Monday, May 24, 2010

"Pulich", "Paleer, paleer", "Labak", "Veduk" - Translating Tamil into English is hilarious

What’s truly fascinating about this volume, though, is Pritham K. Chakravarthy’s translation. 

Auto-orientalising writers like Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni could learn a thing or two about how Indianness, or regional character, can be portrayed by means other than coyly dropping the occasional article. 

In these tales, English is reinvigorated by Tamil figures of speech, like a couple in love being “as close as copulating serpents”, or personifications, such as blue Pallavan buses spitting their passengers out on to the sidewalk, motorbikes that are “kicked alive”, and telephones that scream loudly. Onomatopoeia, too, effectively gives a sense of place, as any comics fan will attest to: “Pulich!” is the sound of spit landing on the wall. “Paleer, paleer!” is the sound of lashing rain. “Labak!” is the sound of a purse being snatched. And “Veduk!” is the sound of this book vanishing from my desk.

From Shruti Ravindran's article in Indian Express
To read the full article click here.

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