English translations of Ivo Andric’s Travnicka Hronika

English translations of Ivo Andric’s Travnicka Hronika

Munir Sendich

English Translations of Ivo Andric’s Travnicka Hronika*


Criticism of English translations of Ivo Andric’s Travnicka hronika is confined to a small number of reviews and occasional comments in periodicals praising the first two translations for their fidelity to the original.1 Kenneth Johnstone’s The Bosnian Story (1958), as the first English version of Andric’s masterpiece was titled, had generally been regarded superior to John Hitrec’s later Bosnian Chronicle (1963). Yet some American critics, notably professional Slavists, preferred Hitrec’s translation for having masterfully captured the “cadenced flow of the original” and for preserving “a marvelous tapestry of Turkish Bosnia.”2 The novel’s latest translation, The Days of the Consuls (1992), done by Celia Hawkesworth, likewise failed to generate extensive translation criticism. The few reviews published in Great Britain and abroad are said to have extolled Hawkesworth’s translation as the most accomplished English version of Travnicka hronika today.3

The above criticism is based on random comparisons of translations against their original, and, as such, lacks credibility. This article endeavors, therefore, to collate all the texts-the three translations and the Andric original-examining each of the four books cover to cover and drawing conclusions on the basis of linguistically-based analysis. Of the four most commonly-used methods in translation criticism, the linguistic method I have adhered to in this article has proven the most efficacious for the study of literary translation.4 Such a method does not give the critic and the reader a one sided picture of the quality of a translation, but rather evaluates all of the multifarious layers of the texts, both the original and the translations. The method offers, first and foremost, a much– needed “insight into the style and meaning of both original and the translation.”5 In a word, such comparisons are bound to reveal “patterns, tendencies, trends, habits, strengths, and failings”6-all of which will help a translation critic to classify the study within linguistic categories which most accurately and comprehensively register the style and meaning, building a firm foundation from which to assess the true quality of the translations examined here.

The language of Travnicka hronika is indeed complex. Even the novel’s very first paragraph includes Turkisms-one of the novel’s most prominent language stratums. Although all three English translations7 of Andric’s novel have conveyed the essence of the word “balija,” for example, the word’s defamatory connotation of a Bosnian Moslem’s supposed backwardness remains undetected: “Nikad, ni posljedni balija ispod Vilenice.”8-“No one, not even the humblest true-believer in the backstreets” (Johnstone, p. 17); “no one, not even the last Moslem bumpkin from the mountain hinterland” (Hitrec, p. 7); and “No one, not even the lowliest Muslim peasant from the slopes of Vilenca” (Hawkensworth, p. 5). The English speaking reader cannot glean from these renderings the important detail that the word “balija” is another word for the Moslem nationality. Similar stumbling blocks occur with many other Turkisms, particularly if they are used as doublets, such as “peksinluk” and “prljavstina”-both meaning “filth,” “dirt” or “squalor,” with the former used by Moslems only: “‘I blato i peksinluk bosje davanje”‘ (p. 117)”`dust and dirt were also God’s gifts”‘ (Johnstone, p. 115); “Mud and filth `come from God”‘ (Hitrec, p. 103); and “Mud and dirt were also gifts of God” (Hawkesworth, p. 91). The translations of a Moslem character’s speech laden with linguistic peculiarities,-the ethical dative (“`sta mi se”‘), words predominantly used in Bosnian Moslem’s speech (“kantar”‘)9 and rhymed prose (“mjera je vjera”>do not faithfully reflect the original either: “`sta mi se unosis i kasljet u kantar? Mjera je vjera; i dah joj moze nauditi”‘ (p. 77)-“`Do you want to shove yourself forward and cough into the scales? True measure’s a treasure; and a breath can spoil it”‘ (Johnstone, p. 78); “`Stop pushing and coughing into the scale! True measure’s the same as faith, a breath can spoil it”‘ (Hitrec, p. 64); and “Don’t you go shoving your nose into the scales and coughing all over them! `Right measure is real treasure’ and the merest breath could upset it” (Hawkesworth, p. 58). Though Hawkesworth’s rendition con-veys the sense of the original, two arbitrary additions in one sentence alone (“right” and “real”) place her translation below Johnstone’s and Hitrec’s.

Turkisms represent but one layer of the novel’s lexica; other layers are just as significant. A translator should pay close attention, for instance, to the narrator’s absorption of a character’s speech into the narrator’s own language. Such polyphonic quality permeates the novel’s narrative; nearly all the characters’ voices resound in the text of the basic narrator. Thus, the translators have failed to fully retain the midwife Matishichka’s speech patterns (her spoken language in particular, “cista kao raj,” “onako,” “samo ocima,” and “kod nasih muSeva”) in the author’s narrative:

Ona je do sitnica pric:ala o redu i svakoj zgodi … koje vladaju u toj kuci, koja je ‘cista kao raj,’… o konsulovici koja je sve do posljenjeg trenutka, onako u bolovima, sa kreveta, sve naredjivala i rasporedjivala, zapovedajuci `samo ocima’;… i najposle o drtanju konsula, dostojanstvenom i punom ljubavi, kakvog nema kod nasih muleva (p. 343

She described in detail the order and all the neatness… which reigned in her house; that the house was “as clean as Paradise.” She told, too, of the Consul’s wife who down to the last minute, and even in her pangs and from her bed, was giving orders and directions about everything, making her commands known simply by her eyes…; and last of the Consul’s attitude, so dignified and full of love, “you’d not find the like in our own menfolk” (Johnstone, 324);

She described in detail the order and all the neatness and beauty of the house, which was “cleaner than paradise”…; she reported about the Consul’s wife, who even at the very last moment, in her labor pains, gave orders and instructions from her bed, with a mere “nod of her eyes”…; and finally, about the Consul’s solicitude which was so full of love and yet dignified, which you would never find among the local husbands (Hitrec, 298); and

She talked in detail of the order and comfort and all the pretty things in the house which was “as clean as paradise”…; of the Consul’s wife who, right up to the last minute, in the midst of her labour pains, had been giving instructions and organizing everything from her bed, making her wishes known “only with her eyes”; …and, finally, of the behaviour of the Consul, dignified and full of love, quite different from that of our own men (Hawkesworth, p. 274).

Again, the translations have kept the gist of the original; only an insignificant portion of the original has been overlooked. Thus, Hawkesworth failed to find an adequate equivalent for the doublet “naredjivala i rasporedjivala”-which she translated as “instructions.”

