At Granta, Jaspreet Singh writes about his mother translating his stories from English to Punjabi, about becoming a writer, about translation as healing.
Here’s just a few lines:
Next day during lunch Mother asked again if I had already read the sample. I said it was very good.
‘How did you do it?’
She emphasized the usefulness of a dictionary. She recalled discussing a few translation challenges with my father.
‘But what you have here is more than a dictionary or discussions. You have preserved the emotional impact. How did you do it?’
She didn’t respond. Within minutes she transformed the kitchen table and started work. My mother translated the remaining stories in the collection during her visit. She would ask me a few pointed questions, and spend her days walking or translating. She used no laptop or desktop, not even a typewriter. In six weeks she had the first handwritten draft ready.