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Mother my tongue

TintIn America Mein,Tintin Aur Kala Dweep,Tuta Hua Kaan,Neel Kamal—the comic strip adventures of the celebrated journalist are now available in Hindi.

Written by Parul |
April 21, 2010 11:22:29 pm

From works by Enid Blyton to Jhumpa Lahiri to timeless comics like Herge’s Tintin,Hindi translations are reaching out to a wide readership

Tintin America Mein,Tintin Aur Kala Dweep,Tuta Hua Kaan,Neel Kamal—the comic strip adventures of the celebrated journalist are now available in Hindi. In fact,these Tintin books are symptomatic of a larger trend of translating popular works in to Hindi to make them available to a wide readership. Excellent printing,combined with easy-flowing language and at a price half the English counterpart,the translations have been a commercial success.

Tintin is published in Hindi by Om Books International India. Sanjeev Mago of the publishing house feels that popular books should not remain restricted to only those who know English. “Tintin has already been translated into several languages around the world. We are stringent about quality,and make sure the language is simple and absorbing,’’ he says. Acknowledging that quality books for children were difficult to find,Mago says they plan to release all 24 Tintin titles (currently,only eight are on the shelves). Interestingly,Snowy is called Natkhat in Hindi,while detectives Thomson and Thompson have been christened Santu and Bantu,while Tintin’s favourite expletive ‘great snakes’ has been changed to ‘baal ki khaal’.

Bhopal-based Manjul Publications is a publishing house that offers Hindi translations of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven series,priced at Rs 85. Predictably,the complete Harry Potter series has also been very popular(all except the last book are available). “These are popular reads and many people want to read them in Hindi. There is no reason why children from smaller towns and rural areas should feel excluded. The adventures of Harry Potter or the escapades of Secret Seven,have,after all,stood the test of time,” says Abhishek Shukla,a content writer here.

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The aim is to keep the language simple and fluid,with entire teams researching the kind of content a reader would prefer. “The challenge is to retain the essence and emotions of the original without losing it in translation,” he adds. Books on self-improvement and health are also proving to be popular picks,Shukla points out,with titles like Khaiye Aur Wazan Ghataiye instantly selling out.

Marketing gimmicks are often employed to popularise the titles. HarperCollins India launched The Chronicles of Narnia in Hindi with a marketing blitzkrieg barely seen for a translated work in this country. Tying up with PVR Cinemas and Disney,they gave away free tickets and T-shirts. In two months,they sold 50,000-60,000 copies in Hindi and English.

Cashing in on the trend,Random House has translated Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth,Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger,Manju Kapur’s The Immigrant and Gursharan Das’s India Unbound,the last titled Mukt Bharat. “The quality of paper and marketing are both top-notch,’’ says Pankaj P Singh of Browser. Read on.

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First published on: 21-04-2010 at 11:22:29 pm

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