Fragments of a Report: Ulysses Translation in Progress


Along with a small group of scholars, I am working on an extensive re-edition and partial re-translation of James Joyce’s Ulysses into the Hungarian language. This essay is a brief account of the work performed and the theoretical and practical problems encountered by the group. After presenting the contradictory history of Joyce’s reception in Hungary, I address the theoretical problems of Weltriteratur and the possible strategies of translation in connection with Joyce’s work. My essay also sets up a system of categories for cases of untranslatability, showing the most typical errors committed (and some of the most brilliant and congenial solutions created) by previous translators. In conclusion, it raises some of the ethical issues of translation and presents the “ten commandments” for the translator of Joyce’s work.