Translating gigantic classic thrillers and composing own scripts simultaneously is no doubt a challenging, as well as a brain twisting job that demands unpretentious dedication, patience and practice. While speaking with Mohammad Nazim Uddin, famous for translating The Da Vinci Code into Bangla and unique thriller Zefri Begh Series, I found he is enjoying the profession of a writer absorbed in both. So was Robin Zaman Khan, Navid Hossain, and Omar Faruk - the uprising translator trio of Batighar Prokashani, Dhaka.
Robin Zaman said, "When I translate a book I feel the same interest of writing my own works."
This spirit is obtained into a translator only when s/he can unite with the feelings of the author. Translation is not merely a technical and mechanical linguistic process rather it demands to feel the inner spirit of the writer, swaying with the emotional harmony with him and finally making the whole thing accessible to readers.
Earlier, we have enjoyed a lively afternoon together at the Suhrawardi Park just a few days ago when the authors frankly shared their views to the Daily Observer.
During our discussion, Nazim Uddin regretfully pointed out the fragile and discreet flourishing of literature in our country - due to both unstable political environment and rapid change in socio-cultural life which has created a great obstacle in expanding the other sectors of entertainment especially the film. A good film demands a good storyline otherwise "only making and graphics can't make a cinema at all". On the other hand, a tendency of unnecessary show-off is hampering the spirit of literature in our country. "We are not bound to compose any kind of art or literature in a particular genre or -ism, rather we must create it in a natural way," said Nazim Uddin, "While you are writing you are working in the way how you feel, not to show how much you know. Composing an artwork is like giving birth a child and no one can define its shape before it is born. If so, then it would be something like human cloning." So did echoed Robin terming the tendency as a 'crime'.
Answering the question why the Batighar frontiers have chosen thriller as their prime interest Nazim Uddin replied plainly about his passion in reading this.
According to Navid Hossain Bangla thriller is vastly written inspired by the spy and detective stories from abroad that could not sustain in the mind of readers. "So we try to compose our thrillers from our own social context unpretentiously."
A notable quality of their translation I have found that their translation works are slightly fattier than that of the original copies as they use illustrations and footnotes so that readers can get the taste of originality.
In Zefri Begh series, readers certainly get puzzled by the appearances of the protagonist and villains that Nazim explained in his words, "The era of a totally insane villain or superhuman antagonist has been passed many years ago. So the context and flow of the story would fix the angels and demons sleeping in the characters."
Batigharis (The team of Batighar publications) are presently working with a group of new comers like Omar Faruk who translated Revolution2020 of Chetan Bhagat. I found him a good listener of our meeting and hardly talked to us about his campus life in Jahangirnagar University. But when asked about his career as a translator, he cannot but hide his excitement saying, "The feeling cannot be expressed when my book was published in a written version out of the computer screen. It's something like out of the world!"
Robin Zaman Khan, the translator of James Patterson's Along Came a Spider, a lecturer of ELT in the Eastern University, said, "When I translate or compose my own works, I always try letting the works spontaneously flourish."
When asked about the clash between the careers of an author and a researcher of Linguistics he answered candidly, "Well, Linguistics is my profession, and writing is my passion - so there's no scope of clash between them."
He expressed his firm belief about the thriller movies as well as dramas, telefilms, "If our fiction writing improves we'd not depend on the cable TV channels blindly imitating Bollywood films and styles. Moreover, flourishing our literature is one of the best remedies of our waning culture."
A goodbye silence descended on the twilight against the buzzing of home-bound people. In the meantime we saw a little boy climbing up the tall bare tree in the park to pick up some breakaway gas-balloons from its top. The Monument for Independence casted a supernatural greenish glow of the twilight over the tiny tot and us, with the last rays of the setting Sun. No doubt our literature, especially all the branches of fiction, is yet to be mature due to different socio-economic reasons. But the enlightened authors in front of me silently exposed their dedication similar to the little boy's adventurous tree climbing that a single slip in their life can bring a tragic end. But the passionate journey the Batigharis have started towards an unknown land of literature who knows one day one of them might become a lighthouse.