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Friday, January 28, 2011 : Books translated in Indian Languages: A literary phenomenon breeding a new crop of readers

I was pleasantly surprised to see Chetan Bhagat's bestselling novel Five Point Someone in Hindi at a bookstall while I was visiting a remote area on the suburbs. This was probably not a fluke sighting by me. In fact, translated novels in India are selling like hot cakes and are flying off the shelves in no time at all. Translated novels have completely revolutionized the reading culture all over the world and expanded the reach of the novels to include non English speaking readers. A recent Economic Times article focused on this emerging trend by the publishers to translate foreign language books into Indian language and shed light on a newer crop of readers that has emerged out of this growing trend. These are the non English speaking people of India who for long were devoid of an opportunity to be exposed to some of the bestsellers and masterpieces of the literary world, primarily due to the language constraints. The article also highlights the huge potential of the international market of translation services in India.

Such a transformation was not made overnight. In fact, it has long been an ignored perspective of the publishing sector and only recently have the publishing houses started catering to it. The sudden change in guard has been brought about by the growing demands of the non English speaking readers who felt deprived and isolated from the international literary scene. These are the people who have the same dreams and aspirations as their English speaking counterparts and want to equip themselves accordingly with the very best that the literary world has to offer. They want to imbibe the teachings and suggestions of some of the noted literary scholars who have changed and shaped the life of millions with their expert knowledge and advice. Hence the sudden splurge in the demand of the translated books and novels highlights the growing need of the non English speaking masses of the country to be well informed and educated on various issues. If the people living in far flung and remote areas are not well informed and ignorant of various issues, it is primarily due to the language barrier that prohibits them from being well read. Thankfully, that is changing now with publishers translating some of the most popular titles in various local languages spoken across the length and breadth of the country.

The enhanced accessibility and reach of the foreign language books translated in various local languages of the country is sure to create a well read India where everyone is a winner in his own literary rights. So if the next business tycoon is born out of the non English speaking rural India, don't be amazed as he has the power vested in him by the international management gurus, albeit in his own language, of course.