The text you read is a translation of a story by a well-known Malayalam writer, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer.

In translating a story from one language to another, a translator must keep the content intact. However, the language and the style differ in different translations of the same text.

Here are two translations of the opening paragraphs of a novel by the Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami. Read them and answer the questions given below.



When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie , which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.

I wanted to ignore the phone, not only because the spaghetti was nearly done, but because Claudio Abbado was bringing the London Symphony to its musical climax.

I’m in the kitchen cooking spaghetti when the woman calls. Another moment until the spaghetti is done; there I am, whistling the prelude to Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra along with the FM radio. Perfect spaghetti-cooking music!

I hear the telephone ring but tell myself, Ignore it. Let the spaghetti finish cooking. It’s almost done, and besides, Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony Orchestra are coming to a crescendo.

Compare the two translations on the basis of the following points.

• the tense of narration (past and present tense)

• short, incomplete sentences

• sentence length

Which of these translations do you like? Give reasons for your choice.

On comparing the tense of narration used in the two translations, we find that while translation A uses the present tense, translation B uses the past tense to narrate the events. Besides, compared to those in translation B, the sentences in translation A are lengthier, using a number of conjunctions and modifiers. Translation B uses sentences that are short and conversational and, at times, incomplete.

I think translation A is better than translation B because even though the sentences in this translation are long, yet they are complete.

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