The translators were not able to professionally render localisms, notably the speech of the Croatian Friars, their “likar” (versus “ljekar”) or their “gospoja” (versus “gospodja”): “‘Vidis ovoga nageg likara?”‘ (p. 251″”`You see this ‘doctor’ of ours?”‘ (Johnstone, p. 240); “`You see this ‘doctor’ of ours?”‘ (Hitrec, p. 218); “`You see this Luka the Medic of ours?”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 200). In another instance Hawkesworth’s use of “ma’am” for “gospodja” (as a local usage distinguished from a standard “gospodjo”) sounds more appropriate than Johnstone’s “milady” and Hitrec’s “madame.” Dobar ti konj, gospoja, za biskupa je da ga jase”‘ (p. 203″`Your horse, milady, is fine enough for a Bishop to ride”‘ (Johnstone, 195); “‘A fine horse, madam, good enough for a Bishop”‘ (Hitrec, p. 176); and “`That’s a good horse ma’am, just right for a bishop”‘ (Hawkesworth, 162).

Likewise, both Johnstone and Hitrec surrendered when trying to render the name of an article of Moslem women’s attire, “dimije.” Johnstone rendered it ineffectively as a “dress”‘ and Hitrec erroneously transformed it into “trousers,” giving the English reader the unthinkable cultural image of Bosnian women wearing trousers during the Turkish occupation of Bosnia: “Bore na dimijama” (p. 210″the creases in her dress” (Johnstone, p. 202); and “folds in her trousers” (Hitrec, p. 182). Only Hawkesworth conveyed it correctly: “the folds in her shalwars” (Hawkesworth, p. 168).

All translators, to cite another false cultural notion, ignored a disparaging label for Jews (in the indirect discourse) and translated “cifut” as “Jew” (versus “Kike”): “Vikala je da francuski konsul ima pravo sto se druii sa cifutima”‘ (p. 204-“The French Consul, she cried, was right to associate with the Jews”‘ (Johnstone, p. 196); “The French Consul, she cried, was perfectly right to seek the company of Jews” (Hitrec, p. 177); and “She shrieked that the French Consul was right to associate with the Jews” (Hawkesworth, p. 163).

Johnstone confused the word “dno” (bottom) with “dan” (day): “U dnu je visoka… ograda” (p. 32)”By day a high… fence” (Johnstone, p. 35). Hitrec, and Hawkesworth (though with the addition of “the yard”) translated it correctly: “At the far end, a tall… fence” (Hitrec, p. 25) and “At the end of the yard a high solid fence” (Hawkesworth, p. 21). Hitrec, on the other hand, mistook Musa’s (a novel’s character) habit of drinking plum brandy from a fildzan (a coffee cup), insisting that Musa drank Turkish coffee instead of plum brandy, an error that would change our views of Musa-the embodiment of a Bosnian merakija or a debauchee: “Ispod velike kruske secerke prostrta serdtada, na njoj ostatci jela, fildiani i sud sa rashladjenom rakijom” (pp. 367-68)-“Under a great pear-tree a low table was spread, with the remains of a meal on it, and cups and a flagon of iced brandy” (Johnstone, p. 345); “under a tall pear tree, a rug had been spread and on it were remains of food, coffee cups, and a bottle of chilled plum brandy” (Hitrec, p. 319); and “under a large ‘sugar’ pear tree, a rug was spread out, with the remains of a meal, cups and a jug of chilled brandy on it” (Hawkesworth, p. 294). The word “secerka” (sweet pears) has been omitted by Hitrec and Johnstone, whereas Hawkesworth tried to render the meaning of a specific pear kind. Yet the “serdtada” (a Moslem prayer rug) has been rendered as “low little table” (Johnstone), and the brandy was chilled in a bottle (as Hitrec has it) or in a jug (as Hawkesworth insists), instead of the small container which was customarily used at that time.

All translators were guessing at the meaning of “golaca,” (“pauper” is the best equivalent) interpreting it as “volunteers” (Johnstone) or “mob” and “rabble” (Hitrec and Hawkesworth): “I otese lekara od golaca” (p. 319″and seized the Doctor from the volunteers” (Johnstone, p. 302); “rescued the doctor from the mob” (Hitrec, p. 277); and “and pulled the doctor away from the rabble” (Hawkesworth, p. 255). Again, all translators failed to convey the correlation between the vehicle and the tenor in this simile: “Kad gomila najgrlatijih i najgorih bukaca i nasilnika otplasne u daleke mahale, kao voda u svoje korito” (p. 323″when the gathering of the loudest and worst shouters and bullies subsides into the further suburbs, like water into its channel” (Johnstone, p. 305); “when the swirling throngs of the worst and the noisiest shouters and bullies ebbs away to the distant periphery, like flood water receding to its original bed” (Hitrec, pp. 28081); and “when the rowdiest throng of troublemakers and bullies sank back into the outlying quarters, as water returns to its channel” (Hawkesworth, p. 258). Finally, all the translators failed to render the word mahale, substituting it with suburbs, periphery or quarters.

The translators’ verbatim renditions of the nickname “Kaki” does not connotate the concealed meaning (i.e., “shit”) of the original either: “haznadar Baki, koga su u Konaku zvali Kaki” (p. 187″the Treasurer, Baki, known at the Residency as Kaki” (Johnstone, p. 180); “the treasurer, Baki, known at the Residency as Kaki” (Hitrec, p. 162); and “the treasurer Baki, known in the residence by the name of ‘Kaki”‘ (Hawkesworth, pp. 14849). Hitrec, moreover, translated the word “kapetan” literally (“captain” versus “commander”): “Kao nekad u slucaju mladog novskog kapetana” (p. 405)”as once it had happened with the young captain from Novi” (Hitrec, pp. 351-52).10 Again, Hawkesworth found a correct word: “as before in the case of the young commander from Novi” (p. 342).

The novel’s syntax was another stumbling block for all translators, as in this cluster of clauses structured on parallelisms (“kad”…”tada” and “cas”…”cas”):

Kad i u najdubljim rupama okopni sneg, kad prestanu proletnje ki”se i vejavice, kad se izbesne vetrovi, cas hladni, cas mlaki, cas siloviti i hucni cas tihi i laki, kad se oblaci trajno povuku na visoke ivice strmog amfiteatra od planina koje okrutuju varos, kad dan potisne noc duzinom i sjajem i toplinom, kad na strminama iznad varosi uzute njive i pognute kruske pocnu da rasipaju po stmi”stima obilan plod koji opada od zrelosti, tada nastupi ovo kratko i lepo travnicko leto (p. 207).

