Connecting People, Culture and Languages

This International Translation Day, we’re #CelebratingLanguages. 

Pratham Books is all set to celebrate the power of translations and languages this week. In the last decade, we have published 4000 storybooks in 22 languages.  It has been an exciting and wonderful journey!

Multilingual content through translations is at the heart of what Pratham Books does.  It makes it possible for us to reach out to as many children as possible in so many different languages.  As we know, for children to acquire good reading skills, it is necessary for them to have access to quality reading material in their own language. It has been our constant endeavour to bridge this gap.

On StoryWeaver there are 25000+ stories in 270 languages.  There are stories in mainstream Indian languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali and even in Sanskrit.  Generally, children don’t get to read story books in the languages which are underserved and limited to specific geographical pockets. But on StoryWeaver, children can access and enjoy the books in their mother tongue languages including tribal languages such as Surjapuri, Saura, Munda, Gondi, Pawari, Kolami, Korku and many others.

Going beyond translations we are trying to build a Language Ecosystem,  respect diversity and nurture language sensibilities. This wealth of languages is a thing to cherish.
Translation is the bridge which connects people, languages and cultures. Also, translation builds the bridges of love, warmth and empathy.  Translation is the integral part of our culture and literature. As Indians, we are connected to each other through translations and then in turn, we connect to the world.

Languages, however, are dynamic by nature – retaining their very nature of openness, vibrancy and traditional richness is quite a challenge. Each language carries with it a distinct cultural code. Moreover, translating for children is a complicated process. Children are still learning to read and understand. Their relationship with language is sensory. Meaning, the language appeals to their senses- not their intellect. So the sound, the rhythm, the flow of the language and the wordplay becomes important. We need to get the essence and tone of the story right. It has to be grammatically correct.

And above all, we also want to ensure that the translated story is level appropriate; becomes a joyful reading and not a boring one.  That is why translations especially for children have to be carefully crafted.
We at Pratham Books are trying to address these challenges in many ways. Translation workshops, panel discussions, collaborations with literary organisations like Sahitya Akademi, consultations with language and translation experts have definitely enriched our understanding of the nuances of translating for children and added to the high-quality translations.

For the next six days, we will be sharing with you some of the wealth of knowledge we have gathered over the years. We will share our blogs, interviews, quotes, translation tips and video interviews and storytelling videos with you. They will give some insight into translating for children. We will also share our learnings from the past 15 years. Please watch out for this hashtag #CelebratingLanguages on our blog, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram handles.

Do join us in this celebration. We are eager to hear from you –  your experiences, questions, ideas and queries around translations.

Let us celebrate linguistic diversity and reach out to many more children with joyful stories!

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