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A Selection of Poems by Martin Solotruk was recently published in Hindi

Kavita Hath Badati (Poetry Reaching Out) is the title of the poetry book of Martin Solotruk translated into Hindi by Dr. Amrit Mehta. The book was published by the Aryan Publication Publishing House and we are happy to introduce you the translator's point of view.

martin-solotruk_in-hindi_kavita-hath-badati.jpgLiterary translation is a medium of knowing the "other", and bringing the readers from another linguistic area to this "other" through decoding and re-decoding certain texts, which act builds cultural bridges between the West and the East, as well as between the North and the South. It is basically an act of reprocessing a source culture into a target culture.

Till now I had been more into Slovak prose than the poetry from Slovakia, for me a traditionally rich cultural area of Middle Europe. Though I have translated poetry from German-speaking countries into Hindi, I have rarely translated poetry, which speaks the language of flesh in such an eloquently uninhibited manner. It was a revelation for me to come across this young, vibrant, delightfully vivacious poetry written by Martin Solotruk, which is an inner dialogue of a man, a Soliloquy, virtually his dialogue with someone, a female, who is not present. Here the man does not say anything directly, he has thoughts and thoughts, and thoughts do not exactly have to be precise or logical. The dialogue is such that one goes on thinking and thinking, and cannot resist the temptation of getting philosophical about what he has to say. The writers expressing themselves in the literature published in the present century have a tendency to express themselves in an intellectually brainy method. They spit out everything that they know about life. This collection is a philosophical bon mot, in which Solotruk has given expression to his experiences of a 'certain kind' in a clever manner by focussing his attention basically on one theme, viz. the man-woman relationship in a new age, where erotica plays a significant part in loving, and procreation becomes an accepted part of mating. Solotruk's technique is never exceedingly pompous or prosy, but still constantly strong in expression. He sketches words with a precise quill. His poetry, in spite of not being exceedingly pompous or prosy, is still constantly strong in expression. The language of his poems is simple, but is in no way lacking in essence of poetry.

But that does not make the job of a translator very simple, who lives in another part of the world, speaks another language, is part of another culture, has to deal with another stratum of society, which also consists of the readers of the books translated by him. There might be other social values, other cross-currents, which may even force him to censor his own trans-creation. Being the Chief Editor of a literary magazine, the source literature of which is mainly German, and which publishes foreign language literatures from various cultures into Hindi, I have a team of Editors, who translate from other foreign languages, or edit the texts of other translators, who have translated texts from the language represented by them. Last year I took Peter Jarošs' "The Millennial Bee" to India for getting it translated into Hindi. It was not possible to translate this outstanding literary work by myself, as the novel has till date been translated neither into German nor into English, but fortunately an Arabic translation was available; so I had to give it to the Editor, who can translate from Arabic into Hindi. Since I had brought along the DVD of the movie of the same name, my Editor found out that the sexual references in the book had been attenuated. I do not think that we will have to give the Arabic treatment to the Hindi translation, but in case of Elfriede Jelineks "Lust", which I had translated from German into Hindi, the translation met with a tragic end – it was published with a target text, which was truly true to the source text, but all the copies were dumped, because the publisher was advised by his "well-wishers" not to sell the book, since "due to its obscene content it could get him into trouble with the government and the moral police." Solotruk's poems are for a niche readership, therefore there is little chance of the translated copies being dumped – thanks to a distinctive clinical style adopted by the poet.

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After having translated 78 literary works from German and English into Hindi and Punjabi I have, to a certain extent, mastered the art of trans-creation, but every work has some special features in it, like this work, which verbalizes the language of a digital era, there are words and expressions, which are quite experimental word-combinations, replete with similes, hyperbole etc., like "interatomic", "polyphonohedron", "biosemiotic", "we are entwined/virtually ... virtual photon genetic/ chains of light..." etc., where a translator would not like to change the register, and let the readers think like the writer, but in his own mother-tongue. Such ultra-modern, particularly scientific and technical, semems, employed in Solotruk's poetry, necessitate the use of Sankritized vocabulary in Hindi, which I have done enthusiastically, and thus tried to make the target text sound more poetic.

– Amrit Mehta

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