Quick Jump

51 Top Book Translators of Indian languages

Introduction

The Tomb of Sand, originally written in Hindi by Geetanjali Shree and translated into English by Daisy Rockwell won the Booker International Prize this year. This has turned the spotlight on translations, translated literature, and translators in India.

In a country where 23 official languages are spoken, India is the fourth most linguistically diverse country in the world. In addition to spoken Languages and dialects, we have many languages widely spoken which don’t even feature as an official language. The Himalayan Writing Retreat is located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The local language here is Kumaoni, spoken by some 25 lakh people. Yet it is not one of the 23 official Languages. There is literature and books in Kumaoni as well.

That brings us to the most important question – where are all these books?

If you walk into a bookstore in India, the bulk of the books are in English. A few stores will have a Hindi section, which is again mostly translations of English hits like ” The Monk who sold his Ferrari” and “Atomic Habits“, a few old classics by Premchand and that’s it.

Our stories depict our culture. They are our heritage. They hold the knowledge our ancestors wanted us to gain.

Publishing houses like Aleph Books have been regularly releasing short story collections from different regional languages.  Bengali, Odiya, Hindi, Tamil, Assamese, and Gujarati are some of the collections they have already released. Others are still in the pipeline. Many others like Westland Books, Speaking Tiger Books, Women Unlimited, Niyogi books, Juggernaut, and Harper Collins have also been releasing translated works from various Indian languages. Closer home, we have independent literary initiatives like The Indian History Collective and the Purple Pencil Project which are actively working on promoting translating literature. 

Prominent translators like Arunava Sinha, GJV Prasad, Jerry Pinto, Shanta Gokhale, Tahira Naqvi, Rakshanda Jalil, Muhammed Umar Menon, etc have a huge role to play in bringing translated literature to global audiences.

Authors like Perumal Murugan have also been critically acclaimed after their works were available to wider audiences after being published in English.

How much do book translators earn in India?

The journey of translators in India is one of perseverance, passion, and a lot of patience. Translators in India do not make big amounts of money – not yet, anyway.

One of the reasons for this could be the lack of proper funding for translated projects. In 2015, a very prominent author (Name withheld on request) was paid INR 25,000/- for a book they translated. It took them two years to translate it. The result was a masterpiece that went on to win the Sahitya Akademi Award that year.

Writer and Translator, Bhaskar Chattopadhyay adds to this thought, “Obviously there’s very little money in it if any at all. So if you want to translate literature, do it because you are passionate about it, not to earn a living. You need to have other means of income that can support you so that you can translate in your free time. And to tell you the truth, that’s enough. Unlike writing an original story, the act of translation does not require you to create something right from the scratch. So although there’s a lot of thinking that goes into the process of translation, it is never as much as if one were to write an original piece of literature. Therefore, it takes less time, which is good, because it hardly pays anything.” You can read more about Bhasker’s experiences with translations here.

The second reason is the reader’s acceptance of translated works. Readers read original writing more than translations.

U.S.-based Indian writer Jenny Bhatt released Ratno Dholi – The best stories of Dhumketu (Harper Collins, 2019). It is a collection of short stories by prominent Gujarati author Dhumketu translated into English. “Some readers come to translations expecting it to read as if it’s an original English work and not translated. Some readers want to understand they’re reading something that was originally written in a different language. So readers have, in my experience, more wide-ranging responses to a translation than to original English work. This is not something we can control. To be honest, I’ve found professional book reviewers also having these wide-ranging responses too. There’s a lot to be said for the art of reviewing a translation. A lot of translators and book reviewers have discussed this in essays and on social media. I won’t get into much more here but I do think a translation merits a different reading and reviewing approach because it’s a different kind of literary, historical, and sociocultural artifact.” Jenny shares. She is now working on a collection of stories by another prominent Gujarati author Jhaverchand Meghani to be released by Pan Macmillan in 2023. 

We’ve compiled a list of notable book translators in Indian languages. The list is in alphabetical order by the first name. Like any other list on our blog, this list is also dynamic. We will keep adding to this list.

