Exploring ties between Romani culture and the field of translation

Translation Romani has decided to maintain use of the word Romani in all language versions of this website, inclusively and in reference both to the language and people of all the diverse ethnic communities throughout the world, i.e. Roma, Sinti, Manuš, Calé, Romanichal, Kalé, and many others. Please read the important notes from our translators for explanations and other translations currently in use locally, nationally or regionally.

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Translation Romani

There are many historical precursors to film production as we know it today (shadow plays, magic lantern, kinetoscope, mutoscope, cinematograph), but rudimentary film projections appeared in public for the first time in the United States, England and France during the 1890s. The silent film industry arose in the 1920s. One of the first masters in acting and film producing silent movies worldwide was Charlie Chaplin, a Romani Romanichal from England. Film production evolved from black-and-white to color during the 1940s, and eventually became the norm in the 1960s. Actor Yul Brynner, who gained international acclaim from the 1950s through the 1970s, was also of Romani descent, for which he was named Honorary President of the International Romani Union in 1977. During the second half of the 20th c., technologies continued to have a major impact on film production and the entertainment industry, including 3D films, which began to experience a rebirth during the 1990s. Many sub-genres exist within cinema and film, with documentary production increasing in popularity. Globalization has likewise significantly influenced growth of the industry. Foreign films are exported and imported successfully internationally through subtitling and dubbing. The two largest centers of film production in the world currently are Hollywood (in English) and Bollywood (in Hindi, Urdu, Indian English and other languages).

Throughout film history, many non-Romani film producers have depicted various aspects of Romani life and culture in their movies, often capitalizing on stereotypes already in circulation. A more substantive Romani film industry began to emerge in the late 20th c., including three widely acclaimed films by two non-Romani producers: Skupljači Perja (I Even Met Some Happy Gypsies) by Alexander Petrović from Yugoslavia in 1967, and Dom za vešanje (Time of the Gypsies) and Crna mačka, beli mačor (Black Cat, White Cat) by Emir Kusturica from Yugoslavia in 1988. In 1995, Russian Romani Dufunya Vishnevsky would produce Greshnye apostoly lyubvi (Sinful Apostles of Love). However, French (Algerian) Romani Tony Gatlif has been the most prolific film producer thus far, releasing, among others, Gadjo dilo (1997), Exils (2004), Transylvania (2006), and Korkoro (2009), which won the Montreal World Film Festival Awards 2009. Romani documentaries, such as Suspino: A Cry for Roma (2003) with Canadian Romani human rights activist Ronald Lee, and emerging productions by young Romani such as Me, My Gipsy Family & Woody Allen by Laura Halilovic, are steadily increasing in number. Film producers such as Little Dust Productions (founded by Jasmine Dellal), which has produced Gypsy Caravan, American Gypsy, and Searching for the 4th Nail (George Eli, American Romani), are actively collaborating with Romani communities and using film for activism . Film festivals like the International Gypsy Film Festival in London (2006), the Golden Wheel Film Festival in Skopje, Macedonia, and the annual New York Roma / Gypsy Human Rights Film Festival in New York, as well as festivals with an important film component like the annual Herdeljezi Roma Festival in Sebastopol, California, are some popular venues.


Bakker, Peter and Kyuchukov, Hristo (eds), What is the Romani language? (Paris / Hertfordshire: Centre de recherches tsiganes / University of Hertfordshire Press, 2000).

Malvinni, David (2004), The Gypsy Caravan. From Real Roma to Imaginary Gypsies in Western Music and Film, New York / London: Routledge.

Netmation. "Society-Ethnicity-Romani." Website. (Film reviews)

Sklar, Robert (2003), A World History of Film, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.

Translation Romani

Random Romani Word Other Romani Word
Sar san? (Kalderash)
Sar san tu?|Sar san?|So ćere(s)h? (Gurbeti)
Sar san?| So si tusa? (Lovari)
Sar san/sijan? (Xoraxane)
 How are you? (EN)  Como você está? (PT)  Comment allez-vous? (FR)  ¿Cómo está?|¿Cómo estás? (ES)  Wie geht es Ihnen? (DE)  Hogy vagy? (HU)  Come sta? (IT)  Nasılsınız? (TR)  Jak se máš? (CS)

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