When the snow has melted even in the deepest hollows, when the spring rains and blizzards have ceased; when the gales have blown themselves out, now cold, then warmer, now full of sound and force, then quiet and gentle; when the clouds withdraw at last to the upper edges of the steep stone circle of mountains which surround the town; when day with its length and light and warmth drives back night; when on the slopes above the town the gilded corn and bending pear-trees begin to droop over the fields a rich harvest dropping from its own ripeness; then comes in this short and lovely Travnik summer (Johnstone, p. 199);

When the last deep hollow has yielded up its puddle of snow, when the spring blizzards and rains have died away; when the winds have lost their bluster, cold and tepid in turns, now gusty and full of sound, now light and ruffling; when the clouds drift up at last toward the high blurred edge of the sheer amphitheater of the mountains that ring the town; when the balmy glitter of leisurely days begins to roll back the night in real earnest and on the slopes above the town the meadows take on a yellow tinge, while sagging pear trees carpet the stubble fields with the generous surfeit of their harvest, dropping down from its own weight-that is when the short and lovely Travnik summer begins (Hitrec, pp. 179-180); and

When the snow melts even in the deepest hollows, when the spring rains and snowstorms cease, when the winds have blown themselves out, now cold, now tepid, now violently raging, now soft and light, when the clouds withdraw once and for all to the high crest of the steep amphitheatre of mountains surrounding the town, when day holds back the night with its length, brilliance and warmth, when on the steep slopes above the town the fields turn yellow and the bending pear trees begin to scatter their abundant fruit over the subtle fields-then this brief and beautiful Travnik summer begins (Hawkesworth, p. 165).

All translators have kept the pattern of parallelism, though lexically they depart from the original. Hitrec in particular lards nearly every sentence of his translation with concoctions and Hawkesworth omits important lexica-“koji opada od zrelosti.”

Another peculiarity of Andric’s syntax is a syntactic intonation usually replete with puns and occasionally accompanied with sort of a negative simile,11 a structure all translators have not been able to render accurately: “Niti je vise jesen niti pocinje zima; to vreme-nevreme-koje nije ni jesen ni zima” (p.129)”It was no longer autumn but the winter had not yet begun. It was the season, or rather unseason, which is neither autumn nor winter” (Johnstone, p. 125); “It was no longer autumn, but the winter had not yet begun. It was the season, or rather unseason, which was neither autumn nor winter” (Hitrec, p. 109); and “It was no longer autumn, but the winter had not yet begun. The indeterminate freak season, neither autumn nor winter” (Hawkesworth, p. 100). Hitrec comes closest to the lexical meaning and to the intonation of the original. Hawkesworth tried to emulate Andric’s measured prose but damaged the rest of the translation with unduly use of concoctions (such as “indeterminate” and “freak season”).


Other instances of linguistic strata difficult to convey into English ate numerous. Some of these instances are analyzed in more detail under the following sections bound to reveal even the most concealed peculiarities of the novel’s language:

(1) Language of Individual Characters

(2) Polyphonic Texture

(3) Puns

(4) Sayings and Proverbs; and

(5) Similes


As we have seen in the introduction, most obvious stumbling block for all three translators has been various forms of Turkisms and localisms in the speech of individual characters. This is particularly true of Bosnian Moslems, and even Bosnian Catholic Friars, Jews and Serbs. Friar Luka’s comic effects, for example, are enhanced by Turkisms; he is called “Hedim efendija,” an expression bearing a comic undertone alluding to an uneducated doctor. Two translators have had no other option but to render it as “Doctor Effendi”-thus ignoring the original’s true meaning: “‘Ne izmisljam ja, hecim efendija”‘ (p. 260>”I’m not making it up, Doctor Effendi”‘ (Johnstone, p. 248); and “‘I didn’t think it up, Doctor Effendi”‘ (Hitrec, p. 226). Hawkesworth came up with a more accurate word for hecim, translating it as Medic: “I’m not dreaming anything up, Medic Effendi” (Hawkesworth, p 208).

A Bosnian Moslem woman’s scolding of Salko the barber’s apprentice likewise loses its original intent: “`Ubi li se, kukavce? Ama, kud te belaj nosi po dzerizima?”‘ (p. 1999″`Have you hurt yourself, my little cuckoo? What brings you tumbling into ditches?”‘ (Johnstone, p. 192); “Did you kill yourself, you little devil? What bad luck brings you to the ditch?”‘ (Hitrec, p. 172); and “Have you hurt yourself, you miserable wretch? What on earth are you doing in the sewer?” (Hawkesworth, p. 159). Yet the Turkisms (“Ama,” “belaj,” and “dzerizi”) are unnoticed in all translations. Nor have the translators rendered accurately the following sentence laden with Turkisms: “‘Turci se, vlase, dok je vakat”‘ (p. 320′”`Turn Turk, you Christian, while there’s time”‘ (Johnstone, p. 303); “`Get yourself converted, infidel, while there’s is still time!”‘ (Hitrec, p. 278); and “`Convert, Christian, while you’ve time!”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 255). Hitrec’s use of”infidel” for the word “vlah” is the most accurate translation.

Nor have the translators have been able to satisfactorily render the proverbial language of a Vizier (Ali Pasha), as in this instance: “‘Ja nisam dosao da se lalemo i kroz kamis ljubimo ili da spavam na ovom siljtetu”‘ (p. 435)”‘I have not come here for us to tell each other lies or exchange sweet nothings, or to sleep on the divan”‘ (Johnstone, p. 409); “‘I was not sent here to have wool pulled over my eyes, or to smoke chibouks with you, or lounge around on these cushions”‘ (Hitrec, p. 379); and “I did not come for us to tell one another lies and kiss through our pipes, or so that I could sleep on this cushion” (Hawkesworth, p. 349). Hitrec’s translation, though slightly descriptive, conveys the meaning best.

