László Sujtó is the Hungarian editor of the Hungarian Review, a publication on various historical and cultural topics related to the Magyar nation and its surroundings. He is also a professor and translator, fluent in French, English, and (of course) Hungarian. In this interview, he explains a bit more about his work with the review journal and academic translation in general.
Question: What is the Hungarian Review? Who is the target reader?
Hungarian Review is a bi-monthly journal intended for those who are interested in Hungarian and Central European political, economical, social, cultural and minority issues. Although the Review is edited in Budapest, it is our policy to publish in every issue articles written by journalists, political analysts and writers from the neighbouring countries.
[Note: Just to whet your appetite, the March issue of this publication included such articles as “Balkanist Discourse and its Critics,” “Why Europe Needs a First Amendment,” and “Budapest Illuminated.” There was also a beautifully illustrated section on the art of Peter Meller, and an interview with the Hungarian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Quite a mix!]
Q: How are the articles chosen for inclusion in the journal?
We choose the articles to be published on the basis of their quality. When we want to publish something on a special occasion (i.e. the anniversary of a historical event or a distinguished artist or writer), we call for the contributions of the best known specialists.
Q: If the original article is in Hungarian, how do you go about translating it to English? What does the process look like, and who are the actors?
Some of our translators are native English speakers having a good command of the Hungarian language; others are Hungarians born and brought up in the US; again others are Hungarians having lived long years in Britain or America, or having acquired an excellent mastery of the English language in Hungary. They usually have two weeks to accomplish the translation of 8–12 page-long texts. My duty is to control the accuracy of the translation. Then the text goes to our English copyeditor, who introduces further amendments. The final version is read three times by the editor in chief, the English editor and myself before publication.
Q: How does academic translation differ from other types of translation?
Academic translation is different from literary translation insofar as the translator must primarily focus on the exact rendering of the conceptual apparatus employed in the original and the train of thoughts of the author. But there are scholarly texts having literary qualities too; in this case the task of the translator is often more difficult than that of a translator of belles-lettres.
Q: I’d like to take a moment to say how beautiful the printed copies of this journal are. Who is the printer? How can readers get a copy for themselves?
Thank you for your words of appreciation concerning the material quality of our Review. Art historian Mária Illyés and editorial manager Ildikó Geiger deserve credit for the quality of the illustrations.
If someone wishes to get a copy of one of our previous editions, the best way is to write to our Circulation and Subscriptions Manager Violetta Ibolya Dán (email@example.com). She will be happy to help.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention related to the publication?
I hope that our Review helps readers in remote countries to know and understand better the present concerns, the history, and the cultural heritage of Hungarians and other Central European nations. I hope that some of our articles incite some readers to search for additional information on certain topics and to be acquainted with the extremely diverse and multifaceted literature of this European region.
We are very grateful for the interest you take in the circulation of our periodical.
Thank you, László, for sharing your thoughts and information on this journal! Readers, if you’d like to see more, you can visit their website at www.hungarianreview.com.