FOCUS National Translation Mission, which has been compiling specialised bilingual dictionaries for translators in all scheduled languages since 2006, has just rolled out the first lot
Assembling a dictionary is no one day's fret. And when it becomes a matter of generating a string of 11, then 11 more, you can imagine the amount of sweat and slog the endeavour can command.
Not surprising then that the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) took close to six years to roll out six bilingual dictionaries and yes, the toil of close to 80 editors. The work has become even more challenging as these are specialised dictionaries aimed at second language learners and translators.
Mysore-based CIIL, and its wing National Translation Mission (NTM) in collaboration with Pearson Education India, has been preparing these specialised bilingual dictionaries in all 22 scheduled languages, out of which 11 are to hit the market as the year turns.
And as Udaya Narayan Singh, former director of CIIL and General Editor of the dictionaries, states, “It needed an orchestra of 26 associate editors and 49 assistant editors besides so many other stringer scholars and technology workers.” Being its conductor, he terms it “a daunting task.”
Six of the first lot have recently hit the bookstores and Singh says, “Fine tuning the products at the end included taking editorial decisions on format, font, style-sheet and even veto example sentences which were not getting to the sense.”
Aditi Mukherjee, project director of NTM, adds, “Besides the General Editor, associate editors and assistant editors, there is a Team Lead in NTM, who coordinates all our lexical build activities under the guidance of the nodal officer, NTM, and the project director, NTM, with various parties including the team at Pearson.”
The dictionaries, modelled after the British National Corpus, are to help second language learners grab the vernacular. It is also to help translators to do their job better. Named the Longman-NTM-CIIL basic dictionary series, Mukherjee calls them “unique in nature.”
“To make them more relevant to the target users of Indian languages, these dictionaries have been designed and structured accordingly in the bilingual framework. So, they offer a fresh breath of life to the prospective translator and the second language learners who could refer to these slim volumes rather than sift through huge books often not containing or not foregrounding the most crucial information.”
The series, she says, “is the first step of NTM towards developing translation tools. The dictionaries have translations of example sentences and phrases present in the source language, English. Therefore, it will help to create a set of parallel corpus in all the languages listed in the VIII schedule of the Constitution.”
What's more, these dictionaries will eventually “become an asset for machine translation groups working with English-Indian languages or Indian Language-Indian language pairs.”
The first of the six published dictionaries are in Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya and Tamil. The rest of the 11 which are to come out this year, will be in Punjabi, Urdu, Marathi, Telugu and Gujarati. “They are in various stages of compilation,” Mukherjee informs us.
In the second lot, 11 more will be published, completing the task of bringing out Longman-NTM-CIIL dictionaries in all our 22 scheduled languages. “Formal agreements with Pearson are expected to be signed soon,” she adds.
SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY