We at Mono Translation Bureau take up contractual assignments which have anything to do with languages. It could be editing, proof reading, dubbing, transcription, sub-titling, language classes, translations, interpretations, research work, technical writing and even ghost writing.
Malobika Chatterjee is a linguist. Alongside being an interpreter, her organization is also responsible for translation in a wide genre of languages. To mention just a few - Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Danish, Italian and Greek. Alongside, one has also to mention slightly more exotic languages like the African Zulu and Lucai - a somewhat unknown language of North Bengal.
The former English Honours of Loreto College, she has a knowledge of English, Hindi and Bengali – coupled with two European languages, French and German. On completion of her graduation, for a few days she remained associated with the BBC World Service Bengali Dept. But she did not hanker after a job – independence was far more appealing. She wanted to have an impact in the genre of writing.
It is with that objective in mind she established MONO TRANSLATION BUREAU. The journey formally began on the 3rd of June 1989. She not only handles translations herself, but there are also a panel of specialists. The enrolled panel members are adept at translating a variety of documents, factual treatise or literature. In 1984 Malobika moved with family from Burnpur and settled down in their ancestral house near in South Kolkata. Of course the place of the home-office has now changed after marriage to Prabal Chatterjee. At a point of time, Prabal Chatterjee himself was a big cog in an all India English Daily. Now, he is has his own set-up in the world of financial nitty-gritties, besides being a primal force and inspiration behind his wife’s continuing endeavours.
Malobika has quite a few achievements under the many hats she wears. She translated Saratchandra Chattopadhyay’s PARINEETA to help with the making of the script, which ultimately took the form of the movie and turned out to be a best-seller. A special edition of the book was published by Penguin Publishing House. Besides, under the aegis of Penguin Publishing (Now Penguin Random-House she has about 20 published translations. In 2005, in the Short Film Division of the Oscars, BORN INTO BROTHELS she doubled as an interpreter and transcriptionist.
Besides these, this organization has also successfully translated many timeless classics of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay and Saratchandra Chattopadhyay into English. These have found place in the Saratchandra and Bankimchandra compilations. Ten stories of the stories of Saradindu Bandopadhyay, as commissioned by Rupa Publishing – The Scarlet Dusk and other Stories was also crafted by Malobika.
Rabindranath Tagore’s ATITHI, DENA-PAONA, NOSHTONEER, KHOKABABUR PRATYABARTAN, KABULIWALA, KHUDITO PASHAN and other stories have been published by Front Page Publications under “Tagore’s Best Short Stories”. Malobika Chatterjee has also worked at different periods as translator and interpreter for the British Deputy High Commission, Indian Defence Services and domestic and overseas Investigative agencies.
However, Malobika does not merely translate or interpret, she also tries and prepare future progeny in this regard. Hence Mono Translation Bureau also organizes online language classes, depending on circumstances. Contacts are made and modalities organized.
Malobika’s familial background is also quite striking. Her maternal grandfather, the late Lt. Col. Monoranjan Sengupta was part of the Indian Medical Service in the British era. His sheer brilliance, skills and humanitarian services won him 17 - 24 carat gold medals. His pension came signed by His Highness King George V, Buckingham Palace. The documents remain treasured by the family. Malobika tells us his penchant for cars even made him add a Rolls Royce to his collection. Back in 1923- 24 On the other hand, Malobika’s paternal grand-father Hirak Chandra Chaudhuri was the sole Income tax Commissioner of undivided Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
In the course of conversation, Malobika also happened to mention that it was her maternal grandfather’s name and her sole effort that gave rise to the name of her organization MONO TRANSLATION BUREAU. It might well be said that Malobika has killed two birds with one stone ! Malobika’s indelible gratitude for her intellectual inheritance remains as strong as ever.
In her home-office at Joka, Malobika talked of 2 memorable experiences. At the very outset, Malobika was asked to translate an agricultural treatise in Finnish to English. Playing around the mulberry bush, from locating the one lady from whom doing it was a vague possibility (details in the original Bengali edition), getting a dictionary from the very cooperative Finnish officials and ultimately getting it done in time !
This might be of special interest to the football crazy city of Kolkata. It was during the World Cup Football. An Ad agency was given the responsibility of liaising to organize a small programme on television. Mono Translation Bureau and members of the team spent some sleepless hours and ultimately it got successfully done.
It is a tireless and yet exhausting task – but as Malobika's passion puts it – I love playing with words. Interpreting or writing is not just a profession, but is also a passion.