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English to Romani Translation

Ronald lee is an accredited specialist in the written translation of the International Vlach-Romani dialect from English to Romani which is used officially by the European Rights Centre, The EU, the UN. the International Romani Union and many other official organizations and NGOs. as well as by RomArchives blog and many universities. Ronald Lee’s major translations include Concordia University web site, Montreal, Hate Can Kill for the Toronto Hate Crimes Division of Toronto Municipal Police, the International Poetry book Like Water, an anthology of Romani women’s poetry, numerous translations for the Roma Community Centre and RomArchives blog, a site which promotes Romani art and Romani artists. Ronald Lee is the author of Learn Romani, published by Hertfordshire UP and Romani Alavari, a Romani-English and English-Romani two volume dictionary of the Vlach-Romani dialect.

“… After decades of meticulous work, and based on his combined first-hand experience as a fluent speaker, translator and interpreter, Mr. Lee recently completed the bilingual Kalderash Romani and English dictionary. I cannot stress enough the importance of this dictionary…”

Deborah Folaron
Associate Professor, Translation Studies
Concordia University
Montréal, Québec, Canada

“… a comprehensive modern dictionary of the internationalised dialect, which will serve the emerging literary and administrative language needs of the growing Romani intelligentisa…”

Professor Thomas A. Acton, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.), F.R.S.A., O.B.E.
Professor of Romani Studies, University of Greenwich


With Yul Brynner at the UN in New York May 31, 1978

Ronald Lee with Yul Brynner at the UN in New York May 31, 1978 as part of a delegation composed of Yul Brynner, Ian Hancock, John Tene and Ronald Lee. This was the official presentation of the Petition from the Romani Union representing the Roma in 32 countries requesting status in the UN as a people without a country. Ron Lee carried the first Canadian Romani flag made by his daughter Diana “Johnny” Lee. In 1979 the UN granted the Romani Union status of an NGO Third Class with consultative status to the UN.

“A New Look at Our Romani Origins and Diaspora” by Ronald Lee

©Ronald Lee, 2009, all rights reserved

“Until lions have historians,
Stories of the hunt
Shall always glorify the hunters.’’

— African proverb

The Mystery People and the Pseudo-Egyptians

For almost five-hundred years after we Romani people appeared in Europe in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, Europeans were asking where we had come from. By then, we ourselves had forgotten our origins in North-Central India although in 1422 some Romani newcomers did tell Italians in Forli, Italy, who asked them where they had come from, that their original homeland was in India. (Muratori, 1731, Vol X1X: 890) This remained buried in the archives until recently (Informaciako Lil 7-9, 1992). Our Indian origin only started to become known in the latter 18th century among a select group of scholars such as pioneer Heinrich Grellman.
Continue reading “A New Look at Our Romani Origins and Diaspora” by Ronald Lee

Learn Romani – Das Duma Romanes

Following 18 carefully structured lessons, this Romani language primer explores the vocabulary and grammar of the Kalderash Roma in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Designed for beginner students, this course reference begins with the basic verbs and nouns and builds through to the subtler grammatical necessities of reading and speaking the language. Quotations from native speakers, poems, songs, proverbs, and folktales add to the cultural and historical understanding of the language.

This course of Romani language lessons is intended both for Romani people who wish to re-learn their ancestral language in its modern form and for non-Roma who want to learn Romani. Romani has many dialects and no standard written form; this course is based on the Romani language as spoken by the Kalderash Roma in Europe, the US, Canada, and Latin America – a native speaker of a particular Kalderash dialect can usually converse fluently with any other Kalderash speaker. Kalderash-Romani belongs to the Vlax-Romani group of dialects which evolved in central Europe before spreading all over the world. Speakers of Vlax-Romani dialects far outnumber speakers of any other Romani dialect worldwide. The phonetic system used is based on English and is designed to be understood by English speakers, and any grammatical and linguistic terms are clearly explained.

Eighteen lessons take the student from the basic declensions of verbs and nouns, gradually building up vocabulary and grammar, through to the later lessons which fill in the subtler points of this rich language. Romani is a living language, borrowing vigorously from the languages of the countries where its native speakers find themselves. Quotations from native speakers are printed throughout the book to give a flavour of authenticity, as are poems, songs, proverbs and folk tales which the student will gradually be able to understand.

Bibliographer Edward Proctor has provided a comprehensive list of source materials for further study of Kalderash and related dialects for the interested student.