The translators have also overlooked the broken speech of des Fosses’s, sounding utterly foreign to the Travnik inhabitants: “‘Ti si nevaljao. Ne sme se biti nevaljao”‘ (p. 80)-“`You’re a rascal. You’re not to be a rascal”‘ (Johnstone, p. 80); “`You’re a rowdy. You’re not to be a rowdy, understand!”‘ (Hitrec, p. 67); and “You are naughty. You mustn’t be naughty!” (Hawkesworth, p. 60). This is not to say that the language of many other characters has been rendered wrongly. Khamdi-Beg’s sayings, for example, have been translated well: “`De sad, da ne zalimo za ziva hadcije”‘ (p. 12)”`Come now, let’s not cry out before we’re hurt”‘ (Johnstone, p. 16); “`let’s not wail over the judge before he’s really dead”‘ (Hitrec, p. 5); and “come now, there’s no sense trying to cross our bridges before we come to them” (Hawkesworth, p. 3). Although all three translators conveyed the meaning of the original satisfactorily, one takes issue with Hawkesworth’s overly descriptive usages and additions (“to cross our bridges,” among others).

Or Khamdi-Beg’s expression “‘Nicija nije do zore gorila, pa nece ni toga… toga”‘ (p. 129″`No man’s candle burns for ever, nor will this… this fellow’s”‘ (Johnstone, p. 16); “No man’s candle burns forever, nor will the… this fellow’s” (Hitrec, p. 6); and “`No man’s star shines forever, and it won’t be any different with that… that…”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 3). Suleyman Pasha Skopljak’s speech has likewise been rendered accurately, as in this instance: “`Nit ja mogu sada pronaci i pohvatati one skitnice i budale sto su htjele da turkuju i sude po Travniku”‘ (p. 325-“‘I cannot now find and arrest the vagabonds and rascals who wanted to play the Turk and sit in judgement at Travnik”‘ (Johnstone, p. 308); “`And how can I now find and round up all those tramps and morons who wanted to play the Turk and dispense justice around Travnik”‘ (Hitrec, p. 283); and “‘I can no longer find and arrest those fools and vagabonds who wanted to act like ardent Muslims and administer justice all over Travnik”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 260). The same goes for the excellent translations of Musa’s turns: “‘A mi te necemo pitati jesu li od dajdZe ili od amidze”‘ (p. 371F”and we’ll not ask whether it comes from your father’s or your mother’s side”‘ (Johnstone, p. 349); “`we won’t ask whether it comes from your maternal or paternal uncle”‘ (Hitrec, p. 322); and “`and we won’t ask if it’s your uncle on your father’s or your mother’s side”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 297). Yet, translations of the words amidza and daidza (a father’s brother and a mother’s brother, respectively) do not fully reflect the Turkish culture and the family relationship. And the colloquial usages of Ibro tvalo’s language have been transposed well: “‘Skidaj mi se s ociju bar ti, zenska glavo, i ne pristaj mi na muku”‘ (p. 333)”`Get out of my sight, woman, and don’t come making yourself a nuisance”‘ (Johnstone, p. 315); “`Get out of my sight, woman, and don’t you start making trouble”‘ (Hitrec, p. 289); and “`you get out of my sight, woman, don’t make things worse, for I swear to God, if I.. . “‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 266). One only may question the translators’ use of “woman” for “lenska glavo” used derogatorily, and Hawkesworth’s addition, “for I swear to God.”


Andric’s polyphonic usage breaks down into various modes. It can be used as a citation belonging to a single or collective voice, as in this instance: “To su ti ‘srcali pendleri”‘ (p. 33>used in the basic narrator’s description of the particular glass windows at the Vizier’s Residency. All three translators have rendered it descriptively–unable to convey the citation’s Turkisms (“srcali”) and the use of ethical dative (“to su ti”): “These were the `casements of glass”‘ (Johnstone, p. 36); “These were the `panels of glass”‘ (Hitrec, p. 26); and “These were those `glass casements”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 22).

The polyphony can often be used as a mode of characterization, as in the portrayal of Daville’s wife: “Jedna od onih zena za koje u nas katu ‘da im se nista nije otelo”‘ (p. 60). This time, all three translators have tried to grasp the gist of the polyphonic subtext: “one of those women of whom one says that they are `equal to anything”‘ (Johnstone, p. 61); “One of those women of whom one says, `she’s nobody’s fool”‘ (Hitrec, p. 50); and “one of those women of whom our people say that `nothing is beyond them”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 44).

The polyphonic voice can also stem from a written document, i.e., from Daville’s diary woven neatly into the narator’s text: “Zivi od kraljevske dobrote” (p. 65), translated correctly: “Lived in fact on the King’s good grace” (Johnstone, p. 66); “lived in fact on the King’s bounty” (Hitrec, p. 54); and “Lived on `the King’s goodness”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 48). Much of the polyphony is used as a narrative source coming from the Bazaar-as in this collective voice supported by the narrator: “Da se tada u carsiji govorilo da ‘i misja rupa vredi hiljadu dukata”‘ (p. 438), conveyed again identically: “that `even a mousehole is worth a thousand ducats”‘ (Johnstone, p. 411); “That `even a mouse hole was worth a thousand ducats”‘ (Hitrec, p. 381); and “That `even a mousehole was worth 1000 ducats”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 351).

The narrator can retell an entire tale belonging to a character-as in Solomon Atija’s history of the Bosnian Sephardic Jews-with the narrator claiming to have retold Solomon’s story in his own way (“to ili nesto slicno bi rekao” [p. 485], i.e., “that, or something like that, is what he would have said”)which all translators have rendered well.

The most common polyphonic feature, as mentioned above, is the narrator’s absorption of a character’s language into the main narrative. As a rule, the narrator does not use quotation marks to indicate the incorporated language-the reader is supposed to decipher the character’s speech absorbed by the narrator. Here is one of numerous instances of the narrator’s absorption of a character’s speech-the Travnik mayor’s message to both consuls as retold by the narrator:

Preko svoga coveka porucio je obojici konsula da ce on pre dati ostavku nego sto ce dozvoliti da njih dvojica ovde u Travniku ratuju, dok su im carevi u mira, i to preko njegovih i inace pretovarenih ledja. On ne zeli ni jednom od dva konsulata da se zameri ni u kakvoj stvari a pogotuvu ne u pitanju ovoga malog i goropadnog coveka, koji je obicno slusce i potrkusa i kao takav nikako ne bi trebalo da bude predmet razgovora izmedju carskih Ijudi i prvaka. A Roti samom porucio je ostro da se smiri i da pricuva ono malo glave na ramenima, jer zbog njega se vec nedeljama uzbudjuju prvi Ijudi u ovoj varosi u kojoj je dotle vladala tisina kao u nekoj bogomolji, a toliko on ne vredi pa da ima od zlata glavu i vezirsku pamet (pp. 395-96).

