Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Are you getting correct Tamil translation?



Are you a Translating Company having employees not knowing Tamil? Are you a client of a Translating Company that engages In-house or Freelance Translators for Tamil translation? Then Beware!!! Probably you are made to believe what is dumped on you is Tamil and unknowingly you are doing disservice to one of the oldest, beautiful and classical languages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The very term “Tamil”, which is a wrong spelling, is derived from the original word “Thamizh” since the non-Thamizh people could not pronounce the letter “zh” which is peculiar to Thamizh, French and Malayalam languages. The letter “j” in French pronounces like “zh” in Thamizh. Anyway for the purpose of this document let me follow the term Tamil as it may confuse those who had been “Goebellsed” with that term.  

Till 50s, Tamil was taught in its original form that had 13 vowels and 24 consonants. Thereafter, due to emergence of a particular movement, which was opposed to Sanskrit, stating that it belonged to the mythical Aryans, of which the Brahmins were a part, against whom the people belonging to the movement cultivated hatred among non-Brahmins, the language started degenerating to the present condition. The main reason was the non-Brahmins, who were part of this movement, could not pronounce properly the letters ஷ் (“Sha”), ஸ் (“Sa”), க்ஷ் (“Ksha”), ஹ் (“Ha”), ஜ் (“J”), ஸ்ரீ (“Shree”). Due to the lack of diction and intonation, these people pretended that these letters are not the Tamil ones but imported from “Grantham” (a language that existed among Brahmins which had the pronunciation Sanskrit but the characters of Tamil circular letters Sanskritised). There is no equivalent letter in Tamil for the “Z” of English which is either treated as “J” or “S” depending upon the context and the word actually it means. After the intervention of the neo Dravidians, there are only 18 consonants barring the 6 mentioned above. This has made Tamil a mocking stock and unreadable in most cases since the words that are written in Tamil from other languages using only these 18 letters, especially the proper nouns, do not render correct pronunciation. In between there is another confusion where there is a section that claims that the Sri Lankan Tamil is only the proper Tamil. Though the Tamil spoken in Malaysia/Singapore is a bit different from the original Tamil, it is tolerable and better than Sri Lankan Tamil, which has also emanated out of lack of ability to intonate properly or poor diction. Unlike Sri Lankans, who claim that YazhpaNam Tamil is the purest and the best, Malaysian/Singaporean Tamils never claimed as such. In Tamil Nadu itself there are various dialects of Tamil, which only the regional people speaking that type will understand e.g., People belonging to Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Nagar koil distort the original by mixing Malayalam and speak Tamil differently. You cannot understand the Tamil spoken in Chennai by a section of people living here for which a separate glossary exists. Unfortunately, many translators follow this Tamil for translation as well teaching Tamil to Westerners. The Tamil spoken more or less in Tiruchi, Tanjavur, and Madurai may be called the least corrupted one and is almost understood by anyone all over the world. This is the Tamil which everyone likes, understands, speaks and prefers all over the world.  
Thus, we have seen that Tamil is the most suffering language at the hands of the so called champions of Tamil who are slowly killing one of the most beautiful languages. It is said that if one eye is Sanskrit the other one is Tamil and from these two languages only most of other languages in the world originated. The status is that Sanskrit is almost killed and Tamil is following it. There are people who decry that while English is growing, Tamil is not growing. It’s just because English had adopted several words from other languages and is very flexible. Further, it is expanding in spite of its destruction by the Americans, who have, in the name of simplification, have developed their own slangs and dialect to distort it altogether. In spite of this, the original English marches ahead. In Tamil also there are good people who are against the movement and still continue with the original Tamil of 24 letters. They are the people who introduced a new letter “ஃப்” for “F”  since unlike Sanskrit and Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, that follow the Sanskrit script, Tamil has only one “K” no “g”,  “Ch”, “J”, “t”, D”, “th”, “dh”, “p”, “b”. To identify the correct intonation, the only recourse is practice. These people have simplified it further by printing the other letter in bold or by adding a dot, hyphen etc. Such constructive minded people only are required to keep Tamil alive and not the ones who introduced politics and caste into this wonderful language and removed already a few letters that were useful to write it well for pronunciation and understanding purpose. 

