21st century belongs to translators: Avvai Natarajan

Published Date: 
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The period between 2000 and 2013 can be rightly termed as an “Era of translated literary works,” according to Avvai Natarajan, former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University, Thanjavur. During the time span quite a number of popular literary titles have been translated from one language to the other. Moreover, the translators have come to be duly recognised for their contributions, he said.

Mr. Natarajan was delivering a special address at a function organised here under the aegis of the Nalli—Thisai Ettum, a quarterly magazine being run under the patronage of Nalli Kuppusamy Chettiar, for conferring the Basha Vibhushan and Basha Bhushan Awards on leading translators on Sunday. He said the mutual appreciation of the regional literature would further cement national integration. In comparison to other languages the literary works in Marathi and Bengali were the most translated ones, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of those people.

Mr. Natarajan said that it was a sad commentary that the literary circles in the North were not aware of the works of the popular writers in the South. For instance even the renowned litterateur Jayakanthan was not known in the North.

He ascribed it to the belated attempts being made to translate the literary works from Tamil to other languages and vice versa. It would be no surprise to get the translated copies of any acclaimed literary works in Kerala within a week of the release of the originals. Whereas in Tamil Nadu it would take years to get such works translated in Tamil, Mr. Natarajan said. “Many writers in the State depend upon the English works for their translation. For instance, even if there is a laudable title in Gujarati, the Tamil writers would attempt its translation only after an English version hits the market.”

On the occasion, Mr. Natarajan conferred the Basha Vibhushan award on K. Chellappan, and Basha Bhushan awards on M.A. Susila, Vaidehi Herbert of Canada, N. Manoharan of Chittoor, Poppu alias Purshothaman and N. Subramanian of Coimbatore, M. Govindarajan and V. Chaitanya of Chennai. Both the awards have been instituted by the Nalli-Thisai Ettum magazine. He also released two books. Balki and R. Natarajan organised the event.