Translation of “Matti ki Mona Liza” Into “Mona Liza Made of Clay”
Translation is a process of conveying a source text into a target text which should reflect the contents of the original text. Translation is a practice in which the translator tries to find out the closest equivalent meaning of a source text into the target text language. Translation aims at telling the same idea or information as in the original. In this article the translators have chosen the text, that is a short story “Matti ki Mona Liza” (in Urdu) called “Mona Liza Made of Mud” (in English). The source text was written by A.Hameed, a renowned and legendry Urdu writer. By translating an Urdu short story into English language the translators wanted to present an incredible and splendid piece of Urdu literature to the readers at world level. Another aim was to contribute to the field of Applied Linguistics.
The translators have selected the discipline of Applied Linguistics with particular focus on the theory of equivalence in translation. The methods of literal, semantic and faithful translation have been used in order to establish the closest equivalence between the source text and the target text. English is selected as the language of the target text.
Key words: Translation equivalence, literal, semantic, and faithful translation, “Matti Ki Mona Liza.”
Translation studies is interdisciplinary in nature, it deals with the theory and phenomenon of translation, it encompasses many disciplines like linguistics, philosophy, study of languages and different cultures etc. The term ‘Translation Studies’ was first used by James S. Holme in his article “The name and nature of translation studies” as a discipline that is concerned with the problems related to translating process and the translation as a product. Different scholars have different approaches towards translation studies. Roman Jacobson has a semiotic approach that advocates the idea of ‘equivalence in difference’. He introduced three kinds of translation: Intralingual (translation within the language), Interlingual (translation between two languages), and Intersemiotic (translation between sing systems). The translators have chosen the second kind, interlingual translation which demands the transformation of the source text into a target text language. The present article aims at translating an Urdu short story “Matti Ki Mona Liza” into an English version “Mona Liza Made of Mud”. Different methods have been applied in order to present an effective, useful and faithful translation of the original text.
Introduction to Source Text:
Abdul Hameed, known as A. Hameed, is an admired fiction writer in Urdu literature. He was born in 1928 in Amritsar, in British India. His family migrated to Pakistan after partition. He worked for Radio Pakistan as an assistant script editor. Later he joined Voice of America. His first collection of short stories “Manzil Manzil” was well-liked by the readers. He contributed a lot to the different genera of Urdu literature. Apart from short stories, he had written many novels, columns, programs for radio and television.
“Matti ki Mona Liza” is a thrilling short story, written in Urdu language. It is included in the genera of “Afsana” in Urdu literature. “Matti Ki Mona Liza” (a novel) is written by A. Hameed which contains 17 Urdu short stories. One of those stories is also titled as “Matti ki Mona Liza”, its characters and setting are taken from real life; they represent the contemporary society very clearly. There is an underlying criticism on the high ups and authorities of the society, who remain ignorant of the problems of the poor common people leading a hard and miserable life.
The major character of the story is ‘Sughran Bibi’ who is the mother of four children and a house wife. Her husband is a postman by profession. They live near ‘Lohari gate’, a dirty and filthy area. With the very minimum income, it is very difficult for the family to meet their expenses. This family’s miserable life is highlighted by simultaneously presenting the glimpses from the luxurious living standards of the rich people. In short, the story is utterly remarkable and amazing piece of Urdu literature.
Introduction to source language:
The language of the source text, chosen by the translators, is Urdu. Urdu language belongs to Indo-European group of languages. Urdu is widely spoken and understood particularly in Pakistan and India. It is the national language of Pakistan. Urdu has borrowed words from many languages like, Arabic, Persian, Hindi, and Sanskrit etc. The literature written in Urdu language reflects the religious, social and cultural practices of its native speakers.
Introduction to target language:
The translators have selected English as the language of the target text. English language also belongs to Indo-European family of languages; it is related to the Germanic group of languages. English has earned the status of an international language. It is flexible to adjust any kind of literature in its domain. The purpose of choosing this language as the language of the translated text is that the translated text would be globally read and understood.
