Many good writers of Bangladesh lose out in the international sphere solely for translations of their works not being up to par, lamented novelist Selina Hossain at Brac University on 17 July 2019.
She recalled a US publisher who had expressed interest in one of her novels at an Edinburgh book fair in 2005 and availed from her its translated version published from Bangla Academy.
The man backtracked from publishing it, saying that the translation had not been proper and the English was not for American readers, added Hossain.
Furthermore a French professor who taught South Asian literature expressed dissatisfaction with the translated version of her novel Hangor Nodi Grenade in 2015 and retranslated it with her permission before it was published by Rupa Publications in New Delhi, she said.
“I think those who will write in English will know correct Bangla and properly translate good works which have been written in Bangla without missing any part,” said the author.
Selina Hossain was addressing as chief guest the prize giving ceremony of “Scribbler’s Den”, an intra-university short story writing competition organised by the Brac University Communication and Language Club (BUCLC) to offer a platform for students to showcase creative writing skills.
Hossain expressed her delight at the contest being held in both Bangla and English.
“I believe those who will practice literature in English will take our literature before the world court because it will be hard for us to attain that level with just translations,” she said.
Three stories from each language were awarded on being shortlisted from 27 submissions in Bangla and 47 in English. The BUCLC members earlier staged a cultural program.
The event was attended by Lady Syeda Sarwat Abed, Associate Vice President for student life and Director of the Brac Institute of Languages (BIL), Assistant Professor Dilara Afroz Khan, Director of the Office of Co-curricular Activities, and BIL Lecturer Farina Haque.