Notable Book Translators in Indian Languages

Aatish Taseer

Aatish Taseer was born in 1980. He is the author of Stranger to History: a Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands, a Costa-shortlisted first novel, The Temple-Goers, and the highly acclaimed Noon. He has also written for the Sunday Times, Prospect, and Esquire. He lives between Delhi and New York.

  • Translation: Urdu to English 
  • Notable Works: Manto Selected Stories
  • Notable Awards: Short-listed in the Indian language fiction translation category of the prestigious Vodafone-Crossword Award of 2008. 

Anju Makhija 

Anju Makhija is a playwright, poet, and translator. She is a columnist for Confluence Magazine, London, and has won several prestigious awards for her poetry. 

  • Translation: Sindhi to English 
  • Notable Works: Shah Abdul Lateef: Seeking the Beloved by Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation 

Arunava Sinha

Featured Image

Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern, and contemporary Bengali fiction and nonfiction into English. Seventy-one of his translations have been published so far. Twice the winner of the Crossword translation award, for Sankar’s Chowringhee (2007) and Anita Agnihotri’s Seventeen (2011), respectively, and the winner of the Muse India translation award (2013) for Buddhadeva Bose’s When The Time Is Right, he has also been shortlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction prize (2009) for his translation of Chowringhee and for the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative Translated YA Book Prize for his translation of Md Zafar Iqbal’s Rasha, and longlisted for the Best Translated Book award, USA, 2018 for his translation of Bhaskar Chakravarti’s Things That Happen and Other Poems. In 2021, his translation of Taslima Nasrin’s Shameless was shortlisted for the National Translation Award in the USA.

Besides India, his translations have been published in the UK and the US in English, and in several European and Asian countries through further translation.

He is an associate professor of practice in the Creative Writing department at Ashoka University, and Co-Director, Ashoka Centre of Translation.

  • Translation: From Bengali to English 
  • Notable Works: Chowringhee by Sankar, originally in Bengali. 
  • Notable Awards: Crossword Translation Award, Muse India Translation Award.

Arunava Sinha will also be leading a Masterclass on Translations at our retreat in September. You can know more about the Masterclass HERE.

Aruni Kashyap 

Aruni Kashyap is a writer, translator, and professor of English at the University of Georgia. His poetry Anthology was critically acclaimed, and his work has appeared in reputed publications like the Oxford Anthology of Writings from the Northeast and The Guardian UK. 

  • Translation: Assamese to English 
  • Notable Works: The Bronze Sword of Thengphakhri Tehsildar by Indira Goswami 
  • Notable Awards: Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing to the University of Edinburgh

Abhirami Girija Sriram 

Abhirami Girija Sriram is a well-respected translator and editor. She is the chief sub-editor of Frontline magazine. 

  • Translation: Malayalam to English
  • Notable Work: Jezebel by K.R Meera 

Aniruddhan Vasudevan 

Aniruddhan Vasudevan is a classical dancer, activist, and translator. He is the founder of the organization The Shakti Resource Centre. As a Bharatnatyam dancer, he is known for bringing a queer perspective into traditional pieces. 

  • Translation: From Malayalam to English and from English to Malayalam
  • Notable Work: The Deepest Blue (originally ‘Karineela’ by K.R Meera), Samakaalika India: Oru Samoohasastra avalokanam (originally ‘Contemporary India: A Sociological View’ by Satish Deshpande) 
  • Notable Awards: V. Abdulla Prize for Translation 

Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Translators

Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is an author, translator, film critic, and scriptwriter. He has written more than a dozen books, some of which include the mystery thrillers Here Falls the Shadow and The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira. His novels include Patang and his translations include 14: Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray. (Penguin India)

He has translated Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s novels Bonny (published as No Child’s Play) for HarperCollins and Jhiler DhareBari for Scholastic India.

  • Translation: Bengali to English
  • Notable Works: Aranyak

Daisy Rockwell

Translators
In picture: Daisy Rockwell with Geetanjali Shree with the Booker Prize trophies they won for The Tomb of Sand this year.

Daisy Rockwell is an American painter and translator. With a Ph.D. in SouthAsian Literature, Rockwell has written a book on the Hindi author Upendranath Ashk and translated various novels from Hindi and Urdu. 

  • Translation: From Hindi/Urdu to English 
  • Notable Work: Tamas by Bhisham Sahni
  • Notable Awards: Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work, International Booker Prize for Translation. 

