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.

EDMF Translates High-quality Cookbook on European Gastronomy

EDMF Translates High-quality Cookbook on European Gastronomy

Ever wondered how the Austrians make their renowned Tafelspitz? Perhaps you’re a fish addict and are interested in what makes a good sea fish soup in Croatia, or how the Finns prepare their gravlax? Or maybe, just maybe, you’d love to know how the French make their éclairs or the Belgians make such delicious chocolate cake.

The translators at EDMF were faced with all these recipes and many more during the recent translation of “How to Cook in Europe”, the latest in a series of high-quality cookbooks published at the end of 2017.

Following on from the success of “How to Cook in Hungary”, also translated by EDMF, this time the focus switched to Europe, and the book covers recipes from 15 different countries, including Italy, Spain, the UK and of course Hungary.

Alongside the recipes showcasing some gems of local cuisine in each country, paired with recommended beverages for each course, the book also contains a run-down of the national cuisines in general, so it really is the first place to go for an introduction into European cooking.

Translating a book of this size and complexity does have its challenges. Making sure all the translators are singing from the same song sheet is crucial. What does this mean? Well, it’s important that everyone uses the same terms for the different cuts of meat for example, and for the utensils used during cooking. The measurements listed with the ingredients also have to be standardised. This is all part of the preparatory work before the translation even starts, and fortunately we have a wealth of experience here. The sophisticated translation memory tool in use at EDMF is a huge help when several translators are working on the same project at the same time.

The recipes themselves can be tricky as well, and the translators need to be on top of their cooking terminology. Does the meat need braised, roasted or grilled? Do the vegetables need boiled, steamed, sautéed or stir-fried?

And accuracy is king, as with all translations of course. Get the measurements wrong or miss out a step, and people will be wondering why their panna cotta didn’t set or their cake didn’t rise. This is where EDMF’s tried and tested QA procedures kick in, making sure that the translations are faithful to the original with nothing missed out.

Sometimes translations can be a few pages long, they are delivered in a day, and you never see them again. This is why a book project like this, lasting months, is quite special, as at the end you see the fruits of all your endeavours.

And since you can build up quite an appetite translating over long hours, this means you get to mix business with pleasure. Now where’s my apron….?

Origin of the Names of the Months

Where did the months get their name from?

Where did the months get their name from? And why is January two-faced? You can read more about this ancient story here. This is a real treat, especially if you are interested in Roman mythology.

Origin of the Names of the Months

January: Janus, Roman god of doors, beginnings, sunset and sunrise, had one face looking forward and one backward,

February: On 15 February the Romans celebrated the festival of forgiveness for sins; (februare, Latin to purify),

March: Mars, the Roman god of war,

April: Roman month Aprilis, perhaps derived from aperire, (Latin to open, as in opening buds and blossoms) or perhaps from Aphrodite, original Greek name of Venus,

May: Maia, Roman goddess, mother of Mercury by Jupiter and daughter of Atlas,

June: Juno, chief Roman goddess,

July: Renamed for Julius Caesar in 44 BC, who was born this month; Quintilis, Latin for fifth month, was the former name (the Roman year began in March rather than January),

August: Formerly Sextilis (sixth month in the Roman calendar); re-named in 8 BC for Augustus Caesar,

September: September, (septem, Latin for 7) the seventh month in the Julian or Roman calendar, established in the reign of Julius Caesar,

October: Eighth month (octo, Latin for 8) in the Julian (Roman) calendar. The Gregorian calendar instituted by Pope Gregory XIII established January as the first month of the year,

November: Ninth Roman month (novem, Latin for 9). Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1582, skipping 10 days that October, correcting for too many leap years,

December: Julian (Roman) year’s tenth month (decem, Latin for 10).


EDMF Translations, Origin of Easter

Origin of the word Easter: from pagan festivals to the celebration we know today

There are many traditions surrounding the celebration of Easter. There are many stories and legends from the old pagan mythology, through the goddess Eostre to the Dutch connection.