The majority of the narrative belongs to the mayor-with the following expressions as the most common: “preko njegovih i inace pretovarenih ledja”; “ovoga malog i goropadnog coveka”; “slusce i potrkusa”; “da ocuva ono malo glave na ramenima”; “pa da ima od zlata glavu i vezirsku pamet.” All translators have conveyed the passage on the informational level, yet they have erred in details. Johnstone uses “overburned” for “pretovarenih;” he has “this crazy little man” for “maloga i goropadnog coveka”; he erroneously comes up with “a person of no account” for “potrkusa”; and “to keep what little head he had” for “i da sacuva ono malo glave.” Here is Johnstone’s entire version, which, basically, mutes the mayor’s language:

He notified both Consuls through one of his men that he would sooner resign than allow the two of them to go on brawling in Travnik while their sovereigns were at peace, and that across his own already overburdened back. He had no wish to fall out with either of the Consulates over any matter, let alone over the question of this little crazy man who was common lackey and a person of no account and as such ought never to be the subject of conversation between imperial officers and persons of rank. Rotta himself he ordered sharply to sober down and to keep what little head he had on his shoulders, since for weeks past he had been a cause of disturbance to the leading men of the town, which up till now had been as quiet as a house of God. He would not be worth all the trouble he was giving even if he had a head of gold and the brains of a Vizier (Johnstone, p. 372).

Hitrec’s translation is closer to the original than Johnstone’s. Yet, Hitrec does not clearly discern the mayor’s own voice-he also neutralizes it and conveys the mayor’s language as if belonging to the main narrator. Hitrec does not even warn the reader of the absorption of somebody’s speech into the narrator’s own language and the narrative. Hitrec gives this translation:

He notified the two consuls through one of his men that he would sooner hand in his resignation than permit the pair of them to squabble around Travnik while their emperors were at peace, and that across his already overburdened back. He would not wish to give umbrage to either of the consuls over anything and particularly not over the question of this rabid little fellow who was after all, no more than a lackey and an errand boy and as such hardly deserved to be the subject of conversation between imperial officers and people of rank. And, with much less ceremony, he advised Rotta to pipe down and keep what little head he had on his shoulders, since for many weeks now he had been a cause of upset to the leading people of the town, which up till now had been as peaceful as a temple of God; he would not be worth all this trouble even if he had a head of gold and the brain of a vizier (Hitrec, p. 344).

Hawkesworth’s rendition approximates closely the most salient features of the original-its meaning, syntax (word order, in particular), choice of lexica, among others. Her option of petulant for “goropadni” comes closer to the original than Hitrec’s “rabid” and Johnstone’s “crazy.” Hawkesworth failed, however, to indicate the use of Rotta’s speech absorbed in the mayor’s speech:

Through one of his men he sent word to both Consuls that he would rather hand in his resignation than allow the two of them-while their Emperors were at peace-to carry on a feud in Travnik and to bring him into it, when he was already overworked as it was. He had no desire to displease either of the Consuls for any reason, least of all because of this petulant little man who was nothing but a common hireling and errand boy and as such should on no account be a topic of conversa-tion between statesmen and administrators. And he sharply ordered Rotta himself to stop if he wanted to preserve what was left on his skin, because for weeks now he had been causing upset among the leading men of this town where there had hitherto reigned the peace of a place of worship, and he would never be worth that even if he had a head made of gold and the brains of a Vizier (Hawkesworth, p. 317).


The novel’s typical pun consists of two key words-similar in sounds yet different in meaning, as “obraz” versus “obrazina,” or “kolera” versus “kolega.” In the first case, “bez obraza, tj. sa vise obrazina” (p. 41), Johnstone translated the meaning of the pun while ignoring the pun’s sound effect, “without a face of his own; that is to say, he has a number of masks” (Johnstone, p. 43). Hitrec (as well as Hawkesworth) sacrificed the meaning to the sound, “and without a face of his own-that is to say, a man of several faces” (Hitrec, pp. 32-33) and “who wears a number of different masks” (Hawkesworth, p. 29). In the second instance, “‘Ko bi tebe lecio, kolera te licila.’-‘Znam da ti je ona kolega”‘ (p. 121), Johnstone uses the same words of the original’s pun, “`Plague take you, be your doctor who he may.’-‘A colleague of yours, I know”‘ (Johnstone, p.l 18). Hitrec tried to convey the pun’s meaning only, concocting the text, “‘I don’t feel a bit like dying. No chance of that as long as you’re not my doctor’.`And a fat chance I’d ever be. Mark my words, the plague will be your doctor one of these days”‘ (Hitrec, p. 102). Similarly to Johnstone, Hawkesworth uses the words of the original pun: “`Who’d be your doctor, cholera can doctor you!’-‘A colleague of yours, I know”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 93).

In another pun mocking Tahir-Beg’s unique knowledge, all translations conveyed the structure and the meaning of the original’s toying: “I pricali o Tahir begovoj ucenosti i pameti neko je rekao da su ga jos u skoli zvali Bunar znanja. Odmah je u Travniku prozvan Bunar efendija” (p. 184). Johnstone wrongly suggested “understanding” for “pamet” (instead of intelligence); otherwise, the rest of his translation reads correctly: “And had told tales of Tahir Beg’s learning and understanding and had said that in the schools they still called him `The Well of the Knowledge.’ At Travnik he was at once nicknamed `Dr. Well”‘ (Johnstone, p. 177). Hitrec’s rendition reads, again, closer to the original: “`And were spreading tales of Tahir Beg’s intelligence and erudition, one man said that at school they still called him, `The Well of Knowledge.’ At Travnik he was immediately nicknamed `Well Effendi”‘ (Hitrec, p. 159). And Hawkesworth’s precise word selection made her rendition rule supreme. She rightfully, for example, opted for “fount” versus “well” and used “Fount of Knowledge”-a common expression as opposed to “Well of Knowledge”: “and talked about Tahir-Bey’s learning and intelligence said that while he was still at school he had been called the `Fount of Knowledge.’ In Travnik he immediately became known as `Fount Effendi”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 146).


Some of the novel’s sayings and proverbs are well-known expressions, others have been contrived by the author. Some of them belong to the inhabitants of the Residency, and, as such, bear an oriental flavor to it. Usually, the translators have not encountered difficulty with the translations. One of the first sayings, “Pas laje a karavan prolazi” (p. 36), has been rendered faithfully, albeit identically by two translators: “The dog barks but the caravan moves on” (Johnstone, p. 38); “The dog barks but the caravan moves on” (Hitrec, p. 28); and Hawkesworth’s rendition retains the original’s meanings but arbitrarily replaces a simile’s vehicle with another word absent in the original (“dogs” versus “curs”). “Curs may bark, but the caravan moves on” (p. 24).

