Hungarian books in English

Our current quarantine and partial lock-down certainly has its challenges, but it also provides an opportunity to do something different. Hungary has a rich history of writers and authors, many of whom have been translated into English, and the English-language books can be ordered online.

The Paul Street Boys (Pál utcai fiúk) by Ferenc Molnár

There are some gems of Hungarian literature out there, dating from roughly the 1900s to the present day. For example The Paul Street Boys (Pál utcai fiúk) by Ferenc Molnár. Set in March 1889 in Budapest, it tells the story of the rivalry between the Paul Street boys and the ‘boys with crimson shirts’. It is a tale of friendship, heroic sacrifice, betrayal, the different versions of strength and power and the value of each person, no matter how big or small.


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Eclipse of the Crescent Moon (Egri Csillagok) by Géza Gárdonyi

Moving further back in time we have Eclipse of the Crescent Moon (Egri Csillagok) by Géza Gárdonyi, another classic that every Hungarian knows well. The narrative revolves around the Turkish siege of the castle of Eger in 1552, as well as the siege of Buda, the Hungarian capital. The plot takes place during the time of the Turkish occupation in the 16th century, and follows the two main characters, Gergely Bornemissza and Éva Cecey, from their childhood to the victory of the defenders of Eger Castle.


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Sándor Márai entitled Embers (A Gyertyák Csonkig Égnek)

Sándor Márai wrote many poems, essays and plays, but was also a successful novel-writer His novel Embers (A Gyertyák Csonkig Égnek) was published in 1942, and it features two old friends who meet again after decades have passed and talk all night to catch up. As we get into the story, one of them morphs into an accuser while the other is the accused. It is a story of friendship, betrayal, fidelity, and the emotional suspense keeps you interested all the way through


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Fatelessness (Sorstalanság) by Imre Kertész, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002.

The fourth book in our series brings us closer to the present day and is of course Fatelessness (Sorstalanság) by Imre Kertész, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002.

Fatelessness follows the life of a teenage Jewish boy in Hungary in the 1940s. A coming-of-age story in the horrible circumstances of a concentration camp and how he reacts to it all. It is not an easy topic, but Kertész’s style and his brilliance in dealing with difficult issues delicately make it a must-read. It has also been turned into a movie, with Ennio Morricone composing the music and Daniel Craig making an appearance as well.


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Magda Szabó: The Door

The Door is based on actual events; the author portrays a crucial episode of her life in a breathtakingly beautiful way. The protagonist is Emerenc Szeredás; it is through her that themes of loneliness, sins, forgiveness and hidden scars are told. It is a beautiful, personal confession of the author that deeply touched readers both in Hungary and abroad. Written in 1987, the first edition sold out in just a week. It has been translated into English, German and a further 32 languages. It was also turned into a movie, featuring Helen Mirren in the role of the protagonist.


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We hope you enjoy reading these four pieces of Hungarian literature in English, and let us know what you thought of them!

Transcreation – How Cross-Market Copywriting Helps Businesses Globally

Transcreation – How Cross-Market Copywriting Helps Businesses Globally

Industries evolve over time. It’s a must, because if you don’t, or can’t, you find yourself left by the wayside.

While transcreation isn’t a new concept in global business, it is certainly now much more in demand by our clients at EDMF. Let’s take a look at why.

What is transcreation?

Coined from the words “translation” and “creation”, transcreation could be construed to mean creative translation, or perhaps cross-market copywriting. In reality, you have translation on the one side, transcreation on the other, and between the two you will find marketing translation.

Sometimes, just translating the words you see in front of you is the right idea. This can be the best approach when translating a technical manual, when what matters is that the reader understands what the exact equivalent of a particular component is in their language.

Yet other times, opting to translate like this will bring you up very short indeed. It’s not only the meaning that needs conveyed, you have to take into account cultural differences and harness them for mostly marketing purposes. It is no surprise that this is often required mostly with advertising or promotional texts, and also with websites. A complex website translation, for example, may well require translation, marketing translation and transcreation, and can involve several translators working together.

Why do I need it?

When you ask for a text to be translated, you obviously want it to have the same impact on your target-reader audience as it does with your original audience. That’s a given. But sometimes finding the equivalent word is not enough. Transcreation digs that bit further and looks at the emotional reaction triggered by a text, with a view to eliciting the same response in the translated language.

This is where the language professional is given freer rein than they might with conventional translations. Since it’s not so much the words and their literal meaning that count, but what effect they have on the reader, the transcreator is able to stray from the original text in order to achieve that goal, possibly even recreating everything if need be.

Transcreation in practice

One good example of transcreation is Intel, who changed its English slogan, “Intel: Sponsors of Tomorrow”, to “Intel: In Love with the Future” for its slogan in Brazil, because they had realised that in Portuguese this would otherwise imply the company would not deliver promptly as promised.