Statement of problem:
The short story “Matti ki Mona Liza” has been translated as “Mona Liza Made of Mud”.
The objectives of translation are:
Translation is a process of establishing equivalence between source text and the target text. Dubois defines it in these words as, “translation is the expression in another language (or target language) of what has been expressed in another, source language, preserving semantic and stylistic equivalences” (in Bell, 1991: 5).
Translation theories and models are developed to understand the product of translation and its methods. “Vinay and Darbelnet (1995:32) view equivalence-oriented translation as a procedure which replicates the same situation as in the original, whilst using completely different wording.” Catford (1965) represented Halliday’s ’rank scale’ theory to "underline the hypothesis that translation of equivalence depends upon the availability of formal correspondence between linguistic items at different structural levels and ranks" (Hartmann, 1980), and at the sentence level. Nida’s (1964) dynamic equivalence is reader-oriented which advocates the idea of conveying the message of the original text in the target text language as naturally as possible. Nida’s formal equivalence the notion the target text should resemble the source text in both form and content.
Methodology is a series of methods and techniques used during the research process. It offers guidance during the research by providing principals and rules to conduct the research in a proper way. The translators have selected interlingual translation, different models of equivalence, and methods of translation i.e. semantic, literal and faithful translation to translate the source text. Different methods have been designed to translate a text effectively and faithfully, they are as follows:
The present work is done by keeping in view the theory of equivalence. The translators have tried to present the target text as naturally close to the source text as possible. Newmark (1981, 1988) presented the idea of semantic and communicative translation. Semantic translation concentrates on meaning whereas communicative translation focuses on effect.
Baker (1992:6) says that equivalence is a relative notion as it is influenced by many cultural and linguistic factors. She combines the linguistics and communicative approaches. She focuses on the importance of word in the translation process as the translator, first of all, tries to find out an equivalent meaningful word in the target language. She argues that grammatical equivalence is related to the diversity of grammatical categories across languages, while textual equivalence refers to equivalence between a source text and target text in terms of cohesion and information. Pragmatic equivalence, deals with implicatures which refers to the implied meaning.
What is the secret behind a Mona Liza’s smile?
The scarlet golden glow on her lips, is it the celebration of the rising-sun or remorse over the dying one? What is that thin, dark line seen from these half opened smiling lips? In the midst of rise and fall what is the source of this descending darkness? A noisy flock of green parrots flies over the garden of guava. From among the wild grass of an infertile garden a yellow rose blooms. A naked black boy jumps in the flowing cold stream that passes through a mango garden and the nectar of the of ripe mangoes drips down.
Standing at a bookstall near cinema hall, I inhale the fragrance of the sweet juice of mangoes, while turning the leaves of a magazine I glance at the ladies whom I saw standing in the line buying first class tickets before the film starts in the cinema. Earlier I saw them getting out of a long green car, and perhaps before this I might have seen them in a dream. One of them - a fat ugly woman, every curve of her body covered in fat, eyes filled with the dark lines of an eye liner, lips adorned with lipstick, wearing gold earrings, nails colored with nail polish, wearing golden bangles, neck garlanded with a gold necklace, a golden heart loaded in the chest, a middle aged with worn out body. Her gait was carefree, bored with leisure. Her eyes were intoxicated with conceit as she clutched a heavy purse…
The other girl… ultra modern, ultra smart, simplicity was her enrichment. She was thin and lean, was wearing tight green shirt. Her golden hair was finely trimmed. Her earrings were of dazzling emerald and her wrist watch had a golden chain, a scarf wrapped around her shoulders. Her eyebrows were adorned with dark shades; her eyes had intoxicating attraction. Her long neck was prominent from her open collars with a slight bent of pride, sporting a Doris Day cut and fragrant with European perfume. Her mind was unacquainted with the wretchedness (stigma) of the past and her heart was aloof to future vexations. Her body brimming of happiness and gladness; it looked like stopping quietly or talking light-heartedly; like the milk that was about to boil. Head: Anglo-Pakistan, dress: Punjabi, language: English and heart: neither yours nor mine.