Another “canine” expression is used to characterize identity of both consuls: “‘Jedno sarov, drugo garov. Ono pas a ovo mu brat”‘ (p. 99). All translators have conveyed the essence of it-yet the extent of a Bosnian Moslem’s aversion toward both consuls, expressed with the use of neutral pronouns (“jedno,” “drugo,” “ono,” and “ovo”), has been overlooked. Johnstone added the word “choice” to probably accentuate the similarity between the consuls, and translated the rest correctly: “`It’s a choice of spotted or black. One’s a dog and the other’s his brother” (Johnstone, p. 98). Hitrec ignored Johnstone’s addition and defined the consul’s similarity through the use of”one”: “`One is black, the other is pie. The one is a dog, the other his brother”‘ (Hitrec, p. 83). Hawkesworth followed suit and expressed the dog-counsel metaphor by using two insignificant “features” of two dogs-“pug-nosed” and “lop-eared.” “`One pug-nosed, the other lop-eared. One’s a dog and the other’s his brother”‘ (Hawkesworth, p. 76).

One saying, referring to Fra Luka, however, has caused difficulty for all translators (in the use of the Turkish word “Ulema” and the saying’s punning with the verb “visi”): “‘Dvije stvari ni najucenija ulema ne zna, na cemu zemlja stoji i o cem habit na Fra Luki visi”‘ (p. 248). Johnstone and Hawkesworth transliterated the Ulema while Hitrec conveyed it descriptively: “`There are two things even the most learned ulema do not know-what the earth rests on and what Fra Luka’s habit hangs on”‘ (Johnstone, p. 237); And Hitrec repeated literally Johnstone’s rendition-except for the use of the Ulema (loosely rendered as “learned Koran scholars”): “`There are two things even the most learned Koran scholars cannot tell: What the earth rests on and what Fra Luka’s habit hangs on”‘ (Hitrec, p. 215). (“`There are two things even the most learned ulema do not know: what the earth rests on and how Brother Luka’s habit stays up!”‘) (Hawkesworth, p. 198).12


Translations of similes reveal still another difficult layer, particularly if tenors and vehicles are original-reflecting Andric’s views of the Ottoman world. Thus, in this extended simile, Johnstone and Hawkesworth translated the tenor literally (“les””corpse”) while Hitrec resorted to “dead body”: “I nova vlada sultana Mustafe poslala ga je kao valiju prvo u Solun, a zatim odmah u Bosnu, kao sto se les sklanja sa ociju” (p. 179F”and the new government of Sultan Mustapha had first sent him as Vali to Salonica, and immediately after that to Bosnia, rather like a corpse being hustled out of view” (Johnstone p. 172); “and the new regime of sultan Mustapha had first sent him to Salonica, as provincial governor, and soon afterwards to Bosnia, rather like a dead body being hustled out of sight” (Hitrec p. 154); and “and the new government of Sultan Mustafa had sent him as governor first to Salonika and then straight to Bosnia, just as a corpse is removed from view” (Hawkesworth, p. 141).

In the next simile, all translators captured the essence of the original though their lexical selection is different: “Strme zelene strane uske kotline isparavale suvu vrelinu i cinilo se da dahcu i da se krecu kao slabine zelembaca koji lezi na suncu” (p. 365)-“The steep green sides of the narrow valley gave out a dry heat and seemed to pant and heave like the flanks of a lizard lying in the sun” (Johnstone, p. 343); “The steep green sides of the narrow valley gave off a dry heat and seemed to pulse and throb like the underbelly of a lizard stretched out in the sun” (Hitrec, p. 317); and “The dry heat evaporated from the steep green sides of the narrow ravine and it seemed that they were breathing, moving, like the sides of a green lizard lying in the sun” (Hawkesworth, p. 291).

Most of the translations of the less extensive similes (some of them close to comparisons) have retained the meaning of the original. In the following simile, the three translators produced the same vehicle, conveying it only with “a variety of (“sour,” “old,” and “withered”). “tut je kao uvela dunja” (p. 192) “he’s as yellow as a sour quince” (Johnstone, p. 185); “he’s yellower than an old quince” (Hitrec, p. 167); and “he’s yellow as a withered quince” (Hawkesworth, p. 153). Yet, the vehicle in the following simile, “mesina,” has been replaced with “bagpipe” (Johnstone), “bellows” (Hitrec), and “balloon” (Hawkesworth): “kaslje, kise, stenje, puse i oduhuje na sve strane kao izbodena mesina” (p. 192-“coughing, sneezing, groaning, spitting and puffing on all sides like a punctured bagpipe” (Johnstone, p. 186); “coughing, sneezing, moaning, puffing, and blowing in all directions like a punctured bellows” (Hitrec, p. 167); and “coughing, sneezing, groaning, puffing and blowing in all directions like a balloon with a hole in it” (Hawkesworth, p. 153).

Many other translations follow a similar pattern, with a number of similes translated verbatim:

(1) “leRaoje kao kamen koji se odvalio s visoka” (p. 229″He lay like a stone which had rolled down from a height” (Johnstone, p. 219); “Then, like a stone hurled from a great height, he lay” (Hitrec, p. 199); and “he lay like a stone which had rolled down from a great height” (Hawkesworth, p. 182), with Hawkesworth borrowing key words from Johnstone (“rolled down”) and from Hitrec (“great height”).

(2) “Diamija sa munarom, vitkom i lepom, kao perjanica” (pp. 340-41W “a mosque with its minaret, slender and charming like a plume” (Johnstone, p. 322); “a mosque and a minaret next to it, straight and slender like a plume” (Hitrec, p. 296); and “mosque with its lovely slender minarets, like a plume” (Hawkesworth, p. 272). Hitrec incorrectly rendered the preposition “sa” with “next to it,” as if a minaret is not an integral part of a mosque.

(3) “I sitnim kasicicama od beckog srebra, koje se u jnihovim krupnim rukama i6ezavale kao decje igracke” (p. 269F”and by the fine spoons of Viennese silver, which vanished like children’s toys in their huge hands” (Johnstone, p. 256); “and the exquisite little spoon of Viennese silver which disappeared like children’s toys in their huge hands” (Hitrec, p. 234); and “tiny spoons of Viennese silver, which vanished in their huge hands like children’s toys” (Hawkesworth, p. 215). Only “sitnim” was translated variously-“fine” by Johnstone; “exquisite little” by Hitrec, and “tiny” by Hawkesworth (which is the best meaning).