Dasu Krishnamoorthy 

Dasu Krishnamoorthy is a storyteller, anthologist, journalist, and translator. He has also worked as a senior political commentator for All India Radio, and in an editorial capacity for publications like the Indian Express. 

  • Translation: Telugu to English
  • Notable Work: The Greatest Telugu Stories Ever Told 

Fathima E.V.

Translators

Fathima E.V. is an award-winning writer and translator. Her translation of Subhash Chandran’s Manushyanu Oru Amukham, translated as A Preface to Man, was awarded the Crossword Book Award (2017) and the V. Abdulla Translation Award (2017). She was the translator-editor of the Indian Ink Mag, and her poems and short fiction have appeared in international anthologies and journals.

She holds an MA and a Ph.D. from the University of Calicut and completed the TESOL course from the University of Surrey. Currently, she heads the department of English at Krishna Menon Memorial Government Women’s College, Kannur.

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
  • Notable Works: A Preface to Man, Delhi: A Soliloquy
  • Notable Awards: V Abdulla Translation Award, Crossword Book Award for Fiction in Translation. Her translated work also won the JCB Prize for Literature. 

Jayasree Kalathil 

Jayasree Kalathil is an activist, mental health researcher, writer as well as a translator. She is an alumnus of the English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad. She currently lives and works in London.

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
  • Notable Works: ‘Moustache’, originally Meesha by S. Hareesh
  • Notable Awards: JCB Prize for Literature

J Devika 

J Devika is a historian, social critic, academician, and translator who teaches at the Centre for Development Studies at Thiruvananthapuram. 

  • Translation: Tamil to English 
  • Notable Work: One Part Woman, originally Maddhorubagan by Perumal Murugan 
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation in English 

Jenny Bhatt

Translators

Jenny Bhatt is US based writer and translator and founder of Desi Books, an international multimedia forum that promotes South Asian literature. She has published nonfiction work in various renowned publications like the Washington Post and The Atlantic and also teaches a creative writing course. 

  • Translation: Gujarati to English 
  • Notable Works: As a writer, her debut collection of short stories ‘All Of Us Killers: Stories’ won her much praise. As a translator, ‘Ratno Dholi: Dhumketu’s Best Short Stories’ was very well received. 
  • Notable Awards: Shortlisted for the 2021 PFC-VoW Book Awards for English Translation from Regional Languages. 

Jerry Pinto

Translators

Jerry Pinto might be better known to most people as a poet, novelist, and journalist, but he is also a leading Indian translator. He has received various honours and awards for his contribution to fiction and poetry, and also for his warmly received translation of several Marathi books. 

  • Translation: Marathi to English 
  • Notable Works: Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award 

K.S Bijukumar 

K.S Bijukumar is a Chennai-based translator. He is known for his collaboration with Abhirami Girija Sriram in their translation of K. R Meera’s novel. 

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
  • Notable Work: Jezebel by K.R Meera  

Mitra Phukan 

Mitra Phukan is a writer, columnist, and translator. Her novel ‘The Collector’s Wife’ was one of the first English novels by an Assamese writer to be published by an international publishing house. She has also translated some of the finest Assamese literature into English. 

  • Translation: Assamese to English 
  • Notable Works: Guilt and Other Stories by Harekrishna Dake
  • Notable Awards: Katha Award for Translation 

Leelawati Mohapatra

Leelawati Mohapatra published her debut novel, Hanging by a Tail, in 2008. She has co-translated (with K. K. Mohapatra and Paul St-Pierre) extensively from Odia into English. Her books of translation include, among others, The HarperCollins Book of Oriya Short StoriesAnts, Ghosts and Whispering Trees: An Anthology of Oriya Short StoriesJ P Das: SundardasFakir Mohan Senapati: The Brideprice and Other Stories, and Laxmikanta Mahapatra: Uncle One Eye.

  • Translation: Odia to English 
  • Notable Work: The HarperCollins Book of Oriya Short Stories 

Mysore Nataraja 

Mysore Nataraja is an author and translator.

