Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sabha 2011 - The Joys and Challenges of Creating Multi-lingual Content

The month of March was a fantastic one for us. We held two literary conferences called Sabha in Bangalore in Delhi. The Bangalore conference was about 'The Joys and Challenges of Creating Multi-lingual Content for Children' while the Delhi conference was about 'Creating Joyful and Accessible Content for New Readers'.

Sandhya Taksale, Editor-Pratham Books, talks about the challenges as well as the importance of creating multi-lingual content for children.

Creating multi-lingual, quality books at affordable prices for children is always a joy. Ensuring that the content is as accessible and relevant for a priviledged child in an English medium school, for a first generation learner and for a child with special needs is another aspect of spreading the joy of reading.

All books are a source of fun, joy, enjoyment and many other things. Multi-lingual books, have some other advantages also. The sharing of ideas helps improve the status of literature in vernacular languages and a positive reading attitude can be encouraged. Quality and engaging books in one's mother tongue help stimulate the reluctant reader. Translations help build bridges which allows children in one region learn about the culture and characters from other parts of India. In this day and age where regional and cultural identities are used as political tools to create hatred towards other languages and cultures, books act as sensitizing agents and could encourage readers to question the basis of such hatred.

The challenges in publishing anything for children begins with the fact that children's literature is on the periphery in many regions. Some people are also of the opinion that if you are not able to write for adults, then write for children. Translation (and especially translating for children) is not considered prestigious.

Actually, translation is a systematic and methodical effort. It needs a special kind of sensitivity and intuition. Translating for children means that the language should be simple, informal, natural and still dramatic. Many translators are carried away by the construction and clauses of original language. Incorporating the rhythm and flow of the target language is essential.

Multi-lingual production, means publishing the same book in 8 or 10 languages. It is a lengthy, complicated and energy consuming process and publication delays are a constraint.

But how do these challenges turn into joys?

A wonderful team of authors, illustrators and translators is a great asset. We will have to join hands and build bridges with many other institutions to see a book in every child's hand. It also requires non conventional ways and ideas of distribution to reach out to children. Book fairs, workshops, story telling events, approaching schools are some of the ways.

Good quality, powerful visuals, many languages, affordable price, passion to reach out.. each and every thing helps to see a book in every child's hand regardless of her class, culture, region or language. The journey of turning challenges into joys itself is very exciting.

Do share your thoughts about multi-lingual publishing at the end of this post. Also, if you are interested in translating our books, please read this post for more information.

Also read :

Sabha 2011 - Why We Held This Literary Meet

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