Many other translations, as in these two instances, demonstrate the translators’ ability to translate the original’s difficult spots admirably well, with Hitrec excelling in his translation of the first sentence and Hawkesworth in her tight and compact translation of the second sentence: (1) “Bio je lep i krotak kao ministrant” (p. 349″was a good-looking boy, as demure as an acolyte” (Johnstone, p. 329); “was pretty and demure like an altar boy” (Hitrec, p. 303); “was a fine-looking boy, as meek as an acolyte” (Hawkesworth, p. 279); and “Imao je drskost javne tene” (p. 413″This little man was as brazen as a streetwalker” (Johnstone, p. 388); “This little man was as forward as a tart” (Hitrec, p. 359) and “This little man was as brazen as a whore” (Hawkesworth, p. 331).


Contrasted individually against the original, Hitrec’s translation reads better than Johnstone’s, though Hitrec is prone to errors commonly generated through additions and other concoctions, here indicated in italics. Thus, Hitrec may add unwarranted adjectives, as in these instances: (1) “‘Otpremiti molda konsula i malo dalje od Travnika”‘ (p. 393)-“would perhaps send him packing, and much farther from Travnik at that” (p. 342); (2) “Sa letom pocinju svi ratovi i sve pobune” (p. 398″All wars and rebellions usually began with the summer” (p. 345); (3) “U koji se konsul vraca” (p. 482″to which the Consul would presently return” (p. 418). The additions can also result from the translator’s arbitrary use of a simile absent from the original: “Gromkim, jasnim glasom, vezir je rekao ostro i odseceno” (p. 435)”To this the Vizier replied in a clear, lashing voice that was like a sharp thunderclap” (p. 379). Most frequently, the additions stem from Hitrec’s penchant to “improve” the original: (I) “`Jer je uzbuna bila takva da se dan od noci nije razlikovao”‘ (p. 325)”`Since the whole thing had been so chaotic that one could not tell the day from the night”‘ (p. 283); (2) “I koji ne gleda preda se kad ide, more uvek da se oklizne” (p. 325″And does not watch where he is going is, of course, likely to slip and stumble” (p. 283); (3) “‘Na Zapadu sa koga smo i mi do”sli”‘ (p. 483)”`in the West, which once was our cradle too”‘ (p. 419); (4) “Pred nekim ko mu ne more” (p. 391F”Some wretch who dared not” (p. 340); (5) “Duboku slast i neizmernu srecu” (p. 391″A delicious and heady satisfaction” (p. 340); (6) “‘Na kesu”‘ (p. 485″our material security”‘ (p. 421); (7) “Neiskreno sladak i bezazlen” (p. 382-“the note was one of genteel but harmless insincerity” (p. 332); (8) “Za pare” (p. 170)` for a consideration” (p. 147); and (9) “Patljivo i svecano kao mladu” (p. 319)”with as much attention and as solemnly as if he were a young bride” (p. 277). Or the translator may have deemed necessary to add an appositional clause: “Sam gazda Pero Fufic, sa jos dvojicom travnickih Srba” (p. 461 )-(1) “There was Peter Fufic himself, the owner of coppery (p. 401) and two other Travnik Serbs” (p. 401); (2) “‘Po vasem naredjenju, gospodine potpukovnice”‘ (p. 392)”`Just as you wish, Herr Oberstleutnant” (p. 340); (3) “Uz krusku mu prislonjena mala tambura, a na vrhu joj nataknuta rakijska casa” (p. 368-“Also propped against the tree was his tambura, a stringed instrument resembling a mandolin, the tip of which was covered with an inverted brandy glass” (p. 319); (4) “Tepsije sa baklavom; urmasice, naslagane upopreko kao sto se slalu cepanice” (p. 344W”copper trays of baklava, stacks of fruitcakes, like miniature firewood” (p. 299); and (5) “Kao onaj ‘familienloses Individuum’ za kojim je vapio” (p. 355″as the familienloses Individuum’ (man without a family) for whom the Colonel had appealed” (p. 308).

Errors have resulted from Hitrec’s lack of attention to the historical meanings of some lexica. For example, “turski sati” (“Turkish hours”) has been rendered as “some kind of Moslem hour”:-“Two of the clock towers chimed some kind of Moslem hour” (p. 424).13 In another instance, the Turkish word “kekez” (a pederast), has been translated simply as “the man”: “On je saterao toga kekeza u jedan ugao njegove sobe” (p. 414)-“he cornered the man in his room” (p. 360). Likewise, Hitrec has not professionally handled the original’s syntax. In this example, Andric’s carefully designed word order and a uniquely structured intonation have been mangled by Hitrec:

Sudbine svih ovih stranaca, doplavljenih i zbijenih u ovu usku i vlatnu dolinu i osudjenih da u njoj live neizvesno vreme, pod neobicnim pogodbama, naglo su sazrevale (p. 389).

Things were fast coming to a head for these foreigners who had drifted in and become stranded in the narrow, damp valley and were condemned to live there for indeterminable stretches of time, under extraordinary stipulations (p. 338). Nor has Hitrec adhered to the original’s syntactic repetition devices (used as anaphors, i.e., “kao da je”):

Kao da je jude slusao sa uzbudjenjem vest o pobedi kod Austerlica, pradenu nadama na mir i resenje; kao da je jutros pisao svoje stihove o bitci kod Jene; kao da je malocas citao biltene opobedi u Spaniji (p. 291).

It seemed only yesterday that he had listened with excitement to the news of the Austerlitz victory, with its promise of hope and settlement; only this morning that he had written his verses about the Battle of Jena; only a little while ago that he had read bulletins of the victory in Spain (Hitrec, 252).


