Posted tagged ‘Devanagari’

Translation 57. The Propagation of Hindi. Kaushal Srivastava’s Recent Contribution

30 June 2017

 

 

Over a number of years since his retirement from a teaching and research career as Professor of Physics in India, UK, USA and Australia, Dr. Kaushal Srivastava has enthusiastically carved out a special niche in contemporary Hindi literature as a writer of bilingual Hindi and English poetry and short stories, with a focus on 21st  century globalisation and multiculturism, with particular reference to India and the Anglosphere.  (Bibliographical details are given at the end of this article.)

His latest volume of poetry (Kavita Saagar. Naye Yug Kee Tasveer) adds a valuable new dimension to his work by showing how the use of a simple roman transliteration system for Hindi’s Devanagari script can expand the readership, and the spread, of the Hindi language (both in northern India and in the enormous Indian diaspora). He is especially interested in the needs of those whose ability to read and write Devanagari is limited. In his praakkathan (Preface) he himself acknowledges a debt to Google Transliteration, just as many others, including myself, acknowledge the boon of Google Translation’s magical instantaneous transliteration of roman script into Devanagari to further our studies.

Dr. Srivastava is in very good company. In a 2016 blog and e-book, I quoted prominent Indian intellectuals Ramchandra Guha and Harish Trivedi on the relevant subject of the decline of full bilingualness in contemporary India.

As a quick reference to Wikipedia’s article on Devanagari Transliteration will show, the various (mainly academic) transliteration systems of Devanagari to roman are effective but much too complex for quick writing or typing (for example in text messages or social media).

The attraction of Srivastava’s simple basic transliteration system is immediately obvious in this new bilingual book of poetry, which should inspire other poets and short story writers to follow his example. It is also to be hoped that Urdu writers will be able to find a similarly simple but effective transliteration system from Urdu Nastaliq script to roman. This would help Hindi speakers to read Urdu more easily and to appreciate how very similar the two languages are.

I would respectfully suggest that, in the revised edition of this work, it would be preferable to give a very short explanation of the transliteration system chosen. In the meantime, since Dr. Srivastava’s  painstaking translations speak for themselves, interested readers should go straight to the roman versions of the poems to see the details. The following short extracts will give a good idea of the usefulness of the system. In the three extracts, readers will notice the vowels aa, ee, and oo, as well as consonants Na, NNa, Ta, Tha, Ra, Sha and Ta. Other symbols used by Srivastava in the book are ii, uu, RRi, Da, Dha, Rha, and Ma. (He also uses capital letters for proper nouns and in titles.)

Note: In my own lexicographical work and especially in the documentation of a few thousand English loanwords in Hindi, I have used all the above, as well as one or two more roman vowel combinations and a few more capital letters (taking advantage of the fact that Devanagari does not use capitals). I intend to reveal my system in a later blog.

Samples from Dr Srivastava’s book

2.14 VarShaa Raanee BaRee Suhaanee

griShmakaal meN tapatee dharatee sookhe baag bageeche

phooloN ke sundar chehroN par paR gae kaale dhabbe,

sooraj kee teekhee garmee ne kiyaa haal behaal

peene ke paanee par bhee aayaa saNkaT kaal,

bheeR bharee saRakeN jaise lagatee haiN khaalee-khaalee

khatma ho rahee tejee se khetoN kee hariyalee.

*

4.8 Teen Akelee LaRakiyaaN  (Verse 7)

agale saptaah ek shaadee samaaroh meN gayaa

vahaaN teen yuvatiyaaN apane puruSh-mitroN ke saath theeN,

preeti-bhoj raNgeen thaa

saboN kee nazar un yuvatiyoN par thee,

ek buzurga pitaa ne un yuvatiyoN se kahaa

‘beTee, paarTee meN akelee mat aayaa karo

samaaj kee dRiShTi kutsit hai.’