Retailer at the book stall stood up when he saw them coming in and started moving around them like a puppet, he speeded up the fan because the girl was constantly wiping sweat from her forehead with a small silk handkerchief.
The seller smiled like a fool. “This time our supply got stuck on the way, I would send them within this week certainly.”
The fat woman said, “Kindly, do send them”.
The girl picked up the photography magazine and said, “Please pack it and put it in the car”.
The retailer asked, “Are you leaving during interval?”
The fat lady replied, “Yes… the movie is too boring”.
They bought the tickets at the cost of three and half rupees.
They did not like the picture. They opened the door of that long car. And the car ran over the seven rupees like the waves of a peaceful river. Seven rupees are enough for a week for the family living near ‘Lohari’ gate. There is a gutter outside the ‘Lohari’ gate. If you have to see that family, keep on going along with that gutter, there is a street to the left. The sun rays never reach that street; but it stinks. That disgusting odor is very strange; if you start living there, (for you) it vanishes. Sughran Bibi lives there. She has a room in a putrefying house. There is a filthy and grubby curtain hanging at the door, for privacy purpose… like the curtains hanging in a new model of a Charlotte car. The courtyard is earthen and moistened. There is one bad (charpai). There is a wood stove and a heap of cakes of dried cow-dung (uplle) in a corner. There are tongs and a small earthen pot placed near a wall. There is a footstep in front of a chamber. There is damp earthen floor in the chamber. Darkness is arriving from every nook and corner. Two trunks are placed one upon the other. Shughran Bibi has put a sheet on them. There is a large basket (tokra) positioned upside down and two hens are confined under it. On the shelf made of wood there are three glasses and four plates. There is a bed (bedstead) in the chamber as well; on this bed, two of Sughra Bibi’s kids are sleeping. Two children have gone to school. Sughra Bibi is a typical housewife. She is a kind of an ideal Eastern woman. When her husband beats her in the last days of the month she does his message at night. When he kicks her, she lets her body loose that he might not hurt his foot. How ideal woman is Sughra Bibi… indeed hell is above the head of such women and paradise is under their feet. Her husband is a postman. At the start of every month, he brings sixty rupees, a large amount of money. Five rupees for a rent to the house, five rupees for two children’s school fees, twenty rupees for the milk man, thirty rupees to buy ration for the whole month; and the rest of the money is used for enjoyment. Sometimes Sughran Bibi goes to watch a movie with a first class ticket costing three rupees per seat. If the picture is boring she would come back home, sitting in a long car, during interval. The retailer of the book stall facilitates her with the home delivery of an English magazine ‘Look’. She must eat something sweet after dinner. Sughran Bibi and her husband, the postman, are very fond of eating slices of pineapple mixed with milk-cream. To save the cream they have kept a refrigerator in their chamber. Sughran Bibi believes that with the next month salary she would get an air-condition installed in the chamber. Because eruptions spread on the bodies of her children due to humidity, heat and the foul odor of the gutter. She stays up fanning them all the night. Sughran Bibi has placed an order for a radiogram.
“My God, what a lovely home is this”
“Home! Sweet home!”
Sughran Bibi’s color is pale like turmeric. And turmeric is very useful for T.B, disease. She is wearing glass-bangles. At the end of the month when her husband beats her, most of them (glass-bangles) are broken. So to avoid such expenses, every month, she has ordered for the thick gold bracelets; at least they would not break. Sughran Bibi’s children are also pale, and they are the bags of bones. The doctor asked her to get them vaccinated with calcium; provide them butter, fruit, eggs, meat and vegetables, every morning. And it is so good if they each get a cup of broth in the evening. And keep them away from dirty rooms, smelly quarter, and dark cells as much as possible. Sughran Bibi believes that with the next month’s pay she would buy a small plot for these children and she would get erected a small house of three or four rooms. Two small children are n ot going to the school now , but one day InshaAllah they will also be going to the school. Two more children will be borne; they would also go to the school. This time she intends to get them admitted in ‘convent’. Where, every morning they would pray to the son of God, Call ‘mummy’ to Sughran Bibi, speak English fluently. They would sit in a competitive exam rather than selling oil after studying Urdu and Persian. They would enjoy a high status, get a long car, and a villa with a wide lawn.