  • Translation: Kannada to English 
  • Notable Work: The Unforgiving City and Other Stories by Vasudhendra 

N Kalyan Raman

Translators
In picture: (From L to R) Perumal Murugan, the cover image of Poonachi- originally written in Tamil by Perumal Murugan and N Kalyan Raman, the translator of the book in English.

N Kalyan Raman is a writer and translator who lives and works in Chennai. He has translated many novels and poetry collections over the past two decades, many of which are considered Tamil modern classics. 

  • Translation: Tamil to English 
  • Notable Works: The Story of Goat by Perumal Murugan 
  • Notable Awards: Pudumaipithan Award 

Nandakumar K

Translators

Nandakumar K. started his career as a sub-editor at Financial Express, after completing a master’s degree in Economics, followed by stints in international marketing and general management in India and abroad.

Nandakumar K. has co-translated from the Malayalam M. Mukundan’s novel Delhi: A Soliloquy; the autobiography of Prof T.J. Joseph (A Thousand Cuts, to be published in late 2021); and has retold a selection of stories from Kathasaritsagara in English (due in 2021). Nandakumar is the grandson of Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon.

Having travelled in over fifty countries, he claims he can speak enough German and French to save his life. Strangely, his tryst with translation started with a paper in French on the blood diseases of fishes for his sister-in-law, using a borrowed dictionary.

He is now an empanelled copy editor with Indian publishers and IIM Ahmedabad. Delhi: A Soliloquy is his first published translation from Malayalam. He lives and works in Dubai. Nandakumar is the grandson of Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon.

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
  • Notable Works: The Lesbian Cow and Other Stories
  • Notable Awards: JCB Prize for Literature

Navdeep Suri

Navdeep Suri is a retired Indian diplomat and acclaimed translator. His distinguished career saw him as India’s High Commissioner to Australia and Ambassador to Egypt and UAE. As a translator, he received acclaim for translating his grandfather Nanak Singh’s iconic Punjabi novels.

  • Translation: Punjabi to English 
  • Notable Works: The Watchmaker, originally Pavitra Paapi by Nanak Singh

Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee

Born in 1947 at Silchar, Assam, Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, an M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University briefly taught English literature at G C College, Silchar, before joining the Editorial Department of the prestigious Encyclopedia of Indian Literature Project undertaken by the Sahitya Akademi. Later he took charge of Sahitya Akademi’s Eastern Regional Office at Kolkata as its Secretary where the nature of his work involved conceptualizing and publishing books in five languages, organizing literary seminars, symposia, translation workshops, etc. in the region.

In 1998, he was appointed Director of the National Book Trust (NBT), India. During his term (1998-2002) there, he oversaw the celebration of the Year of the Book (2001), declared by the Government of India, and served on panels of many national and international bodies.

In 2002, he rejoined the Sahitya Akademi and worked as Editor, of Indian Literature, Akademi’s bi-monthly journal, till his retirement in 2007. Immediately thereafter, he was appointed Director of the K K Birla Foundation, a private trust devoted to the cause of art, literature, and education. He worked in this capacity till 2013.

Widely travelled and internationally feted, Mr. Bhattacharjee has been associated with respected organizations as an advisor/commentator/scriptwriter for literature-based documentaries and features. He has also regularly contributed articles and reviews for the literary pages of newspapers and journals including The Statesman, The Times of India, The Book Review, and The Biblio.

An accomplished translator from Bengali into English and vice-versa, his English translations of Mahasveta Devi’s Armanian Champak Tree, Sunil Gangopadhyay’s The Dreadful Beauty, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s The Ghost of Gosain Bagan and the Bengali translation of U R Anantamurthy’s short story collection Suryer Ghora O Anyanya Galpo have been critically acclaimed. In 2012 he was awarded the Best Translator Award from India by the International Board for Books for the Young (IBBY) and was felicitated at King’s College, London. In addition, he co-edits Translation Today, the web journal of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, and is a Member of the Programme Advisory Committee of the National Translation Mission launched by the Govt of India.

