A Chinese publisher has recalled the latest Chinese-language translation of a work by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, after it drew sharp criticism in India that it is too vulgar and strays too far from the original text.
Zhejiang Literature and Arts Publishing House announced this week that it would pull from shelves all copies of Tagore’s “Stray Birds,” translated by contemporary Chinese writer Feng Tang, citing controversy and saying it would review the translation.
In the passage that has drawn the strongest objections, Feng Tang translated the line “The world takes off its mask of vastness for its lover” as “The world unzipped his pants in front of his lover.” Feng Tang also used the Chinese word for “coquettish” to translate the word “hospitable” in a line where Tagore describes the grass-growing earth.
Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913, is revered as a literary giant in India and the Chinese translation has angered many in the Indian intellectual circle. It also has drawn strong criticism in China, where Tagore also is widely admired.
“This incident raises questions about the role of the translator in relation to the author and what his motives were,” said Radha Chakravarty, a Tagore scholar who teaches in the Ambedkar University in New Delhi.
Source: Arab News