Friday April 19, 2019
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Book Fair: Romancing the Mob!

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By Akash Shukla

Book fair is a paradise for avid readers; for others it could be several different things. Lucknow is a funny town. It celebrates contradictions instead of diversity. This City of Nawabs shuts its eyes on LANDMARK and revels annually on a thematic Book Fair. What an irony! We walk too much. We buy too less. The last day of book fair locked horns with Gujrati Garba in the opposite lawns and down went public’s pseudo love for books as if everyone was waiting for a desperate counterpart. Hypocrites as we are, a mere digression lures us away from the titles. The tracing book lovers sulked in the corners while music enveloped all and sundry. If this wasn’t domineering enough of a trend over the other, the disco lights and a crystal ball coupled with exclusive tickets left no stones unturned to overcast the fledgling reading cult.

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While Shaan-e-Awadh was grappling with ever-changing curiosities of the multitude, a guy tottered next to a girl merely in care and barely for books. When she nosedived in books, he realized he was wading through her sinkable eyes. Even inanimate books blew saxophones and shabby roughnecks appeared minstrels. This voodoo on a guy is like an unadvertised sale. It’s there but no one would ever know; even the doll-face would stay clueless. Magically meandering and charmingly smitten, the guy says, “May I hold your bag please?” Dazed and amazed, she struggled with a ‘no’ but all that spurted was a confused smile. Dimwit of a guy confused the gesture, held the cross-bag as if he held her. Stupidly they smiled for different reasons and got lost in the books; interestingly it ensued a role play; she turned reader and he turned pretender. Books were her love while she was his.

The author had a Sidney Sheldon in his hand. He saw this. Felt it. Tossed the murky emotional Sheldon ending for an ephemeral romance and the author’s title was lost among many others for a reason even unknown to him. Fleeting joy at its best, the lover boy switched glances between her and the ticking clock. His watch kept telling him that he had to teach. He had to leave. With barely five minutes at hand, the romance continued to melt from his face. The seemingly-timeless book fair stood still. Frozen in time, he looked while she did not; Diving deep into her face, time had come to retrace. Pining for the stay, he just could not. The never-to-be couple had parted. The author saw an unpublished romance; the ignorant titles at the book fair missed it all.

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‘Asterix’ French Bestseller Comics, Now Available For Hindi Readers

"We talk of warfare, historical hostilities, cultural chauvinism. The comic has strategies, cultural superiority and talking down to the Germanic tribes or Romans. This kind of a comic has a universal resonance.

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"There are so many cultural references. You have to find equivalent Hindi words, terminology, proverbs, jokes, songs. There is Latin used as well," Gupta, who also translated 'The Adventures of Tintin', said. Pixabay

By: Siddhi Jain

Launched in 1959, the French comic classic ‘Asterix’ boasts having sold an unmatched 370 million copies in more than 100 languages. After capturing the global comics market, the series is now available for Hindi readers – after five years of painstaking translation.

The Hindi translation of the first four albums of the ‘Asterix’ series was released here on Thursday by French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler, who called the comics’ total of 33 albums “a monument of French pop culture” and “opportunity to learn not French, but about the French (people).”

The series follows the adventures of a group of Gallic villagers as they resist Roman occupation in 50 BCE. It was originally written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.

Published by Om Books International, the “albums”, as they are called, were co-translated by Dipa Chaudhuri and Puneet Gupta beginning from 2014. Sharing that translating each album took at least 6-8 months, the task was “not merely a word-to-word translation”.

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Besides finding the right word, we had to find the right length, because there were speech bubbles.  Pixaba

“There are so many cultural references. You have to find equivalent Hindi words, terminology, proverbs, jokes, songs. There is Latin used as well,” Gupta, who also translated ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, said.

Explained his French-speaking co-translator Chaudhuri: “There was a huge translator’s block when we started. It wasn’t just any translation. These were graphic novels and the graphic form imposes a lot of restrictions as to how you can translate.

“Besides finding the right word, we had to find the right length, because there were speech bubbles. The Hindi script practically is much longer than the French. There are matras on the top, side and bottom, whereas in French they are only on top. We couldn’t be waffling with the translation,” Chaudhuri added.

What the translators also has to be mindful of is that each language has its own aural space and one size does not fit all.

“While you’d hit a person with a ‘Paff’ in French, it’ll be ‘Bang’ in English and ‘Thak’ in Hindi,” Gupta expalined, adding that they identified a 100 sounds in four of the 33 albums.

The French equivalent of the India’s iconic ‘Chacha Chaudhary’ comics or ‘Amar Chitra Katha’, ‘Asterix’ is a journey into French mindsets and is widely translated and adapted into animated films, video games, live action films, and even theme parks.

The translators shared an interesting anecdote while preparing the Hindi comic.

“They’ve used the (military) terms decurion and centurion. We couldn’t have used ‘major’ or ‘colonel’. So we had to come up with ‘dashpati’ and ‘shatpati’ for commanders of 10 and 100 soldiers,” Gupta said.

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The series follows the adventures of a group of Gallic villagers as they resist Roman occupation in 50 BCE. It was originally written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo. Pixabay

“We called up people in the armed forces and asked them how they’d say this.”

Asked if they came across similarities between the Indo-French cultures, Chaudhari said that while there are culturally distinct experiences, human experiences remain the same.

“We talk of warfare, historical hostilities, cultural chauvinism. The comic has strategies, cultural superiority and talking down to the Germanic tribes or Romans. This kind of a comic has a universal resonance.

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Added Gupta: “Human emotions of fear, hatred, faith, satire and greed transcend time and culture. All these emotions are depicted here and one can correlate.”

The translation rights were acquired by publisher Ajay Mago from the French Hachette Livre after over 5 years of negotiations.

The first four albums are priced at Rs 295 and are available online at Amazon and Flipkart, as also offline. (IANS)