  • Translation: From Bengali to English 
  • Notable Work: Mahasveta Devi’s Armanian Champak Tree, Sunil Gangopadhyay’s The Dreadful Beauty, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s The Ghost of Gosain Bagan, and the Bengali translation of U R Anantamurthy’s short story collection Suryer Ghora O Anyanya Galpo 
  • Notable Awards: Best Translator Award from India by the International Board for Books for the Young (IBBY)

Nita Kumar 

Nita Kumar is a researcher and professor, and for the past three decades has been associated with an NGO called Nirman, which works on education and the arts. 

  • Translation: From Hindi to English 
  • Notable Work: Mai by Geetanjali Shree
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation 

Poonam Saxena

Poonam Saxena is a Delhi-based writer and translator. She also worked as a journalist for the Hindustan Times. 

  • Translation: From Hindi to English 
  • Notable Work: Chander and Sudha, originally Gunahon ka Devta by Dharamvir Bharati

Pratibha Umashanker Nadiger 

Pratibha Umashanker Nadiger is a journalist, academician, and translator known for her translation of a book by iconic Kannada writer Yashwant Chittal. 

  • Translation: From Kannada to English 
  • Notable Work: Shikari by Yashwant Chittal 

Prema Jayakumar

Prema Jayakumar is a noted translator and The New Indian Express columnist Prema Jayakumar.

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
    Notable Work: The Wind from the Hills ( translation of Sethu’s novel ‘Niyogam’)
  • Notable Awards: Short-listed in the Indian language fiction translation category of the prestigious Vodafone-Crossword Award of 2008. 

Rakhshanda Jalil 

Rakhshanda Jalil is a writer, translator, critic, historian, and columnist. She has also worked as a lecturer at Delhi University. She is the founder of the organization ‘Hindustani Awaaz’ which propagates Hindi and Urdu culture.  

  • Translation: Hindi/ Urdu to English 
  • Notable Works: The Temple and the Mosque by Premchand, Black Borders by Saadat Hasan Manto. 
  • Notable Awards: Jawad Memorial Prize for Hindi- Urdu Translation, Distinguished Translator Award by Vani Prakashan at Jaipur Literature Festival. 

Ranjit Hoskote 

Ranjit Hoskote is an author, poet, art critic, and translator. He is the author of several collections of poetry including Zones of AssaultThe Cartographer’s ApprenticeCentral TimeJonahwhaleThe Sleepwalker’s Archive, and Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985–2005.

His work has been published in numerous Indian and international journals, including Poetry Review (London), WasafiriPoetry WalesNthpositionThe Iowa ReviewGreen Integer ReviewFulcrum (annual)RattapallaxLyric Poetry ReviewWest Coast LineKavya BharatiPrairie SchoonerColdnoon: Travel PoeticsThe Four-Quarters Magazine, and Indian Literature. His poems have also appeared in German translation in Die ZeitAkzente, the Neue Zuercher ZeitungWespennest, and Art & Thought/ Fikrun-wa-Fann.

He has translated the Marathi poet Vasant Abaji Dahake, co-translated the German novelist and essayist Ilija Trojanow, and edited an anthology of contemporary Indian verse. His poems have appeared in anthologies including Language for a New Century (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008). and The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Newcastle: Bloodaxe, 2008). Hoskote has also translated the 14th-century Kashmiri mystic poet Lal Ded, under the title I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded.

He has been honoured by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, with the Sahitya Akademi Golden Jubilee Award and the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation.

  • Translation: Kashmiri to English 
  • Notable Works: ‘I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded’ 
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation 

Rita Kothari

Rita Kothari is a translator, author, and translation theorist. She has written several books on the Partition of India and is a professor in the Department of English, Ashoka University.

  • Translation: Gujarati to English 
  • Notable Work: The Stepchild, originally Angaliayat by Joseph Macwan 

Shahnaz Habib 

Shahnaz Habib is an award-winning poet, essayist, writer, and translator based in New York. Apart from her literary work, she also works as a consultant for the United Nations. 

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
  • Notable Works: Jasmine Days by Benyamin 
  • Notable Awards: JCB Prize for Literature

T Vijay Kumar 

T Vijay Kumar is a professor of English at Osmania University and a well-known translator. He is an academician and has presented his research papers at universities across the world. 

  • Translation: Telugu to English, English to Telugu
  • Notable Work: The Liberation of Sita by Volga 

Tamraparni Dasu

Tamraparni Dasu is a research scientist as well as co-founder of the organization IndiaWrites Publishers. She is the daughter of Dasu Krishnamoorthy and the father-daughter duo has worked together on translating. 