2.13 Jalavaayu Parivartan

yah hai Melbourne kaa vistrit praangaNN

jisakaa prakriti karatee hai anupam shriNgaar

isake aabhooShaNN haiN

Dandenong pahaaRiyoN par hariyaalee kee shriNkhalaa

door-door tak phailaa sunahalaa samudra taT

aur chaturdik lahalahaataa vrikshoN kaa vriNd.

jise kaee baar milaa hai

sarvashreShTha vaishvik shahar kaa sammaan

jo hai Australia ke mukuT kaa chamakataa ratna,

yahee hai hamaaraa Melbourne!

[Suggested amendments: melborN, DaNdeenoNg, ausTreliyaa]

Kaushal K. Srivastava’s bilingual poetry:

Kavita DarpaNN, New Delhi,Vani Prakashan, 2013.

English Translations:  Beyond Blue Oceans. One World, One People, Kindle edition, 2013. ISBN-10: 149279970X  

Kavita Kalash (SaaNskritik SaNgam kaa DarpaNN), Kindle edition, 2014. ISBN-10: 1502909855

English Translations and Adaptations: Reflections: Poetry of Composite Culture, Kindle Edition,  Amazon.com, 2014.

Kaushal Kishor Srivastava, Kavita Saagar, Naye Yug kee Tasveer. (In Devanagari and Roman scripts), May, 2017.  [Sea of Poetry, A Picture of the New Age /Era.]  ISBN-13: 978-1544088259. ISBN-10: 1 544088256. Available from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.in, Amazon.com

 

 

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Translation 49. French loanwords in English. Pronunciation Guide for Hindi speakers. Introduction

23 December 2014

The bi- and trilingual abilities of Indians are well-known and greatly admired or envied, especially by monolinguals. Another established fact is that those who are proficient in Hindi and English also tend to use (or understand) a large number of English loanwords even when speaking, writing, or listening to Hindi. (The rise of Hinglish, although obviously related, is a separate issue.)

Although these English loanwords in Hindi (my latest count is 3,000) are adapted to the phonology of Hindi and the Devanagari script, their English origin is still quite clear in a majority of cases. That in itself I find quite remarkable  ̶  perhaps unique. (As instant proof, listen to any news bulletin in Hindi.) (For more examples, see here.

English is also the depository of loanwords from many languages, including, for almost 1,000 years, French, which has had a major influence in the development of the English lexicon. Bilingual speakers of Hindi and English will be well aware of many of these French borrowings but I wonder to what extent they transfer these French borrowings into their use of Hindi. Having tested the phonetic adaptability of many French loanwords into Hindi, I have found the results to be almost as satisfactory as the English loanwords. Therefore, where relevant, they could be inserted into bilingual English and Hindi dictionaries. (The same applies, of course, to the vast number of English loanwords in Hindi, but that is not relevant to my point here.)

The rest of this introductory article is an attempt to show how a romanised transliteration of French loanwords can help Hindi speakers to pronounce the words in the (more or less) French way that they are pronounced in contemporary English, whether they are using them in their English or in their Hindi.

Possible further articles may enlarge on these preliminary findings and underline the usefulness of transliterating more of the French borrowings in teaching materials for courses on English as a second Language for speakers of Hindi.

French loanwords are present in large numbers in English dictionaries, but they are particularly noticeable in those areas in which France has excelled, like diplomacy, politics and military affairs, the arts, sports, fashion and perfumes, gastronomy (and kweezeen – cuisine) and oenology. Some brief specific and other general lists follow.

This is merely a Daybyoo for this topic. début डेब्यू

bauNzhoor! [zh reflects more accurately the ‘s‘ sound of the English words vision and treasure] Bonjour बॉन्जूर

auNshauNTe! Enchanté! ऑनशॉन्टे

bauN vwaayaazh! [w is the ‘soft’ pronunciation variant of Hindi v.] Bon voyage! बॉन व्वायाज

bauN shaaNs! Bonne chance! बॉन शौंस

*

Preliminary examples

Eating and drinking

kweezeeN, cuisine

noovail kweezeen, nouvelle cuisine [A bit passé, thank goodness!]

bauN aapayTee, Bon appétit.

