V S Achuthanandan’s Press Conference - Lost in Translation?
A major controversy is going on in India after the Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan visited Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s house and his subsequent press conference in Bangalore. The entire North Indian press has projected it as “a proof of a politician insulting a great son of India who laid down his life for our country”. After the Mumbai blast the selling point for the media has been blasting the politicians and the Kerala Chief Minister has been caught in it.
I have seen the entire news conference again and again. I don’t see anything so insulting that V S Achuthanandan made in that press conference. The translation that comes in the right hand side of the screen is the problem. It is completely wrong and looks like Google translation. They translated word by word literally and if you go by that what Kerala Chief Minister said was very bad and there lies the problem.
Here is what he told – first in Malayalam “സന്ദീപിന്റെ വീടല്ലെങ്കില് ഒരു പട്ടി തിരിഞ്ഞു നോക്കുമോ അവിടെ?”.
For those who cannot read Malayalam but can understand Malayalam here is what he told in Manglish “sandeepinte veedallaenkil oru PATTI THIRINJU NOKKUMOO AVIDE?”
“PATTI THIRINJU NOKKUMOO AVIDE” is slang in Malayalam that means “NO ONE WOULD HAVE TURNED UP”. So what was the translation given by TV channel? “IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR SANDEEP’S HOUSE, NOT EVEN A DOG WOULD HAVE GLANCED THAT WAY”
I remember a story. Once a person who didn’t know English well was writing a letter in English. He wanted to write “I am well and hope you are also well”. But he was doing a word by word translation and he ended up like this “I am well and hope you are also in the well”. Just see how the addition of two words and the rearrangement of words changed the meaning of the sentence. This is exactly what has happened here.
So what is this controversy all about? Those who have seen and heard the speeches/press conferences of Kerala Chief Minister know that whenever he talks, usages like this are so common. Media and opposition parties were quick to make a big noise out of it that I believe was a translational error. If you have read my blogs you may be aware that I have blasted V S Achuthanandan several times in my blog. But this time I feel he is being bombarded for something he may have not even meant in his dreams.
It is high time we stop making non issues a major issue and instead concentrate on the serious issues we face as a nation.