Transcreation in websites can also involve using different colour schemes or layouts, and sometimes it can even impact on the product. Red Bull, for example, changed the colours of its energy drink when entering the Chinese market. It switched to red and gold because these colours are deemed to bring good fortune in China.

I need transcreation. Where should I go?

There are many examples of companies who failed to do their research and had to rebrand newly launched products as a result, throwing money out of the window in the process. But with a bit of forethought, and the right partner, you can avoid the pitfalls with taking your product or service to other countries.

Contact EDMF today to find out more about how we can help promote your brand in today’s global market.

video translation 2020

Video Translation – Keeping Up With Multilingual Content in 2020

In today’s modern world, barely a day will go by without you watching a video, whether it’s on your smartphone when commuting to work, or on your laptop at home.

YouTube has over one billion users with more than one billion videos watched per day, so it’s no surprise we are bombarded with content. 87% of online marketers rely on videos to promote their content, while according to Hubspot, 63% of businesses used video as a marketing tool in 2017, but that number has now increased to 87% in 2019.

Multilingual content

With all this content being created, it’s no wonder that the demand for video translation is also rising. There’s no point in having great video marketing content about your company if the people in your target market can’t understand what you’re saying!

Video translation is quite a complex process that differs from simple text translation, and normally requires a team of experts. First and foremost, you need professional translators, one for each language you want to translate your video into. As with all professional translation projects, you’ll want people translating into their mother tongues.

For most online uses, subtitles or closed captions at the bottom of the video is the preferred option. According to Facebook, 85% of the videos viewed on its site are watched without sound, so captions are crucial for being able to follow what is said (subtitles assume the audience can hear the audio, while closed captioning assumes the audience cannot hear the audio).

How does it work?

There are various steps to the video translation process:

  • Transcription: First you have to transcribe the dialogue as well as any other relevant on-screen text in your video.
  • Timestamping: When your transcribed file is ready, you need to timestamp the text to make sure it appears at the right time in your video.
  • Translation: The transcribed text is then translated into your target language, and adjusted to make sure the target text also appears at the right time in your video.
  • Subtitle/caption files: Once you have the text in the target language, it needs to be put into subtitle files so that the text can be displayed on screen as the video plays.
  • Video editing: And the last step is to integrate the translated files into your video file.

This is quite a simple overview of the video translation process, but it shows that there is quite a significant difference between this and a simple text translation. And we haven’t even delved into voice-overs either!

In an earlier blog post we talked about transcreation, and with promotional texts or adverts in video format you may well find that this is what you need to get the message across, adding another facet to the translation process.

Whatever your requirements, if you want to broaden the reach of your video content than get in touch with us at EDMF to see how we can help you conquer those foreign markets.

Interview with Iain Lindsay, the UK’s Ambassador to Hungary

Interview with Iain Lindsay, the UK’s Ambassador to Hungary

We don’t think anyone really needs an introduction to Iain Lindsay, the UK’s Ambassador to Hungary. Thanks largely to his social media endeavours he is extremely well known in the country. We can find him on the street wearing his kilt to present memories of Hungarian-Scottish relationships, but also see him reciting Hungarian poems on YouTube.

A multilingual ambassador, we asked him about his personal background with languages, and delved into the complex, serious, and unknown world of diplomatic translation and interpreting.

Iain, how many languages do you speak, and what was your first encounter with a foreign language?

I’ve learnt four languages: French, Japanese, Romanian and Hungarian. I can still get by in the first three, but I find that I am very much a ‘one foreign language in the brain at any time’ linguist.  Two of my most embarrassing moments while learning Hungarian at the University of Debrecen were when I tried to hold conversations in Japanese and Romanian. I learnt French from an early age, probably 6 or 7 years old.

We need to ask you as a Scot, do you speak Gaelic?

No, I’m afraid to say that I don’t, although I have tried learning. I have a few Gaelic textbooks at home. It’s a lovely language and I am glad that there has been something of a Gaelic revival in recent years.

We understand learning foreign languages is compulsory for UK diplomatic staff. If it wasn’t would you still learn, and why? Which language would you most like to speak?

Learning languages is not compulsory as such, but it would be unusual to find a British diplomat who has not had to learn a foreign language. For jobs overseas in non-English speaking countries we decide whether the diplomat needs to speak the local language to do their job, so-called ‘speaker’ positions. If they do, then to what level? B1, C1, C2?

For example, among the several British diplomats at the British Embassy in Budapest only I and my deputy need Hungarian (to C1 level) for our jobs. So both of us have had intensive full-time pre-arrival Hungarian training, in my case 7 months, in my deputy’s case a year (the length of time it takes a full-time learner to get to C1 Hungarian).