  • Translation: Telugu to English 
  • Notable Work: The Greatest Telugu Stories Ever Told 

Tejaswini Niranjana 

Tejaswini Niranjana is an author, cultural theorist, and professor. She is the co-founder of the Centre for Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. 

  • Translation: Kannada to English 
  • Notable Works: No Presents Please by Jayant Kaikini 
  • Notable Awards: DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award for Best Translation 

Tridip Suhrud 

Tridip Suhrud is a political scientist, writer, and translator. He was the director of the Sabarmati Ashram for five years and is a member of the Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission. 

  • Translation: From Gujarati to English and from Gujarati to Hindi 
  • Notable Works: ‘Harilal Gandhi: A Life’ by Chandulal Baghubhai Dalal 
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation  

V Ramaswamy 

Venkateswar Ramaswamy is an activist as well as a nonfiction writer and translator. He is originally from Tamil Nadu but lives and works in Kolkata. 

  • Translation: Bengali to English 
  • Notable Work: The Golden Gandhi Statue From America by Subimal Misra
  • Notable Awards: Literature Across Frontiers- Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship

Rita Kothari

Rita Kothari is a translator, author, and translation theorist. She has written several books on the Partition of India and is a professor in the Department of English, at Ashoka University.

  • Translation: Gujarati to English 
  • Notable Work: The Stepchild, originally Angaliayat by Joseph Macwan

Poonam Saxena

Poonam Saxena is a Delhi-based writer and translator. She also worked as a journalist for the Hindustan Times. 

  • Translation: From Hindi to English 
  • Notable Work: Chander and Sudha, originally Gunahon ka Devta by Dharamvir Bharati

Pratibha Umashanker Nadiger 

Pratibha Umashanker Nadiger is a journalist, academician, and translator known for her translation of a book by iconic Kannada writer Yashwant Chittal. 

  • Translation: From Kannada to English 
  • Notable Work: Shikari by Yashwant Chittal 

J Devika 

J Devika is a historian, social critic, academician, and translator who teaches at the Centre for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram. 

  • Translation: From Malayalam to English and from English to Malayalam
  • Notable Work: The Deepest Blue (originally ‘Karineela’ by K.R Meera), Samakaalika India: Oru Samoohasastra avalokanam (originally ‘Contemporary India: A Sociological View’ by Satish Deshpande) 
  • Notable Awards: V. Abdulla Prize for Translation 

Aniruddhan Vasudevan 

Aniruddhan Vasudevan is a classical dancer, activist, and translator. He is the founder of the organization The Shakti Resource Centre. As a Bharatnatyam dancer, he is known for bringing a queer perspective into traditional pieces. 

  • Translation: Tamil to English 
  • Notable Work: One Part Woman, originally Maddhorubagan by Perumal Murugan 
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation in English 

T Vijay Kumar 

T Vijay Kumar is a professor of English at Osmania University and a well-known translator. He is an academician and has presented his research papers at universities across the world. 

  • Translation: Telugu to English, English to Telugu
  • Notable Work: The Liberation of Sita by Volga 

Nita Kumar 

Nita Kumar is a researcher and professor, and for the past three decades has been associated with an NGO called Nirman, which works on education and the arts. 

  • Translation: From Hindi to English 
  • Notable Work: Mai by Geetanjali Shree
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation 

Tridip Suhrud 

Tridip Suhrud is a political scientist, writer, and translator. He was the director of the Sabarmati Ashram for five years and is a member of the Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission. 

  • Translation: From Gujarati to English and from Gujarati to Hindi 
  • Notable Works: ‘Harilal Gandhi: A Life’ by Chandulal Baghubhai Dalal 
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation  

Anju Makhija 

Anju Makhija is a playwright, poet, and translator. She is a columnist for Confluence Magazine, London, and has won several prestigious awards for her poetry. 

  • Translation: Sindhi to English 
  • Notable Works: Shah Abdul Lateef: Seeking the Beloved by Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation 

Ranjit Hoskote 

Ranjit Hoskote is an author, poet, art critic, and translator. He co-curated the 7th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, receiving acclaim as an art curator. 

