Noted writer and translator Jerry Pinto has said that Marathi deserves to be a "global language" and needs many more translators.
Pinto's translation of the trend-setting Dalit autobiography 'Baluta', published last year, has won plaudits from the critics.
Speaking at the LIC Gateway Litfest in the city last evening, Pinto, whose debut novel 'Em and the Big Hoom' won Hindu Literary Prize in 2012, said it was highly regrettable that Baluta, written by Dalit poet-writer Daya Pawar, was translated into English only last year, decades after the original book came out.
"It should have been translated in 1978. It is a shame (that it took so long)," he said.
Pinto also said it was wrong to say that the book became global because of its translation.
"To think the translation made it global is stupid," he said, stressing that it had already reached a very wide audience and even its pirated versions were sold (indicating the popularity).
Unfortunately, he remarked, "worst-possible" books are getting translated into Marathi these days which do not strengthen the "ideation base" of the society.
"This is a problem," he said.
Pinto also said there weren't enough bilingual translators (who can translate both ways) for Marathi, and those who translate are only concerned about personal gain, while the situation was different in the 19th century when people wrote or translated with a higher motive.
"Where is that spirit gone from Marathi?" he asked.
There was a time when Marathi was a national language and was spoken from Delhi to Cochin, he said, quoting historian Jadunath Sarkar, and added, "It deserves to be a global language.