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Potter speaks Malayalam

Dr. Radhika C. Nair, children's writer, speaks to M. S. Vidyanandan about her forthcoming Malayalam translation of `Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'.


IT IS fun time for muggles in Kerala. The teenage hero of the century, Harry Potter, now speaks Malayalam. The first in the Potter series, `Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', will soon be released in Malayalam, titled `Harry Pottarum Rasayanakallum'.

So far, the first four books in the series have been translated into around 60 languages, including the Braille version. Potter fans in the State are eagerly looking forward to the Malayalam version.

It is a dream come true for Radhika C. Nair, children's writer. Her forthcoming work, `Harry Pottarum Rasayanakallum', is more or less a word-by-word translation of the original."Story, plot, characters and even sentence structures, except a few, are the same," says Dr. Radhika.

A translator has to put in his or her best to do justice to the original work. And in the case of a trendy book such as Harry Potter, the challenge is greater, feels Dr. Radhika.


"At first, the publishers asked me to work on the first chapter. It was only after a panel of experts thoroughly went through my work that I was given the green signal", says the translator, who spent almost 16 hours daily to work on the book.

"For over a month, I spent endless hours living in a fantasy world. I even changed my daily routine to suit my work schedule. When the translated work was sent to the publisher, I felt as though something had been taken away from my life," says the writer.

About J. K. Rowling's insistence on a word-by-word translation, Dr. Radhika says, "I feel that in a story such as this, the freedom taken by a translator will put at risk the author's idea of presentation."

Moreover, in a language such as Malayalam that has a rich vocabulary, translating the text word-by-word is easy, says Dr. Radhika.

M. S. VIDYANANDAN

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