The full set of calcium vaccine costs twenty rupees. It is normal now; she would ask her husband to bring two sets while coming back from the post office on the first date of the month. She has stuffed her refrigerator, in the chamber, with red apples, red pomegranate, ripe grapes, butter cubes, fresh eggs and pieces of meat. Kids would eat and enjoy throughout the month. But in spite of all the blessings given by God to Sughran Bibi, her cheeks are bony, she has got constant back ache, her complexion is pale, her eyes have become dim due to long expectations, they seem desolate or lifeless, what have her eyes seen? She is not more than twenty five, but it seems as if she has crossed the threshold of youth; her hands are scrawny, she faces a great hair fall whenever she combs her hair; her hands and feet are always cold as fruit, cream and meat remains cold in the refrigerator.
It has been five years since Sughran Bibi got married. Her husband gave her only four children, May God bless him! there will be a few more. On the every first date of the month her husband falls in love with her. When milk man takes away twenty rupees, one tower of the castle of love falls. When five rupees are paid as a house rent, then the other tower falls; children’s school fees, notebooks, pencils, books, food (ration), pulses (vetches), flour, salt , pepper , turmeric , fuel, clothes, anxiety , anguish and worries, temptations, vexation, hopelessness and that love castle falls down with all its towers. The husband takes out a stick from the basket of love and starts beating the beloved (of month’s early dates).
Daddy, you did not bring “kamak” (comic) today?
This jelly is dirty, throw it away, mummy.
Come on darling (Sughran Bibi)! Let’s watch a cultural show in Alhamra today. Dance, music, what a thrill honey! This white sari would suit a lot with the garland (an ornament) of jasmine to decorate the hair… my my! You are so sweet darling Sughran Bibi.
How beautiful this cottage is near the riverbank! Lush green lawn with trimmed grass and flowery plants planted in queue. A servant would give a bath to the dog with Lux soap. After that his body would be dried with the towel. He would be combed. An apron would be tied at his neck and he would be fed with the food sufficient for two persons. Then he would be placed in a ford car for a ride to the mall road. If Gotham Buddha were alive today, he would be very happy to see man’s so much love for animals; he would not have felt the need to leave his palace and live in jungle for human misery and suffering. He would be living in his palace with his wife and his mistresses. He would keep a whole army of dogs. In the evening, he would go to the club to play cards with his friends. He would go to the cinema and would take his children for long drives. His children would wear colored shirts and jeans, they would go to the college bus stops, high-quality hotels and dance clubs with their thin waists, stiffen necks, and muscular chests. They would go to bed at one o’clock, get up early in the morning at eleven o’clock, take tea without brushing their teeth and check out the schedule for upcoming movies in the newspaper. They would spend their summer vacation in Murree or Switzerland; they would bring fame to their father. They would never let him have his head shaved, throw his royal robe away and depart for jungle for nirvana (emancipation from matter and reunion with the deity).
How humid is this dirt alley of “Lohari Darvaza” (blacksmith’s door). How can they sleep on the beds by these dirty gutters? What a pity, I am very sympathetic to these people. I know their problems, every week I write a short story about their uninspiring and dull life. I think, I should write and submit a research paper on their lives. It’s a wonderful subject. Doctorate is not far off. As the three sores torn children and the pregnant mother are sleeping on the bare bed (charpai). I put the handkerchief on my nose, trying to save my neat dress from the drains and studying those people closely, I came out of that stinking alley.