kafé, café

raisTaurauN, restaurant

keesh, quiche

kaanaape, canapé

krooDiTe, crudité

paaTay duh fwaa gras, pâté de foie gras

pyooray, purée

raaTaaTooee, ratatouille

vaaN aurDeenair, vin ordinaire

pruhmyay Kroo, premier cru

krem duh mauNth, crème de menthe

Fashion (faishaN)

aa laa mauD, à la mode

Daykaulte, décolleté (and DaykaulTazh)

kaursaajh, corsage [very different from kaurTaizh – cortège]

laaNzhuhree, lingerie

o duh kaloN, eau de Cologne

oT kooTyoor, haute couture

preTaa paurte, prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear)

Arts

baalay, ballet

paa duh dur, pas de deux

Diplomacy and politics

auNsyaaN rayzheem, ancien régime

aunTauNT kaurDeeyal, Entente Cordiale

Deereezheezma, dirigisme

DeereezheesT, dirigiste

faurs maazhur, force majeure

Military

aazhauN prauvaukaTur, agent provocateur

aide duh kauM, aide-de-camp

aispree duh kaur, esprit de corps

aur duh kaumbaa, hors de combat

kaurDauN saaneeTair, cordon sanitaire

koo daytaa, coup d’état

koo duh graas, coup de grâce

Administration

ayshalauN, échelon

Description

baiT nwaar, bête noire

boorzhwaa, bourgeois

boorzhwaazee, bourgeoisie

Doobla auNTaunDra, double-entendre

kauNfeeDauN (m), confidant

kaunfeedaunT (f), confidante

maynaazh aa Trwaa, ménage à trois

pyais duh rayzeestauNs, pièce de résistance

shay Durvra, chef-d’oeuvre

Attributes

aamoor praupra, amour-propre

ahplaum, aplomb

DeesTray, distrait

naaeevtay, naiveté

panaash, panache

saNg frwaa, sangfroid

zhwaa Duh veevra, joie de vivre

Sports

aypay, épée

kauNkoor daylegauNs, concours d’élégance

Miscellaneous

Dayzhaa vyoo, déjà vu

Duh Tro, de trop [superfluous]

kree Duh kur, cri de coeur

raizauN DaiTra, raison d’être

Occupations

auNTruhprunur, entrepreneur

Nouns in -é

aymeegray, émigré

feeauNsay, fiancé, m, and fiancée, f.

prauTayzhay, protégé

rayzyoomay, résumé

Adjectives in -é

blaazay, blasé

deesTaNgay, distingué

reeskay, risqué

ruhTroosay, retroussé (turned up – esp. nose)

Sayings

plyoo saa shaaNzh (plyoo se laa maiM shoz). Plus ça change, (plus c’est la même chose.) (Nothing really changes.)

aapre mwaa luh Daylyoozh. Après moi, le déluge. (Who cares what happens when I go?)

auNee swaa kee maal ee pauNs. Honi soit qui mal y pense. (Evil be to he who thinks evil of it. [The motto of the British Order of the Garter.]

veev laa DeefayrauNs! Vive la différence! [Long may the difference continue to exist!]

reeyaaN na vaa plyoo. Rien ne va plus. (No more bets!)

*

o ruhvwaar.

aabyaaNTo?

Translation 36. Free Internet Translation Software: The Contest between Google Translate and Microsoft’s BING Translator. Russian and Hindi

13 June 2012

In my article Translation 33, I attempted a rough assessment of the efficiency of free online translation software offered by Google, Microsoft (BING), and the venerable Yahoo Babel Fish.
In this test both Google and Microsoft proved to be competent in French and Spanish (into English) translation (at this general level). My stated next step was to check the online translation of other languages with different scripts and/or syntax by taking a look at Russian (as an example of a different script, Cyrillic) and Hindi (both script, Devanagari, and syntax).  This is what is attempted in this new article (using short extracts from Russian and Hindi Wikipedias).

A preliminary and very topical comment to make is that further reference to Yahoo’s Babel Fish will not be possible here because, as of 30 May, 2012, Yahoo Babel Fish has been either subsumed into or replaced by BING Translator, as indicated in the following recent note from Microsoft:
“We are pleased to welcome Yahoo! Babel Fish users to the Bing Translator family. We have been working closely with our friends at Yahoo! to make this an easy transition, and Bing Translator is a natural upgrade to the experience with Yahoo! Babel Fish. We support all the languages you used with Babel Fish, and provide a superset of all the features.”

