PANAJI: According to Sunetra Jog, translating literature is all about love for it, knowledge of languages and dedication. Her work on a series of books by celebrated writer Sudha Murty, has been much acclaimed. In this Q&A with, Jog reveals her story and also gives a peek into her new book…

LNG: How has your journey been in the fascinating world of translation of great literature into Konkani language? 

SJ: I started my journey in the field of translation in the year 2012. I always loved literature, I loved reading as well as writing. Madhavi, who was my teacher in university used to tell me always that we should bring some good literature from other languages into Konkani. She used to say, you can do it…I have a library at home and I love buying books. Once I purchased Sudha Murty’s books and after reading her books, I really felt, this should come in Konkani. Someone should do it. Then a thought came to my mind, why someone? why not me? Then I searched for her email id and wrote to her. To my surprise, the reply came quickly giving permission. Then I translated her book ‘How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories’ in Konkani, Aajyek vachunk shikayle ani her kanyo. My journey in the field of translation started with this book. I have so far translated seven books of Sudha Murty. Total number of translations done is twelve books, including two Marathi books. One translation done for NBT is in print and one book is yet to go for print. 

LNG: How was the experience of translating Sudhaji’s work and which book has given you the most amount of creative satisfaction? 

SJ:It was a great feeling. The first book I did was ‘How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories.’ I finished it within a month. I enjoyed it fully. I never had imagined I will do something in this field. But I am happy that I could contribute a little share by doing these translations. I also enjoyed the maximum creative satisfaction from my first translation. I loved her writing. Her writing is simple yet touching. She writes about her life experiences. There is lot to learn from her experiences. 

LNG: Tell us something about the new book that you are coming out with.

SJ: My new book is coming soon. It’s a translation of Marathi book by Anuradha Prabhudesai. The Title is ‘Tumchya Falya Khatir aaplo Aaj divpi Sainik.’ I didn’t know anything about Anuradha Prabhudesai and her work till last December. Recently, to be precise, in December, I happened to read an article about Anuradha Prabhudesai on Facebook. She is the founder of Lakshya Foundation which works to bridge the gap between the armed forces and the civilians. It mentioned about her book ‘Sainik’, which is on soldiers. So I ordered the book. When I started reading it, I just couldn’t keep it down, I couldn’t control my tears. I finished it at around 12.30 night and messaged my friend to tell about it. He gave me her phone number. Next morning, I messaged her and told that I loved the book and asked her permission for translating it in Konkani. She told me to contact the publisher. Thus it started. I had written to her on 24th December and you won’t believe, but after completing all the formalities of taking permission, finding a publisher and all, I finished it on 20th January. It took me just one week to finish it. This is because the book was haunting me at the back of my mind, even when I used to finish my day-to-day work like cooking. I wasn’t in this world at all. I used to finish my work mechanically, and sit with the book. This has happened for the first time in my life.

LNG: What are qualities required to be a great translator? 

SJ: You should have good command over source language and target language. You should have love for literature and dedication towards whatever you do.

LNG. What are the challenges faced by a translator?

SJ: Finding a good book, a good publisher, good knowledge of languages etc.  

LNG: Translating seems one of the most lucrative skills now considering that pandemic has badly affected the job industry. Tell us about the prospects.

SJ: If one has a good command over the languages you know, you can become a translator. For me, I had just thought of doing at least one book of Sudha Murty but ended up doing seven of her books. Plus, I did two books in Marathi also. It all depends on you. Once people know you are a translator, people approach you with their work. I do translations because it’s my passion, I love to do it. But apart from this, many people approached me asking to do translations and I do that also. I do that for earning and I translate books for the love of literature. This is such a job which one can do from home. So even in this pandemic, when many people have lost their jobs, or salary has been cut off and so on, I still work from home and another benefit is that you can accept the work if it’s ok or if and when you are free, otherwise you can refuse it. So far, I haven’t faced any problem. I receive my work on email, I send it back and get paid for the work, directly to my bank account. It’s so simple!


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