However, we offer optional language training to all diplomats (and their spouses/partners) being posted overseas into ‘non-speaker’ jobs, which provides a basic level of language training intended to help with day to day living. The number of hours allocated will depend on the degree of difficulty of the language, but will range between 110 and 250 hours.  So we really take language training seriously.

If I didn’t have to learn languages I would still do so as it not only enables better communication but opens up a whole world of insights into another country, its history, its culture and its people.  The next language I would like to learn is Italian, but my greatest regret is that I did not learn Arabic when I was Ambassador in Bahrain, because it was not necessary for my job given that 95% of Bahrainis speak English and, as some of my friends pointed out, the Bahraini Royal family and government ministers speak better English than me!

How much do you use your languages in your working life?

Not as much as you might think.  In the Embassy I speak English and just occasional social Hungarian. External meetings are usually in English with some social Hungarian at the start and finish. When I give a speech some it will be in Hungarian, depending upon the event and the audience. Interviews are usually in English, with a few Hungarian sentences thrown in, although I have given some recent interviews in just Hungarian, like with Nők Lapja and RTL Klub for example. Social media interviews are usually in Hungarian, and I write bilingual Instagram stories.

For which occasions do you take an interpreter, and when do you manage alone?

Only very occasionally for meetings given that they are usually in English! All the TV stations will provide an interpreter, although I have promised ATV that I will give an interview once just in Hungarian.

Have you ever noticed your interpreter making a mistake and subtly corrected it?

No!  I have been very fortunate with my interpreters, most of whom I now know well.

What value does good quality translation and interpreting provide for you as Ambassador, and within the Embassy as a whole?

It’s essential! Without it I would be lost! All my Hungarian staff are bilingual so they provide me with excellent English language briefing for meetings and events. The only time they do produce work for me in Hungarian is writing speeches, parts of speeches or simple speaking notes. So it’s not really translation work as such, although some of the material they work with, e.g. lines to take from London, they will have translated into Hungarian.

Are you good at accents?

Yes, also I’m a reasonably good mimic, which I think helps. But it has taken me a long time to develop a Hungarian accent, and I’m still not there. By comparison, I think I picked up Japanese and Romanian accents reasonably quickly.

If you had to retire to a non-English-speaking country, which one would you choose and why?

I really, really like Hungary….but my wife and I have often talked about living in Italy. We love the place, the ambience and the people.  And the food and wine aren’t bad either!

*Iain Lindsay joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1980 and has spent much of his career in Asia Pacific, serving in Tokyo (twice), Hong Kong and Canberra. He was Deputy Head of Mission and Political Counsellor in Bucharest from 2003-2007, working on Romania’s accession to NATO and the EU. Prior to that he served as a foreign policy adviser to the Romanian Foreign Minister. He was Deputy Head of Mission and Director, Trade and Investment at the British Consulate General in Hong Kong from 2007-2011. The Queen awarded him an OBE in 2002.

He was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Hungary from 30 March 2016.

Merry Christmas!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

“Christmas! ‘Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”

~Washington Irving

EDMF Translations, Hungarian poetry day

National Poetry Day in Hungary

11 April is National Poetry Day in Hungary. The excellent Hungarian poet Attila József was born on this day, which has been National Poetry Day since 1964. Let us commemorate the great poet.

(You can read more about him here: For those who love poems, we particularly recommend the following beautiful poem by Attila József, as translated into English:

Hungarian poetry day, Attila József

Photo source: Wikipedia

Attila JÓZSEF: Lullaby

The sky’s blue eyes are falling shut,
shut, too, the house’s many eyes;
fields sleep beneath their coverlet –
so go to sleep now, little Blaise.

Ants rest their heads upon their knees,
the drowsy wasps are in a daze,
their business and buzzing cease –
so go to sleep now, little Blaise.

The streetcar snores, its rumbling
dozes, forgetful of the days,
but rings its dream-bell, ding-a-ling –
so go to sleep now, little Blaise.

Asleep the jacket on the chair,
its torn sleeve dozes where it lies,
this day no further will it tear –
so go to sleep now, little Blaise.

The whistle snoozes, and the ball,
the woods and picnic holidays,
the favourite choccie-bar, and all –
so go to sleep now, little Blaise.

Distance, glass marble of the skies,
you will achieve in all your ways,
you’ll be a giant; close your eyes –
and go to sleep now, little Blaise.

A soldier, fireman, you will be!
shepherd, you’ll lead wild game to graze!
Mummy herself drifts off, just see –
so go to sleep now, little Blaise.

Translated by: Zs. Osvath; F. Turner

EDMF -Idézetek a fordításról, Vlagyimir Nabokov gondolatai

Quotes On Translation – Vladimir Nabokov

“There are three grades of translation evils: 1. errors; 2. slips; 3. willful reshaping”

~ Vladimir Nabokov