug had already bitten me, and quite unconsciously, one had already embarked up on a translation trip. The journey turned out not only educative and informative , but also quite enlightening and hilariously entertaining.

The legend has it that late Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, once enlisted the services of late Dr. Harvansh Rai Bachchan for translating his English notes and letters etc. in Hindi, whenever so required. He once dictated a full-page file- note and desired Dr.Bachchan to translate it in Hindi. After sometime, Dr. Bachchan presented the translated Hindi version of the note for the Prime Minister’s approval. The effort, however, did not amuse Mr. Nehru much. He read it; mulled over it for some time, and then said, “Bachchan, I think it does not exactly capture the spirit of the original text. Would you like to improve upon it?” A crestfallen Dr. Bachchan rewrote it, made some changes and corrections here and there, and again sent the Hindi translated version of the note to Mr. Nehru; by now fully confident and convinced that that would surely meet the Prime Minister’s approval . For, “was it not a simple official file-note, the translation of which in Hindi should not, after-all, be such a big deal as to cause bother to a professor of English and a renowned Hindi poet- the two rolled in one”, so he thought. However, that was not to be for the poor Dr. Bachchan, as he was in for a surprise. One can imagine his consternation when the file came back with a slip pinned on it which said, ‘ I am afraid, the Hindi version lacks beauty and grace. Pl. Improve and resubmit.’ The down and distraught Professor recalled an old oft repeated cliché’ about translation and quoted it on the slip: “Well, Sir, translation is like a woman, who, if beautiful , is not faithful and, if faithful , not beautiful.”

It is said that soon thereafter, the dejected Professor was seen making anxious and frantic enquiries about the earliest available train leaving for Allahabad!

Thanks to the howlers, that more often than not, creep into them, the literal translations make for the hilarious experiences that trigger toothy smiles. Blame it on the translator’s blissful ignorance of the intrinsic real meaning of the original text that he translates into another language or, whatever; they, at times, would leave a reader doubled-up with laughter. Sample these: (1) Voh merey peechhey haath dhokar pad gai hai. The genius translates it to read as: ‘She is lying behind me after washing her hands’. Again,(2) ‘Is khabar ko sunkar mera dil baag baag ho gaya.’ ‘On listening this news, my heart became garden garden’. Further sample the wonder rendering of this sentence in Hindi: (3)‘Those who settle abroad sometimes suffer from home-sickness’ , the Hindi translation reads: ‘Jo log videshon men bas jaatey hain unehen kabhi kabhi ghareyloo bimaariyan ho jaati hain’. What takes the cake, however, is this beautiful translation in English: ‘ I was not happy with this division of monkey’, of the original Hindi sentence: : ‘Is bander baant sey main khush nahin hua.’ The “howler”, created on being translated into English, by the genius. The list is long.

After all said and done, translation is not everybody’s piece of cake.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)