Lahore is facing a scorching heat, but the atmosphere in the hotel is so cold, this air- condition is a blessing of God. Today the hotel is full of bustle and activity; under the soft light of dim bulbs, the faces of the people seem soporific. Is it a dream? My dream… Sughran Bibi’s dream, her husband, the postman’s dream. Hari Om! How cute is that girl with the pony tail! And that woman in black tight shirt of tissue (a kind of fabric), her hair is decorated with the flowery band and she is wearing the green earrings. Her face shines like a silver tablespoon due to regular healthy meals. That fat woman, with a healthy face, her half-sleeved shirt has sunk into her arms’ flesh. Her face looks as stern as that of a wax statue. Her car is fourteen yards long, and her bathroom floor is twelve square yards. Her radio was imported from Germany, carpet from Iran, perfume from France, camera from America, and her husband is from Pakistan. She gives a waiter as much amount as might be enough for Sughran Bibi’s weekly ration. There live four dogs and seven servants in her bungalow. She always uses a silver coffee set to drink coffee. The plus points of silver utensils are that they do not rust and they are nonpoisonous. The postman living near ‘Lohari Darvaza’ should also purchase such a silver coffee set.
This hotel is a paradise. A couple is sitting in at a cornet table. The girl is slim and smart; her tight outfit has made her look smarter; her forehead is covered with hair (cut in a stylish manner) she has painted her nails with red- Indian pinkish nail polish. Same shade has decorated her thin lips. Her face reflects the expression of feminine delicacy and emotions. She is hearing her boyfriend while her eyes are restlessly doing the survey of other tables. The boy’s neck is entrapped in a black collar. The glasses, full of cold coffee, are placed on their table.
“Roshi darling, I promise you that I will not be having any concern with Sanui.”
“Shut up, big liar, are you flirting me?”
“For God’s sake don’t think like that… I know you darling!”
“Lie…a bundle of lies.”
“I will marry you when I will come back from U.K.”
“You would be married when you would return.”
“You will see, we both shall go to U.K. and settle there. I am sick of this dirty city”
“Would you like anything else darling?”
“No, thank you”
“I am also tired of dirty streets. I may take Saughra Bibi with me, along with her sick children who sleep with their mother on the cot…”
“Waiter…three more squash”
Three medical students were talking sitting near the stair:
“Yaar,I shall go to London after final year. For me there is no scope for a bright future.”
“Alright … I shall also go there and practice there. There is wealth and the patients are polished.”
“Yaar! I am doing specialist in cancer treatment. There are many chances for a cancer specialist.’
“I will have a car of cream color of 50 model and one villa in Gulburg. Brother, why have you sold the car?”
“It had become a truck, it consumed too much oil.”
“Hush … Miss Qureshi is coming”
All people are going out of Pakistan. Money and polished patients are attracting the people. Where will go my postman brother? Where will Sughra Bibi go?
Who will treat her sick children? Where will the villagers go, who take wrong medicine from a quack.
“Who will treat these people in Pakistan?”
A Pakistani was telling the American sitting at the cornered table. It is a big problem. The baby has spent three years in K.G and I have been transferred from karachi.
“No school is giving him an admission here. Co-operation school allows him to sit in class II, they say, the child does not know Urdu, he only speaks English, what should I do now?”
“Leave Urdu and teach him French at home. There is great hustle and bustle in hotel. It is a romantic place I shall writing a story on dirty street of Lohari gate and sick Sughra Bibi.after tomorrow InshAallah.
I look down…three girls of same features and dress are entering proudly. They are looking like heroines of an English novel.
“Baby has spent three years in lower KG. I have got transfer from Karachi to here. No English medium school is willing to give admission here. Corporation school is taking baby in class II. They say that your child is poor in Urdu. He only speaks English. I don’t know what to do now? “Forget about Urdu. Teach him French at home.”
Hotel has become magnificent. This is quite romantic place and gallery is very peaceful. InahAllah, I shall definitely write a story on lazar Miss. Sughra of Lohari gate by sitting in this gallery day after tomorrow. Parker pen, Castle pad, a glass of cold coffee, three-castle cigarette, Eucalyptus leaves in a counter vase, European fragrance of the clothes of beautiful and pretty women sitting in the hotel and wonderful subject of Miss. Sughra! Such kind of novel can only be written by sitting at this place.
