9/13/2012 ~ Marathi translation of A Pack of Lies

My Marathi is good enough to talk to my sister (whose Marathi is worse than mine), and not at all good enough to read the translation.

This translation happened with my technical and legal consent. There was a clause in the contract with my publisher which allowed them to sell the translation rights.  Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Neither the translator, to my shock and disappointment, nor the publisher, made ANY contact with me during the translation process. Two copies of this Marathi version arrived in my mailbox, and that was how I found out.

To start with, the title of the book translates back to English approximately as “I Will Lie” which immediately said to me that the title was chosen for market impact .  It does not say what I intended. I was not, to put it mildly, delighted. I opened the book, and with some apprehension, read the acknowledgements. And at that point I figured that I would probably drop an eyeball if I read any more. There was a clear mistake in understanding what I meant by “my sisters”, and the translator has taken the liberty of assuming my meaning without bothering to check. At that point I gave up. It seems to me, from what I could tell from reviews of the book, that basically this is now a terrible book. The publisher’s blurb on the cover also sensationalizes it for no reason, as “explosive” and so forth. Sleaze.

My mother, Gauri Deshpande, worked on several translations. She talked to the authors, or, in the case of Sir Richard, did an enormous amount of research and put a lot of thought into it, sometimes agonizing over single words. Shashi Deshpande, who translated my mother’s “Deliverance”, too, did the same. I can’t understand why a translator would not even have a phone conversation with an author whose book she is translating – I am neither dead nor unapproachable.

Anyone who has actually read it in both languages, if there is such a person, I would love to hear what you have to say. Maybe it is not as terrible as I fear. But from what little I have read, I fear it is.