Larger-than-life Chennai International Book Fair; 45 Tamil books will be translated

In order to translate Tamil literary works into more than 25 languages, the state government has approved 45 external grants thus far. This includes an Italian comic book adaptation of Ponniyin Selvan and a translation of Paththuppaattu into Malay.

Over 350 memorandums of understanding for both internal and external translations were reportedly signed during the Chennai International Book Fair last year, according to officials. In addition to the 45 approved outward grants, over 50 are undergoing review, and 12 more have been added to a waiting list.

“We aim to translate about 100 books through these MoUs. Some countries have even begun the translation work and are in the process of designing covers and writing synopses. We are planning a booklet featuring books that are to be translated, including their covers in the target language and synopses in Tamil,” said an official from Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation (TNTB&ESC).

This year, the translation grant from the Tamil Nadu government has been enhanced from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 3 crore. In addition, publishers have been urged to submit applications for translation grants that are awarded by different nations.

According to officials, publishers have received between six and seven internal translation grants from different nations thus far.

This year’s Chennai International Book Fest is anticipated to draw participants from more than 40 nations.

“This is mainly due to the impact of CIBF’s stall at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where we met several publishers and authors. We will have participants representing all continents this time around. This will include the US, Canada, Brazil, France, Spain, Germany, UK, Lithuania, Albania, Senegal, Tanzania, New Zealand and Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia and Turkey. Moreover, the US Consulate has also approached us to organise a book release event,” they added

Twenty literary agents who will participate in CIBF this year have been trained by the directorate of public libraries in an effort to close the communication gap that existed previously between international and Tamil publishers.

One innovative program that aims to establish the state’s literary presence in the international arena is the Global Literary Agents program, which is certified by the government. Twenty individuals, including a journalist, were selected by the directorate from among the 500 applications received for the program and trained.

Officials noted, “The participants were broadly trained on the history of Tamil literature, inward and outward grant, copyright laws, preparation of author profiles, blurb and synopsis writing.”

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