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English to Tamil Translation Part I
Thread poster: snagarajan
Local time: 17:50
English to Tamil
Mar 14, 2008

There are certain words in English which are unique. There may not be equivalent words for these peculiar words in all the languages of the world. This is not necessary also.
However, as a professional translator whenever when we want to translate a text containing these words we are at a dilemma.
Take for example the word ‘million’. This means ‘ten lakhs”.
But in Tamil there is no equivalent word for ten lakhs. But, Tamil being the richest classical language of the world it has words to express the smallest to the biggest numbers.
Given below are the words in Tamil to denote numbers :
1 = ONDRU -one
10 = PAT HU -ten
100 = NOORU -hundred
1000 = AAYIRAM -thousand
10000 = PAT HAYIRAM -ten thousand
100000 = LAKSHAM OR NOOARAYIRAM -hundred thousand
10000000 = KODI -ten million
100000000 = ARPUTHAM -hundred million
1000000000 = NIGARPUTAM - one billion
10000000000 = KUMBAM -ten billion
100000000000 = KANAM -hundred billion
1000000000000 = KARPAM -one trillion
10000000000000 = NIKARPAM -ten trillion
100000000000000 = PATHUMAM -hundred trillion
1000000000000000 = SANGGAM -one zillion
10000000000000000 = VELLAM -ten zillion
100000000000000000 = ANNIYAM -hundred zillion
1000000000000000000 = ARTTAM
10000000000000000000 = PARARTTAM
100000000000000000000 = POORIYAM
1000000000000000000000 = MUKKODI
10000000000000000000000 = MAHAYUGAM
The above table proves that Tamil is one of the oldest and greatest classical languages of the world.
However in order to translate the word ‘million’ we have to use ‘Pathu Noorayiram’
(ÀòÐ áȡ¢Ãõ) Which does not go well with translation from English to Tamil.
For example if we translate a simple sentence like “For this purpose ten million dollars has been spent” it would be “pathu pathu nooraayiram dolarkal intha vishyaththirkaka selavazikkappattullathu”(ÀòÐ ÀòÐ áȡ¢Ãõ ¼¡Ä÷¸û þó¾ Å¢„Âò¾¢ü¸¡¸ ¦ºÄÅÆ¢ì¸ôÀðÎûÇÐ).
The sentence here is not reader friendly.
On the contrary if we translate as, “ oru koti dollarkal intha vishayathirkaka selavazikkappattullathu” (´Õ §¸¡Ê ¼¡Ä÷¸û þó¾ Å¢„Âò¾¢ü¸¡¸î ¦ºÄÅÆ¢ì¸ôÀðÎûÇÐ), the proofreader or the person who knows English only is baffled when he does not see the word “million” (or the equivalent number) in the translation.
Under these circumstances, this is better to use the word ‘million’ itself in the Tamil text.
This is one simple example to show that we are forced to take a correct decision in choosing a word while translating from English to Tamil.
We will consider some more points in our future article.

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English to Tamil Translation Part I

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