Let us now look at the Russian to English situation. The piece chosen is an extract of  172 words from the Russian Wikipedia article on the Indian writer, intellectual and activist, Arundhati Roy. (Section:Политическая деятельность (Politicheskaya dyeyatyel’nost’)  Political activities) The style is simple.Here are the two translations for comparison:

Google Translate: (http://translate.google.com)
Subsequently, Arundhati Roy has used his celebrity to draw public attention to important political issues. In a number of essays and speeches, it is opposed to nuclear weapons in India and neighboring Pakistan, as well as against Indian nationalism [citation needed 537 days]. She also took part in protest actions against the dam project on the Narmada River, as such projects are usually at the expense of the earth’s poorest and marginalized populations. Due to its popularity, Roy was able to attract the attention of national and international media to these problems.

Arundhati Roy’s literary activity is completely focused on illumination and critique of political and social themes. She opposed the so-called “war on terrorism” launched by the United States against the war in Iraq and against the policy of the World Bank and WTO. With its rigid stand it has become one of the best known environmental activists, anti-globalization movement and the peace.

In 2002 the High Court in Delhi has sentenced her to prison because she blamed the judges that they wanted to suppress the protests against the construction of a dam on the Narmada River. However, the symbolic conclusion was only one day. (196 words)

The Microsoft BING version: (http://www.microsofttranslator.com)

Subsequently, Arundhati Roy had used their celebrity to draw public attention to important political problems. In a number of essays and speeches, she spoke out against nuclear weapons for India and neighbouring Pakistan, as well as against Indian nationalism. She also participated in the protest activities against the dam project on the River Narmade, as such projects are carried out, usually at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised. Due to its popularity Roy was able to draw the attention of the national and international MEDIA.

Arundhati Roy completely literary activity focused on reporting and criticism of the political and social order. She opposed the so-called “war on terrorism” launched by the United States against the war in Iraq, as well as against the policies of the World Bank and the WTO. Thanks to its unwavering position it has become one of the most prominent environmental activists, peace and antiglobalizacionnogo movements.

In 2002, the Supreme Court in New Delhi sentenced her to jail because she accused judges that those would like to suppress protests against the construction of a dam on the River Narmade. However, the symbolic conclusion was only one day. (197 words)

As with the previous passages from French and Spanish, both Google and Microsoft convey an English version which makes good general sense, without reaching the standard of a professional translation. In spite of obvious flaws and errors, they are both useful to readers who do not speak Russian. More detailed examination of the translations and the Wikipedia originals will be of particular interest to professional translators and experts in Machine Translation (MT).

It would therefore seem reasonable to hypothesise that the Cyrillic script is not a special obstacle to “Western” Machine translation – just as it is reasonable to state that in learning Russian as a second language the Russian script does not present major problems in reading or writing, at least for Europeans.

Now we can move on to present for examination and comparison the performances by Google and Microsoft with an extract from Hindi Wikipedia (201 words; 10 sentences) on the same writer and activist (Section: kraaNtikaaree vichaar. Revolutionary idea). Warning: Readers may be bemused or irritated by these results.

Google

From U.S. imperialism, nuclear arms race, building dams on the Narmada, etc. Many
Local – international issues have been a voice against Arundhati Roy. But now
He believes that at least non-violent protest and civil disobedience in India
Movements is not the point.
Parliamentary system, part of the Communists and who believe in violent resistance
Arundhati admits that he caught in the Maoist ideology of Gandhi fan
Are not. In his words: – “After all, Gandhi was a superstar. When they are hungry – used to strike the
The hunger – strike were sitting on the superstar. But I do not believe in superstar politics.
If the people of the slums, hunger – strike that, no it does not care. ”

Arundhati Bajharwad that go on flowing in the flow of voices of protest in India
Being ignored. Against anti-people system, judiciary and media
Efforts have failed to impress. He said, “I understand that for us
Is very important to consider where we are right, wrong and where. We have given the arguments
They are right … But the violence did not work. ” (184 words)