I pry downward by sitting in the gallery. Three girls of almost same face and dress are entering with straight heads and chests & proud eyes. Everybody is observing them without moving their heads and eyes. These girls seem like heroines of old English novels who waited for their lovers at beautiful nights by standing in the backyards, half-covered with flowers and did let free birds with colorful pointed beaks after tying love letters with utmost emotions beneath their feathers. Who ate poison on hearing about the treachery of their lovers? But in this atomic era, love starts by starting ford car with key and love letters are written on cheque books. Now the girls of this period eat chicken sandwiches instead of eating poison on hearing about the deceit of their lovers, clean their mouths with tissue and start search for a new lover, new car and new carrier. Emotions of love and affection vanish these days by taking a tablet of Aspro and storm of love evaporates like a steam with a single spoon of fruit salad. Marriage is just an agreement on the counter of life and love marriage is just like a hanged shoe with the bonnet of car.
Chilling scent of air-conditioner, stunning voices of silky dresses, beauty of shining faces in the dim light, brightness of silvery glass and fragrances of different types of meals are getting mixed in air. There are buzzing of whispers, a light giggle of satisfaction and joy, feelings of self-devotion, deep, meaningful and mysterious looks and dreams, fresh and healthy faces, clean-shaved cheeks, foreign-style gestures with shoulders, neck and eyes, straight tight necks, slow talks, pointed lips, arms of ‘lolo-brageda’, hair of dross-day, American ties, French perfumes, English shoes and talks of Switzerland, Germany and Singapore. There is no farmer with plough at noon in Chak-92, no glass of ‘Lassi’ which has been drunk on the board of sweet-shop, no Dr.Farid, founder of Ghosia University in a far small village, no Albert Shoneters who devoted his life for the betterment of people living in the forests of Africa, no calcium for chronic back pain and yellow cheeks of Miss. Sughra, no fishermen facing the threat of freshet at the rivers of East-Pakistan, no grieved eyes, no black dense hair with coconut oil, no poor postman who only loves his wife on the first dates of a month and beats her in the last days, no wall with seepage, having only four glasses and three plates on its shelve and no ‘Ranjha’ waiting for his ‘heer’ in the sunshine sitting in the fields.
All are drawing room lovers. They are lovers who just sigh for love by sitting in the air conditioned rooms with pineapple slices and a glass of cold coffee placed in front of them. They are novelists who write stories by who wear eucalyptus leaves dipped in French perfume on the ears. They are lamentable persons who fill the oil tankers of their vehicles and construct new rooms in their houses in the name of nation, religion and politics. These are the stains of light which are becoming prominent with the passage of time. They have no concern with the acnes of Miss Sughra. They don’t know about the destruction of her postman husband’s mansion. They have no interest in the people who spent their nights on the beds besides stinky water. They don’t know whether rice grows on fields or on trees. They are strangers in their own country. They are passengers in their homes. Cheque book, passport, key of car, mansion and license… This is their Pakistan. These are such stale meals which couldn’t remain fresh even in refrigerator. They are just like a cover between two suns. They are like a dark line between smiley lips. They are like a net on the mouth of a cave where moon is going to be appeared.
Now the night has started to scarify the cannons of stars in the ash of sky. There is humidity, foul smell, warmth, mosquitoes, sweat, irregular rows of broken beds and dung on the cesspools. There are hanged legs from the beds touching the floor of street. There are weak, wilted faces and cracked lips. Miss Sughra is waving hand fan to her four children. There is suffocation in the hut due tom humidity. In the window which opens on the side of smelly water channel, a heap of animal manure is kindling instead of hot green Asian moon. Her postman husband is snoring nearby. Miss Sughra is also napping by waving hand fan. Now fan has dropped from her hand. Now there is darkness and silence in the room. Lips of argils Mona Liza sleeping among four children are half-opened. Her face has become dismal due to stretch.
Dark circles of eyes have become duskier and her cheeks are covered with the shadow of death. It seems like an old tomb, the dome of which has cracked, which has no fragrant candle and which has no blossom flower in it.
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Published - March 2016