  • Translation: Kashmiri to English 
  • Notable Works: ‘I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded’ 
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation 

Fathima E.V.

Fathima E.V. is a poet, writer, and translator. She is an associate professor at KMM Women’s Government College in Kerala. 

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
  • Notable Works: A Preface to Man, Delhi: A Soliloquy
  • Notable Awards: V Abdulla Translation Award, Crossword Book Award for Fiction in Translation. Her translated work also won the JCB Prize for Literature. 

Shahnaz Habib 

Shahnaz Habib is an award-winning poet, essayist, writer, and translator based in New York. Apart from her literary work, she also works as a consultant for the United Nations. 

  • Translation: Malayalam to English 
  • Notable Works: Jasmine Days by Benyamin 
  • Notable Awards: JCB Prize for Literature

Tejaswini Niranjana 

Tejaswini Niranjana is an author, cultural theorist, and professor. She is the co-founder of the Centre for Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. 

  • Translation: Kannada to English 
  • Notable Works: No Presents Please by Jayant Kaikini 
  • Notable Awards: DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award for Best Translation 

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak 

Gayatri Spivak is an esteemed theorist, scholar, and translator. She translated Jacques Derrida’s De La Grammatologie into English, which was extremely well received. She has also translated many of the works of Mahasweta Devi from Bengali to English. 

  • Translation: Bengali to English and French to English
  • Notable Works:  Jacques Derrida’s De La Grammatologie, Mahasweta Devi’s Imaginary Maps. 
  • Notable Awards: Padma Bhushan

Susheela Punitha 

Susheela Punitha is a celebrated translator and children’s book writer. Her work is very concerned with various social issues, in particular, that of caste. 

  • Translation: From Kannada to English 
  • Notable Works: Bharatipura by U.R Ananthamurthy 
  • Notable Awards: Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation

Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee

Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee is an acclaimed translator, as well as the editorial director of Niyogi books. He is part of the Editorial Department of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature Project by the Sahitya Akademi. 

  • Translation: Bengali to English and English to Bengali. 
  • Notable Works: The Dreadful Beauty translated from the Bengali work by Sunil Gangopadhyay
  • Notable Awards: Best Translator Award from India by the International Board for Books of the Young, felicitated by King’s College, London. (2012). 

Prema Jayakumar

Prema Jayakumar is a translator as well as an author. She writes in Malayalam and is considered one of the finest Malayalam to English translators. 

  • Translation: Malayalam to English
  • Notable Works: Ashwathama by Madampu Kunjukuttan
  • Notable Awards: Shortlisted for the Crossword Award

Rajat Chaudhury 

Rajat Chaudhury is a talented bilingual author and translator. He writes in both English and Bengali and translates work from both languages. 

  • Translation: Bengali to English and English to Bengali 
  • Notable Works: Calcutta Nights by Hemendra Kumar Roy 
  • Notable Awards: Sangam House Fellow, Charles Wallace Creative Writing Fellow, 2012. 

Parbina Rashid 

Parbina Rashid is a translator of considerable skill. She also works as a journalist with the Tribune in Chandigarh. 

  • Translation: Assamese to English 
  • Notable Works: The Black Magic Women by Moushmi Kandali 

Saba Mahmood Bashir 

A poet, writer, and translator, Saba Bashir has translated the work of some of Hindi and Urdu’s leading writers. She is also an assistant professor at Jamia Millia Islamia. 

  • Translation: Hindi and Urdu to English 
  • Notable Works: I Swallowed the Moon: The Poetry of Gulzar 
  • Notable Awards: The Reuel International Award for Best Book on Cinema

Amrita Nilanjana

Amrita Nilanjana is a translator, professor, and theatre critic. She has also written several well-received short stories. 

  • Translation: Bengali to English 
  • Notable Works: Five Plays by Ritwik Ghatak

Priyanka Sarkar

A versatile translator, Priyanka Sarkar is the master of three languages- Hindi, English, and Bengali. She also works as a publishing consultant and has been the editorial head at Konark Publishers. 

