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Urdu translation of Oe’s and Kawabata’s novels discussed

August 01, 2018

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Consul General Toshikazu Isomura speaks at the event on Tuesday.—White Star
Consul General Toshikazu Isomura speaks at the event on Tuesday.—White Star

KARACHI: Novels of Japanese Nobel Prize in Literature laureates Kenzaburo Oe and Yasunari Kawabata are now available in Urdu with the latest translation by Baqar Naqvi titled Japan ka Nobel Adab.

A poet and a renowned translator, Naqvi has over a dozen books to his credit, and at the Japan Information and Cultural Centre on Tuesday, literary and academic figures came together to discuss the merit of Naqvi’s latest Urdu translation.

The event was organised by the Pakistan Japan Literature Forum whose patron in chief Consul General of Japan Toshikazu Isomura, and founder, Khurram Sohail, were present at the panel discussion. They spoke of the necessity of translations from Japanese to Urdu to allow more cross-cultural collaboration.

Mr Isomura said the translations allowed the political and cultural aspects of Japanese life to be brought to Pakistani readers.

“This exchange will promote understanding and cooperation between the two countries and improve cultural and political relations. Mr Naqvi must be commended for his translation work. He is currently working on the translation of The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu and it will be our pleasure to launch it very soon.”

Prof Rauf Parekh was also present who commended Baqar Naqvi for his ability to write and translate with such expertise and very quickly too.

“Translating is a very difficult job as capturing the original essence of the language can be very difficult. Every language has a different temperament and not every translator can do justice to it.

“However, Baqar sahib has managed to translate in such a way that not only is it beautiful, it is also as faithful to the original text as much as possible. The translation allows the reader to envision Japan, its local milieu and the characters that inhabit that world.”

For Prof Sahar Ansari, translations allow people to connect to other cultures and other languages.

“It allows us to understand and empathise with the issues and problems other countries of the world are facing. A lot of times understanding these things through a real-life figure can be hard; however, through fiction and the characters present in it, we can get a much better idea and have well-informed opinions.”

Baqar Naqvi, he added, has done a superior job in translating the stream of consciousness style which is a very difficult style to master for which he must be applauded.

Published by Bazyaft, Karachi, Mubeen Mirza, who heads the publishing house, recalled how Baqar Naqvi’s journey saw him first as a poet.

“We found out that apart from a poetic inclination, he was a much better translator. Among his remarkable work was the translation of all lectures delivered by the 20th century Nobel laureates. The translations were published under the title Nobel Adabiyaat. This was just the start of his journey as a translator and eventually Baqar sahib turned his sight to fiction.”

As Naqvi could not attend the panel discussion, he sent a letter to the organisers which was read out to all. In the letter he expressed his love for Japan, her people, and the rich culture and history it boasts of. The letter was titled “Japan, my love.”

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018