restricted access On the Translation of Kertész's Sorstalanság (Fatelessness) into Serbian
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97 On the Translation of Kertész's Sorstalanság (Fatelessness) into Serbian Marko Čudić The work of Imre Kertész belongs to those texts whose emerging readership and reception faces the question: what are the possibilities and chances of translating such complex prose fiction from Hungarian into other languages? In this paper, I focus on Kertész's novel Sorstalanság (Fatelessness) and its translation into Serbian by Aleksandar Тišma. My analysis is based on the questions about the linguistic and poetic aspects of the novel that can be transferred into a foreign language and those that can be transferred only to the detriment of the original text. In the summer of 2003, György Vári organized a round table discussion with the novel's Spanish, French, Slovak, Bulgarian, and Finnish translators (unfortunately, Тišma passed away a few months earlier). In his introduction, Vári referred to Walter Benjamin, who suggested that a translation is "good" if the recipient can feel a certain amount of the foreign in its text. Therefore, an ideal translation would be one that emphasizes the language differences and thus forms a lively connection with the original text. It seems useful to remind ourselves that before Benjamin, in 1838, Friedrich Schleiermacher offered a similar opinion, namely, that the translator either leaves the writer alone as much as possible, and leads the reader to him, or he leaves the reader alone as much as possible, and leads the writer to him. These two paths are so different that only one of them can be chosen and followed, because mixing these two paths could lead to an unreliable result. Moreover, in this case, there is a permanent threat that the writer and the reader will misunderstand each other (37). This very old dilemma, the classic discussion of "literal" versus "free" translation, or, in other words, the clash of two needs—to treat the target language or source language in a "friendly" manner—and the efforts to have a compromise solution on this matter appears to be continuing in contemporary translation theories with the same vehemence: even the greatest philosophers and theoreticians of our time thought about translation in the line of this ancient problem. José Ortega y Gasset, in his Miseria y esplendor de la 98 Marko Čudić traducción, defends the creative and ingenious principle of translating, thqat is, the translator's right not to be completely faithful to the original, but only in those cases when the translator is an artist, a talented creator and inventor him- or herself. Henri Meschonnic, in his book, Pour la poétique, tries to find a compromise between these two paths, as do many other modern and contemporary theoretics including Antoine Berman or Jiří Levy. In contemporary theories of translation, for example, by Carlos Peira or Lawrence Venuti, the issue of the estranging character of translation remains. This requirement becomes important when talking about translating Kertész's first Sorstalanság (Fatelessness). The title of the novel and the text that follows assure us that, using the vocabulary of Russian Formalism, the essence of the artistic "estrangement" (Shklovsky) method used by Kertész lies in the specific use of language and in the ironic pillorization of the conventional language schemes produced by the grown-ups, when compared to the fifteen-year-old boy's "naive," "childish," and "adolescent" narrative . Vári discusses, in his Kertész Imre. Buchenwald fölött az ég (Imre Kertész: The Sky above Buchenwald), the incompatibility of the ideological position of adults with the fifteen-year-old adolescent boy's sensual world. Vári demonstrates that Kertész's novel is full of sentences that in the Hungarian are objectionable from a normative, traditional linguist's point of view. At the same time, the specific "damaged " language used by Kertész seems to have far deeper roots. In his book, A száműzött nyelv (Language in Exile), Kertész discusses the works of Jean Amerý and Tadeusz Borowski and writes, "I am quoting the words of authors who left us the real experience of the Holocaust and who already have spoken in a post-Auschwitz language. What kind of a language is that? For my personal use, I named it with a musical artificial word as atonal language. Namely, if we consider tonality, the unified mode, as a result of a conventional agreement, then this atonality declares the invalidity of this agreement, of this tradition" (283; unless noted...


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Subject Headings

  • Jews -- Persecutions -- Europe, Central -- History.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Hungary -- History.
  • Kertész, Imre, 1929- -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Europe, Central -- History.
  • Hungary -- Ethnic relations.
  • Europe, Central -- Ethnic relations.
  • Jews -- Persecutions -- Hungary -- History.
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