  • Translation: Hindi to English, English to Hindi, Bengali to English. 
  • Notable Works: Bhairavi by Shivani 

Deepalakshmi J 

Deepalakshmi J is a business writer as well as a literary translator. She writes in both Tamil and English and is known for translating the works of her father, a famous Tamil author, into English.

  • Translation: Tamil to English 
  • Notable Works: The Heroine and Other Stories by D. Jayakanthan 

P.N. Venugopal

P.N Venugopal is a freelance journalist as well as a translator. He is known for translating fiction and prominent biographies. 

  • Translation: Malayalam to English and English to Malayalam 
  • Notable Works: Island of Lost Shadows, originally Andhakaranazhi by E. Santosh Kumar
  • Notable Awards: Shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award (2016) 

Snehaprabha Das

Snehaprabha Das is a translator, poet, and writer from Odisha. She has also taught English Literature in several universities. 

  • Translation: Odia to English
  • Notable Works: Colours of Loneliness by Paramita Satpathy 
  • Notable Awards: Jibanananda Das Award 

Saif Mahmood 

Saif Mahmood is a lawyer, academic, writer, and translator. He is passionate about Urdu poetry and literature and is the founder of SAALARC (South Asian Alliance for Literature, Art, and Culture). 

  • Translation: Urdu to English
  • Notable Works: Beloved Delhi: A Mughal City and Her Greatest Poets which contains translated works of many Urdu poets.
  • Notable Awards: Research Visitor, Hilary and Trinity Term 2022, Bonavero Institute of Human Rights- Oxford University 

Keerti Ramachandra

Keerti Ramachandra is an accomplished translator who works out of no less than three languages. She is also a teacher and an editor. 

  • Translation: Kannada, Marathi, and Hindi to English 
  • Notable Works: Vishwas Patil’s Jhadajhadati (A Dirge for the Damned) 
  • Notable Awards: Shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award 

Tips for Aspiring Translators in India

We took advice from many leading translators for people starting out in this field. The essence of what they told us was: 

  • Be it a translator, a writer, or a poet – the basics always remain the same. Write more. Read more. This is the basic key to improving your skill. 
  • Try to get your work published. There are many literary magazines where you can try getting your translated extracts published. 
  • Find a mentor who can guide you through this journey.
  • Look out for translation grants and scholarships that can provide you with good exposure to not only improve your translation skills but also how to get a translation published.
  • You can also try your hand at some freelance translation projects to sharpen your skills further.

In addition to the above, you can now learn this craft from a Master. Arunava Sinha is teaching a Translations Masterclass at the Retreat. details here.

Translators

A Publishing house chooses translators based on their experience and body of work. So building on that is the best way to get into the field. Your translations should reflect your love for the language. 

The industry is changing in favour of translators. Books now credit the translator on the cover page. Awards and recognition help. The Booker International prize winners Daisy Rockwell and Geetanjali Shree – the translator and the author – get the same amount as prize money. There is hope that things will get better still in this field. 

Missed your favourites? Write to us at info@himalayanwritingretreat.com and we will add them to this list.

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3 Responses

  1. I am inspired by this article. I wonder if there are qualified Sanskrit to English Translators who have done some work and published books. I have attempted to translate Valmiki’s Sundara Kandam and published my first book titled Sundara Kandam As It Is in English Book 1 covering the first three chapters and the Book is now getting ready to publish.

    The Determined Reaches Destination is Sundara Kandam Book 1 in English.

    It is a nice feeling to be part of this elite group. As my humble contribution to Hinduism, I have published a book on kindle.

    The book is the English version of the Sanskrit version of Sundara Kandam. Book 1 covers chapters 1 to 3 of Hanuma’s voyage reaching Lanka. This is a poetic version of how Valmiki visualized in his original Sanskrit Verses.

    Hence, the book is titled #Sundara Kandam AS IT IS in English

    To read the book you can click the link https://lnkd.in/gPYFFRdP for reading the book in Kindle apps or get a paperback version to get a physical copy.

    You can download the free Kindle app on a cell phone or tablet to read the book.

    The next book covering chapters 4 to 15 is getting ready for publication and once done I shall provide the link for the book lovers.

    I shall be grateful if you could review and offer your comments and suggestions. Thanks in advance.

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