Noted writer, editor and literary translator, Ira Pande doesn't agree with the common opinion that regional literature doesn't flourish in India. "It's not that regional writing doesn't flourish in India, it's just that it's invisible to English readers. This is one of the reasons I've chosen to translate. I feel that there's such a wealth of regional literature that those of us who are comfortable in two languages owe it to outstanding writers who don't write in English," she says (For more, see the video).
Ira was the winner of the recently held Crossword Book Award 2009 in the Indian Language Fiction Translation category. Her work that won her this award was the English translation of Shyam Manohar Joshi's novel, T'TA Professor.
Though Pande would be thrilled to see young people take up the responsibility translation of books in regional languages, she makes it clear that one cannot make a living off it. "One can't make a living out of being a translator, never even try it. I'm just fortunate I've won this big amount as an award. Thankfully, I don't have to rely on it to make my living; I have a job that gives me security. Maybe this is why not many people take it up as a serious occupation."
Pande's advice to young writers is very practical. She says, "Don't be romantic about your writing -- don't think you'll be the next Booker winner or the next Salman Rushdie. Writing is a hard job and not everyone who wants to write a story will be successful. Be humble about your talent, don't be cocky and arrogant."
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Video: Hitesh Harisinghani