Read two examples of translations from Larissa Brewer-García and Jason Grunebaum.

Excerpt from:
Alonso de Sandoval, Naturaleza, policia sagrada i profana, costumbres i ritos, disciplina i catechismo evangelico de todos etiopes (Seville: Francisco de Lyra, 1627).

In this passage, the Jesuit author warns other missionaries about the initiative sometimes taken by enslaved black interpreters to declare the catechism complete, even when priests disagree. It demonstrates the authority assumed by black language specialists as part of the Jesuit mission and their attempts to adapt the missionary enterprise to their own needs and values.

“Other times the interpreters grow tired and annoyed in the middle of the catechism, believing that what has been said is enough, insisting to the father that the catechism is complete, that he should just pour the water on them. If the father does not consent to their conviction, which would be impossible, they leave, forcing the father to search again for another interpreter to finish the catechism, creating more work [for the father] and risk for the sick man waiting to be baptized.”

“Otras veces se cansan y enfadan a medio catecismo, pareciéndoles que basta lo dicho; haciendo instancia al Padre que bueno está, que le eche el agua, y si no condesciende con su parecer, lo cual no es posible, se van; siendo fuerza volver a buscar otra para acabarle, con nuevo trabajo y riesgo del enfermo.”

From the short story “Judge Sa’b,” by Uday Prakash, transl. Jason Grunebaum, The White Review, January 2015 issue

Another reason all of us collected ourselves and stood around Sunil the paan-man’s paan stall was that Sunil himself every day was exactly the same as he had been the days before. His wife had chronic asthma, and she was taking every cure from allopathy to Ayurveda to spells and magic to herbs and balms and spices. He had five kids – two girls and three boys – with three in school. Every day, Sunil had choice words for the school that was forever demanding textbooks and notebooks and shoes and socks and uniforms that had to be a special kind and particular brand and up to a certain standard of quality and if he couldn’t come up with the goods by a fixed date then his kids wouldn’t be able to go to school – a real fear, since the schoolmarm would chase them right out of class. And he had choicer words for the school bus that took his children to school and jacked up the fees every couple of months. He swore at the government and at the oil companies who were responsible for the rise of petrol prices every month and cost him more and more to run his motorbike. He cursed his wife and kids who were responsible for the fact that he had to work like a dog and couldn’t afford to buy decent clothes for himself, or treat himself to an occasional shot of the good stuff. He cursed the police and the municipality for evicting him and his kiosk every so often, even though every week he paid them off, and then he’d have to go to court and pay a fine.

He spent seventy thousand on treatment for his father’s illness, then sat at his father’s bedside at his beck and call day and night until his spinal-cord problems were at long last cured and he once again began to get around on his own. But now he hurls the same mother/sisterf***er invective at his father since he didn’t receive one red rupee from the sale of the family land in the village, since the father signed over the entire estate to his listless hashhead brother, a duplicitous act, cunning and sly.

Hindi original, published as “जज साहब,” in Tehelka India, January 7, 2014, Issue 1 Volume 6 

सुनील पानवाले की दुकान में हम सब के हर रोज इकट्ठा होने की वजह भी यही थी कि सुनील भी हर रोज पिछले रोज की तरह ही होता था. उसकी पत्नी को क्रोनिक दमा था और एलोपैथी, आयुर्वेद से लेकर जादू-टोना और जड़ी-बूटियों तक का सहारा वह ले रहा था. पांच बच्चे थे जिनमें से तीन स्कूल जाते थे. दो लड़कियां, तीन लड़के. हर रोज वह स्कूल को गालियां देता था जो किताब-कापियों के अलावा, जूते, मोजे, बस्ता-वर्दी किसी खास तरह की, किसी खास ब्रांड और क्वालिटी की मांग करता था और अगर वह अपने बच्चों को यह सब जल्दी, किसी एक खास नियत तारीख तक खरीद कर नहीं दे पाता था, तो बच्चे स्कूल नहीं जाते थे. इस डर से क्योंकि वहां की मैडम उन्हें क्लास से भगा देती थी. वह उस बस को भी गालियां देता था जो उसके बच्चों को स्कूल ले जाती थी और हर दूसरे-तीसरे महीने उसका किराया बढ़ जाता था. वह सरकार और पेट्रोल कंपनियों को गालियां देता था जिनकी वजह से हर महीने पेट्रोल के दाम बढ़ जाते थे, जिससे उसकी पुरानी मोटर साइकिल का खर्च बढ़ जाता था. वह अपने बच्चों और पत्नी को गालियां देता था जिनकी वजह से वह दिन-रात खटता रहता था और कभी अपने पहनने के लिए ठीक कपड़ा और पीने के लिए दारू का पउआ नहीं खरीद पाता था. वह पुलिस और म्युनिसपैलिटी को गालियां देता था, जो उसके पान के खोखे को हफ्ता-वसूली के बाद भी, महीने-दो महीने में हटा देते थे और फिर उसे अदालत में जाकर जुर्माना भरना पड़ता था.

लेकिन उसने अपने साठ साल के पिता की बीमारी में सत्तर हजार खर्च कर के और उनकी दिन-रात सेवा करके, उनके स्पाइनल के रोग को ठीक करा डाला था और वे फिर से चलने फिरने लगे थे. लेकिन अब वह अपने पिता जी को भी मां-बहन की गालियां देता था क्योंकि उन्होंने गांव में जो जमीन बेची थी, उसमें उसको एक पैसा नहीं दिया था और सारी जायदाद उसके निकम्मे, गंजेड़ी भाई के नाम कर दी थी, जो बड़ी चालू चीज था.


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