It is a pity that even one of the greatest Universities like Madras University has fallen prey to this unwarranted movement since it is filled up with such Tamilians who cannot pronounce Tamil with proper diction or intonation. This is the pitiable situation even in Tamil TV channels, some of which are owned by these so called champions of Tamil. In one of these channels, a Tamil stalwart, a research scholar does not know the equivalent Tamil word for "all rounder". The same gentleman when asked for a Tamil equivalent word for "Coffee" says that we can call it "Kaappee", to enable it to appear as a Tamil word. Why one should bother like the people in the movement to convert coffee as "கொட்டை வடி நீர் குழம்பி" or "காப்பி" instead of just writing it as காஃபி which also everyone can understand? Our humble suggestion is let such people keep quiet and stay away from Tamil instead of trying to Tamilise everything.  If we write "காஃபி” it pronounces the sound of "f" clearly instead of sounding it as "p" suggested by the people of the movement. Like this no harm will happen in using the same terms in the case of all scientific or technological terms, just by transliterating instead of trying to translate and make it very difficult to remember or understand and put your poor Tamil boys in awkward situation when they have to for higher studies in English medium. If you want to be a Tamil Fundamentalist/Chauvinist/Fanatic, you may show this in bracket. For example, the term "Sulphur" can be transliterated as "ஸல்ஃபர்" instead of "கந்தகம்" so that when the boy/girl reading this can understand it even if he/she has to study it later in English medium where your Tamilised term "கந்தகம்" will not come to help.  Remember that this word also is not a Tamil word but a Sanskrit word. These champions are using a lot of Sanskrit words in Tamil as they are unaware of the Tamil equivalents but are averse to using the 6 consonants! Sheer hypocrisy!! If you closely watch, they even have their names suffixing "Swamy", "Swami", "Das", "Doss", "Nidhi", "Moorthy", "Murthy", "Murti" etc etc, all are nothing but pure Sanskrit words.

Below are some examples

Before reading, try to know the pronunciation:

Letter
How to pronounce
Letter
How to pronounce
English
Tamil

English
Tamil

a
Like 'u' in 'urban'
n
ந்
Like the 'n' in 'nine' without stress
A or aa
Like the 'a' in 'army'
p
ப்
Like the 'p' in 'cup'
i
Like the 'i' in ‘pin’
m
ம்
Like the 'm' in 'rim'
I or ee
Like the 'ee' in 'eel'
y
ய்
Like the 'y' in 'guy'
u
Like the 'u ' in 'utensil'
r
ர்
Like the 'r' in 'tar' without stress
U or oo
Like the 'oo' in 'tooth'
l
ல்
Like the 'l' in 'Love' without stress
e
Like the 'a' in 'air'
v
வ்
Like the 'v' in 'move'
E or ae
Like the 'e' in 'elephant'
zh, z
ழ்
to stress 'y' pressing the tongue to palate
ai
Like the 'ai' in 'aisle'
L
ள்
Like the 'l' in 'glue' but stressing the 'l' hard
o
Like the 'o' in 'one'
R
ற்
Like the 'r' in 'grrr..' stressing the 'r' hard
O
Like the 'o' in 'Ocean'
n
ன்
Like the 'n' in 'nine' without stress
au or ou
Like the 'awe' in 'awesome'
ph or f
ஃப்
Like the 'f' in 'puff' or 'ph' in 'phil'
க்
Like the 'k' in 'tick'
sh
ஷ்
Like the 'sh' in 'push'
ng
ங்
Like the 'ng' in 'ring'
S
ஸ்
Like the 'S' in 'miss'
ch
ச்
Like the 'ch' in 'churn'
ksh
க்ஷ்
Like the 'ksh' in 'Akshaya'
gn or jn
ஞ்
a nasal sound produced uttering "nya" together
h
ஹ்
Like the 'h' in 'Brahmaputra'
t
ட்
Like the 't' in 'cat'
j
ஜ்
Like the 'g' in 'surge'
N
ண்
Like the 'N' in 'thunder' or 'tender' stressing the n hard
shree
ஸ்ரீ
Like the 'shree' in 'Rajyashree'
th
த்
Like the 'th' in 'thick'