Microsoft BING

US imperialism from the nuclear arms race, the Narmada dam, construction etc

Local-international issues that Arundhati Roy-voice ascendant are. But now
He believes in non-violent protests at India and civil disobedience
Movements not talk.
Became part of the parliamentary system and violent resistance in the count Communists
The Maoists of ideologies in which Arundhati admits that Gandhi’s andhabhakt
Are not. In their words-“end Gandhi a superstar. The hunger-strike, so they
The hunger-strike on superstars. But I do not mind you in the superstar.
If the people of a slum, a hunger-strike that it doesn’t care. ”
Arundhati believes that going away bazarvad flow-down of vowels in India
Unheard. janvirodhi system-the judiciary and media
Efforts have failed to impress. He said, “I think for us
It is important to consider where we are great, and where the wrong right. We gave arguments
They are right … But nonviolence is not effective.” (150 words)

These unsatisfactory performances (which, in my experience are not uncommon nor unrepresentative) clearly need much more attention and comment than the Russian translations above, or the French and Spanish ones. For Machine Translation, there is much more work to be done before satisfactory translations from Hindi to English (and some other languages) can be achieved.

From a reading of the English and without any reference to the original, the best that can be said of the translations is that they give glimpses of the subject material but they are not very useful. One can also see that the syntax is disjointed, many sentences are incomplete, and some references are inaccurate. In both Google and Microsoft versions all lines begin with a capital letter (which suggests a new sentence is beginning). From a comparison with the original one may add that the translations also offer some false information or impressions, as well as obvious problems with vocabulary identification and pronoun gender.

The reason why the Google and Microsoft translation systems have not yet been able to cope more satisfactorily with Hindi (and presumably with a number of other languages) is that they still have basic problems in identifying the complicated script, the very “different” syntax of Hindi and even the organisation of print, sentences and paragraphs.First of all, Hindi does not use upper case letters (nor italics or bold distinctions). Secondly, the main punctuation is a vertical bar as a full stop. Commas are used but often sparsely. The inability to deal with these characteristics must surely contribute to the peculiar look of the translations above, with initial capital letters at the beginning of each line.

Finally, let us look at the first sentence of the Hindi Wikipedia original (in transliterated form) to get a further glimpse of what can go wrong.

Amreekee saMraajyavaad se lekar, parmaanu hathiyaaroN ki hor, Narmada par baaNdh nirmaan aadi kaee sthaaneeye – antarrashtreeya mudhoN ke khilaaf avaaz bulaNd kartee rahee haiN arundhati raay. 

(my rough translation:)
From American imperialism, the nuclear arms race, to the construction of the Narmada Dam, etc., Arundhati Roy is raising her voice loudly on many local and international issues.

In the Hindi word order, a list of nominal groups is followed by “etc.” and then (literally) “several local-international issues against” (an example of the numerous Hindi “postpositions”, which are very basic and frequent sentence elements) and, finally, the sentence’s Verb and Subject (Arundhati Roy). Very different from: “From U.S. imperialism, nuclear arms race, building dams on the Narmada, etc. ManyLocal – international issues have been a voice against Arundhati Roy.”  and “US imperialism from the nuclear arms race, the Narmada dam, construction etc
Local-international issues that Arundhati Roy-voice ascendant are.”

I gave both systems a second chance by submitting the last part of that first sentence on its own. Without the cumbersome word order, Google did better but BING did not.

के ख़िलाफ़ आवाज़ बुलंद करती रही हैं अरुंधति राय
ke khilaaf aavaaz bulaNd kartee rahee haiN aruNdhati raay [roy]

Google: Arundhati Roy has been a voice against
BING: Is Arundhati Roy of that lofty-sounds
*

We must be grateful to Google and Microsoft for their valuable work on Hindi but we must also hope that the massive problems, briefly signposted in the above exercise, can be solved in the not too distant future. And similarly for other problem languages.

The next logical step would be to examine the quality of Google and BING translation from English into other languages. I will do my best at a later date, using the same four languages.

Au revoir. Hasta luego. Do sveedanya. Phir milenge.