Easter and the old pagan mythology

One of the theories is that the word ‘Easter’ comes from two old pagan spring festivals. The old European pagan festival of ‘Ostara’ that celebrated new life, and the Arabian Sun festival of ‘Ishtar’. The early Christians took over the festivals and turned the pagan festivals of new life to mean the new life that Jesus gave the world when he rose from the dead.

EDMF Translations, Origin of Easter

The “modern” Easter and the Dutch connection

The modern English term Easter, a cognate with the modern Dutch word ooster; the German Ostern, developed from an Old English word that usually appears in the form Ēastrun, -on, or -an; but also as Ēastru, -o; and Ēastre or Ēostre.

Easter: an ancient goddess or a celebration?

The most exciting theory of the origin of the term is that it is derived from the name of a goddess. Around the 7th to 8th century, English monk Bede wrote that Ēosturmōnaþ was an English month, corresponding to April.  According to the late monk, “it was once called after a goddess of theirs named Ēostre. In her honour feasts were celebrated in that month”. Although there is no firm evidence that such a goddess actually existed, the old word Ēostre sounds suspiciously like Easter.

EDMF Translations, Origin of Easter

The Aramaic origin and its Greek-Latin descendants

In Greek and Latin, the Christian celebration was, and still is, called Πάσχα, Pascha. A word derived from the Aramaic פסחא, a cognate with the Hebrew פֶּסַח (Pesach). The word originally denoted the Jewish festival known in English as Passover, commemorating the Jewish Exodus from slavery in Egypt. In the 1st century, Paul, writing from Ephesus to the Christians in Corinth.  Applied the term to Christ, and it is unlikely that the Ephesian and Corinthian Christians were the first to hear Exodus 12 interpreted as speaking about the death of Jesus, not just about the Jewish Passover ritual.

EDMF Translations, Origin of Easter


Egy egyedülálló gasztronómiai könyv fordításának története

Do You Speak Hungarian Gastronomy?

How To Cook In Hungary – a unique book on Hungarian gastronomy, translating cuisine.

Translating books is especially dear to our hearts. Particularly if the job entails winemakers, celebrities, sports people, artists and chefs, all of whom share their favourite recipes and personal culinary stories with the reader.

The translation of a unique book on gastronomy

This job was a real treat for EDMF Translations, from all perspectives. For us, translating this exclusive culinary book was full of fun experiences, not only because of the rewarding topic, but also because of the specialist language of gastronomy.

3 styles, 3 languages of translation

In actual fact, the “book” comprises 3 books in one: the stories of famous personalities, recipes of their favourite dishes, and wine recommendations from renowned winemakers. The three different fields required that the translators master three distinct registers.  We translated the Hungarian recipes, the personal stories and the expert descriptions of the wine recommendations with the same precision, in order to faithfully reflect the singularity of the book’s English version too.

During the translation we learnt a lot of charming stories from the interviewees, for example that László Cseh, Olympic silver and bronze medallist, world and European champion, 100 times Hungarian champion swimmer, is a true steak fan. But in the book we can also read about traditional Hungarian dishes like tripe stew interpreted by artists including the world-renowned opera singers Andrea Rost and Erika Miklósa.

Gastronomy experiences of Olympic medallists and opera singers 

In How To Cook In Hungary, 30 famous winemakers and 30 celebrities, including 13 Olympic champions, reveal to us their gastronomic experiences. Translating the 60 interviews, the more than 80 recipes and the recommendations of beautiful Hungarian wines was a truly rewarding and fascinating task.

The book was launched at a ceremonial event in the venerable Gundel Restaurant on 22 November 2016. Almost all of the participating celebrities in the book were in attendance, while many ambassadors currently posted to Budapest also graced the event with their presence. We were particularly delighted that EDMF was granted a prominent position at the event as a fitting end to this worthy project.