One story, many languages: celebrating #InternationalTranslationDay

One story, many languages: celebrating #InternationalTranslationDay

Today, 30th September 2016, on the International Translation Day, we have published a story in English and 11 Indian languages, at one go:

Captain Elder brother and the whirlwind army  by P. Sainath


Read this incredible story of Captain Bhau, 94, a forgotten hero of India’s struggle for freedom as he returns to the scene of his most daring exploit in the anti-British Raj uprising that saw a parallel government established in Satara, Maharashtra, in 1943.

This story is also published in  Assamese, Bengali, GujaratiHindi, KannadaMalayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil,  Telugu and Urdu.  

We are publishing Punjabi and Gujarati translations of a story for the first time today.

PARI continues to carry the stories of rural Indians, whose  societies and communities speak well over 700 languages, some of them thousands of years old. The People’s Linguistic Survey of India tells us the country as a whole speaks some 780 languages and uses 86 different scripts.

But in terms of provision for schooling up to the 7th standard, just four per cent of those 780 are covered.

At the People’s Archive, we made a modest beginning in 2015 by translating our stories from English into Indian languages:  Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. We now have about 125 translations. All you have to do is select the language from a pulldown menu like this:


It is our aim to translate more stories and also add many more languages to our repertoire. For every language, we begin with one translator and add more as we find them or as happens often, they find us!

By publishing in multiple Indian languages, we want people everywhere to be able to read stories from all the regions of India in their own preferred language.  Let me share a few examples:

Shanti Devi who changes tyres, fixes punctures, repairs engines – and breaks stereotypes, works from the outskirts of Delhi. Read her story – The pragmatic mechanic – in Urdu:  ایککاروباریمیکینک

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The last post – and a bridge too far: this story about a remote village without a post office in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand can be read in Bengali:  শেষ ডাকএবং বহুদূরের সেতু

Benz and the Banjara: Hirabai Rathod is talked into buying a new tractor through a bank loan at over 15% interest when the same banks lend at 7% to well-off buyers of Mercedes cars. This story of the adivasi farmer from Aurangabad, Maharashtra can be read in Malayalam:  ബെൻസും ബഞ്ജാരയും

Mending soles: ‘I repair what is broken’ : the story of Bhamabai, a shoe repairer from Osmanabad who migrated to Pune during the drought years of the ‘70s can be read in Hindi:  फटे जूतों की मरम्मत: ‘जो टूटा है उसे मैं ठीक करती हूं

The Barefoot Conservator – Debal Deb’s 1000-and-growing in-situ rice conservation bank is a strong pitch for ending our dash towards genetic erosion. This story from Orissa can be read in Tamil: பாரம்பரிய விதைகளின் பாதுகாவலர்

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Small farmer, big heart, miracle bike – Read this story of Chandra Subramanian, a single mom, cultivator and retailer in Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu, in Telugu: చిన్న రైతు, ఆకాశమంత మనసు, మ్యాజిక్ బైక్

The four-legged first citizens of Amaravati –  Goats are the earliest new entrants in Andhra Pradesh’s futuristic captital city. Read this interesting story by Young India Fellows of the Ashoka Univ. in Assamese: অমৰাৱতী চাৰিঠেঙীয়াপ্ৰথম নাগৰিক

We also have stories that are originally written in an Indian language and translated to English: like this award-winning story of a hundred year old school in Chhattisgarh: Making history, heading for a hundred

Every video on PARI, records the story of a person or people in their language, and has subtitles in English. Moreover, we also have subtitles in other languages. Although this is one area – video subtitles – where we are trying to catchup on the translations, here is one of my favourite videos:

Kali: The dancer and his dreams – this beautiful video is in Tamil. You can choose to read the subtitles in English, Hindi, Bengali or Marathi by making a selection in the video settings.

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We have also begun efforts to bring out stories written in Indian languages which will be translated to English and other languages.

Congratulations to all our translators! We are grateful for their efforts always. Especially today, we applaud and celebrate their passion for languages on the #InternationalTranslationDay:

Usha Turuga-Revelli, Ruchi Varshneya, Pallavi Malshe, Qamar Tabrez, Pallavi Kulkarni, Pu. Ko. Saravanan, Vishnu Varatharajan, Nibha Rani Roy, Biswajit Ray, Shirish Khare, Chaman Lal, Medha Kale, Chintha T K, Debasmita Bhowmik, N. Sandhyarani,  Prasad Naik, Santosh Tamrapani, Shama Nandibetta, Uma Maheshwari, Subramanian Sundararaman, Chitra Satish, G. N. Mohan and the team of translators at Crazy Frog Media Features for Kannada translations, and some more language enthusiasts who remain unnamed.

We will soon be writing to all our volunteers to get in touch if they are interested in translating. So a small note to our readers as well:  if you would like to translate PARI stories, please get in touch with us:

Do read, watch and enjoy PARI stories in all the languages they are in. Happy #InternationalTranslationDay!