Let us begin with names like Raman, Ramaswamy, Ramasamy etc

These can be written in Tamil simply as ராமன்,”ராமஸ்வாமி”, ராமஸாமிetc respectively, instead as இராமன் (iraaman),”இராமசுவாமி(iraamachuvaaami),இராமசாமி (iraamachaami) etc (suggested by the D M supporters who quote the great poet 'Kamban"). In fact Kamban wanted to have his own style and never pretended to show that what he was writing is Tamil though he knew he was using a Sanskrit word but tried to transliterate it in Tamil. To me he was also a sort of fanatic and is partly responsible for these people in destroying the beautiful language. Kamban might have written "LakshmaN" as "Ilakkuvan", "VibheeshaN" as "VeeDaNan", "Dhasharatha" as "dhayarathan" etc but that cannot become standard and mask the Sanskrit words to project them as Tamil. These scholars also take recourse to Tamil grammar in this regard. Personally, I strongly object to this since you cannot Tamilise a Sanskrit word in the garb of grammar.  Do you like your sweet name to be distorted on the pretext of grammar or because someone distorted it for his/her own end?   If you deeply analyze, it consumes more printing ink when you print additional letters like the extra prefix "i".   
     
Raktham is blood in Sanskrit. These scholars write it "iraththam" as if they scrupulously follow the grammar. What is wrong if you write as ”ரத்தம்or “ரக்தம். In the same fashion they distort "Rathnam", "Rail", "RahaSyam" etc.

There are a lot of such distortions just to satisfy their ego that they do not use a northern language word or a word used by a Brahmin etc. But at times it gives very obnoxious meaning or absurd pronunciation, if you follow their advice and translate. The same people are unable to follow their own advice at times and track back while writing certain words.

For instance, have you ever seen these advocates translating "Bajji" in Tamil? They do not use the letter "ch" in place of "j" though they advise. They just write "பஜ்ஜி" which they should write as "பச்சி" if they are truthful. For this matter, they should translate "Jammu & Kashmir" as "சம்மு காச்மீர்" (Chammu Kachmeer) but they translate as "ஜம்மு காச்மீர்" (Jammu Kaachmeer) absurdly, partly breaking their own rules! We translate it as "ஜம்மு காஷ்மீர்" (Jammu Kashmir) only so that anyone reading ours will clearly pronounce as they read the original but if they read their translation they will pronounce wrongly!! Steel is not translated as "chteel" in Tamil but transliterated as "Steel" only mostly, even though there is a pure Tamil word "urukku". They even transliterate the words "Jaameen" (Bail), "Aajar" (present in physical form) etc even though pure Tamil words are available and understood by even common man. That is why we call such people who boast their Tamil is the only pure Tamil and understandable as hypocrites. 

Here is a case of a Sanskrit word "Jwaram" meaning fever. These people write it as "Churam" even though there is a pure Tamil word "kAychchal. We use that word or if asked to transliterate we write as "Juram" which is a Tamil word adopted from Sanskrit and pronounced to mean the mother word. The word translated by the advocates of the movement also mean "note" in music and one can get confused if context is not provided. Similar is the case with the word "nOy" in Tamil which means disease and is termed as "Vyaadhi" in Sanskrit.  Either of these you can write in Tamil and people will still understand. Our translation does not need context to understand and is easy to read and understand at the first instance itself without recourse to dictionaries or glossaries!!

Even today there no word for cyclostyling and they just transliterate. When they do not favour the letters 'S" and "sh", why do they write still Stalin or Subash as they are instead of "Chtalin" or "Chubash"? As for the Tamil grammar, no sentence should begin with a dotted consonant. Then how come they use Stalin or similar such words at the beginning of a sentence?

The funniest part is the transliteration of "Tiffin Box" which is partly as per their choice and partly as it is since they have no other go. If they stick to their principles, they should write fully as டிபன் பாக்ச் "Tipan baakch" instead of டிபன் பாக்ஸ் "Tipan baakS". To avoid this sort of confusion, we write always டிஃபன் பாக்ஸ் to bring the transliteration to the nearest pronounceable form.  This is the case with the words Ration, Station etc where both "cha" and "sha" are used, read and understood. Then why is this hypocrisy? There are thousands and thousands of such instances where these people have failed in their mission in distorting Tamil.

What we request them is: Please keep quiet if you want Tamil to grow. Tamil does not require champions like you. It will take care of itself.

At Dobash Trans they are approached for final review of all Tamil Translations and all such bad translations are rectified here. A certificate from Dobash Trans always ensures that you have a correct Tamil translation!!

If you have any doubt about your Tamil, please approach us or write to us. We will guide you to the correctly.

5 comments:

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