Johnstone is not as creative as Hitrec, and, therefore, his translation has produced fewer additions. Yet, Johnstone has committed several bloopers absent in Hitrec’s translation. In addition to confusing “dan” with “dno” (discussed above), Johnstone has produced numerous haphazard errors-as in his rendition of the “mutvak” (summer kitchen) translated as “stables”: “Iz Haf zadica mutvaka” (p. 199)”From Hafizadic’s stables” (p. 191). Another howler, mentioned earlier, entails the word “kukavac” (here “poor soul”) used in its vocative case, i.e., “kukavce,” which has been given as “my little cuckoo,” prompted by the sound similarity with the original (“kukavce”-“cuckoo”): “`Ubi li se, kukavce”‘ (p. 199)-“`Have you hurt yourself, my little cuckoo”‘ (p. 192). Another feature of Johnstone is his propensity for verbatim renditions. The titles of the Vizier’s close associates have been transliterated, and, as such, they read as proper names-even with the use of a definite article preceding each title: “Za njim su isli silahdar, cohadar, haznadar, muhurdar” (p. 33)”Behind him came the Silahdar, the Chohadar, the Huznudar and the Muhurdar” (p. 35). The word “muderiz” (a religion teacher) has also been transliterated, “‘Prica se da je izisao pred muderiza”‘ (p. 368″ The story goes, he had appeared before the Muderiz” (p. 346-reading, again, as a proper name. Johnstone has also poorly handled Bosnian colloquialisms, as in this sentence framed with identical lexica (“krmak krmski” and “domuze od domuza”)-yet different in its stylistic layers (Bosnian Moslemisms versus a Turkish expression adapted to a Bosnian Moslem speech). Johnstone’s most obvious slip is his rendition of “vlaska borija” as “your organblowing” (instead of “infidel’s bugle”). Johnstone’s translation might have alluded to the organ music usually performed in cathedrals and catholic churches; yet, Johnstone ignored the fact that it was a Serb at whom a Moslem had shouted: “‘Zar je za tebe diamijski zid, krmak krmski, da na njega prislanjas svoje pogane drlalice. Jos ovde zvono ne kuca i vlaska borija ne trubi, domuze od domuza!”‘ (p. 78″`That’s the wall of a mosque, you son of a pig, and you must go leaning your filthy axes against it! None of your Christian bell-ringing here yet, and none of your organ-blowing, you son of a hog!”‘ (p. 78). Other chance errors include wrong translations of “vracara” (a woman healer) rendered as “magician” (“ni vradare ni hodle ni zapisi” [p. 254]-“neither magicians, nor hodjas nor charms”) (Johnstone, p. 242); and the adjective “rajinih” (used derogatorily for Serbs only): “pored njegovih rajinih mana” (p. 336)-“with their own defects as a subject people” (p. 318).


Hawkesworth’s translation exhibits many shortcomings common to Hitrec’s, such as additions, omissions, and concoctions. Hawkesworth loves to embellish her text and often resorts to floridity even in utterly colloquial speech which in her hands becomes almost Victorian. A phrase, “eta mi se unosis i kaslajes u kantar” (discussed earlier) is expanded into a long sentence, “`Don’t you go shoving your nose into the scales and coughing all over them.” Hawkesworth may resort to additions despite being aware that such additions damage the style of the original: (discussed earlier) “‘Mjera je vjera; i dah joj moze nauditi”‘– “`Right measure is a treasure’ and the merest breath could upset it.” As to the omissions, here is an instance. In Andric’s memorable description of the arrival of the Travnik summer Hawkesworth was the only translator who omitted this phrase, “plod koji opada” which Johnstone translated as “dropping from its own ripping” and Hitrec as “dropping down from its own weight.” Hitrec seems to have influenced Hawkesworth in her preference of descriptives-as in this case (discussed above) characterizing the looks of Daville’s wife, “Jedna od onih zena za koju se u nas kale ‘da im se nista nije otelo.”‘ Hawkesworth’s interpretation of the second part of the sentence, “nothing is beyond them,” stresses the intellectual ability but not the looks of Daville’s wife as the original intends. Hitrec, again, produced an adequate rendition, “she’s nobody’s fool” followed by Johnstone’s coinage, “equal to anything.”

Compared to Hitrec on more demanding levels, Hawkesworth’s translation drags behind Hitrec’s even more. She fails to retain Andric’s sound instrumentation, for example, as in the alliterated word pair, “duha i daha,””toliko duha i toliko daha.” (p. 35″as much wit and breath as were required” (Hawkesworth, pp. 23-24). Still on another level, a common saying, “gruba sala,” could have been translated as “practical joke” or “bad joke” instead of “crude”: “Mecava je prosla kao gruba sala” (p. 97F”The blizzard was over like a bad joke” (Hitrec, p. 81); and “the snowstorm had passed like a crude joke” (Hawkesworth, p. 73). Finally, a close look at their translation of Hamdi Beg’s speech concluding the novel’s epilogue shows once more Hitrec’s attention to detail and his translating creativity:

Sedam goduna, kaze zamisljeno i otezuci ei Hamdi-beg, sedam godina! A sjecate li se kakva je onda uzbuna i povika bila zbog tih konsula i zbog toga… toga… Bunaparte? Te Bunaparta ovdje, te Bunaparta ondje. Te ovo ce uciniti te ovo nece. Svijet mu je tijesan; njegovoj sili nema mjere ni karara. A ovaj nas kaurluk bijase digao glavu ko jalov klas. Tejedni se drie za skut francuskom te drugi austriskom konsulu, te treci ocekuju moskovskog. Lijepo se izbezumila raja i povilenila. Pa, evo, i to bi i prodje. Digose se carevi i salomise Bunapartu (p. 494).

“Seven years, eh?” Hamdi Beg said thoughtfully, drawing a little. “Seven years! And do you remember what a hue and cry there was over these consuls and over that… that Bonaparte? Bonaparte here, Bonaparte there. He was going to do this, he was going to do that. The world was too small for him. His strength was boundless, no one could match him. So this infidel rabble of ours lifted up their heads like some cobless corn. Some hung on to the coat tails of the French Consul, others to the Austrian, and the third lot waited for a Russian. The rayah went plain off their heads and ran amuck. Well, that was that and it’s over. The emperors got together and smashed Bonaparte” (Hitrec, p. 429).

“Seven years,” said Hamdi Bey thoughtfully, drawing out the words, `seven years.’ And do you remember how much noise and excitement there was because of those consuls and that… that… Bunaparta? Bunaparta this, and Bunaparta that. He’s going to do this, he won’t do that… The world is too small for him, there’s no limit to his power. And our Christian pigs had raised their heads like barren corn. Some were hanging onto the French Counsul’s coat-tails, others clung to the Austrian, while yet others were waiting for the one from Moscow. Our rayah quite lost their wits. And-it came and it passed. The emperors rose up and they smashed Bunaparta” (Hawkesworth, p. 396).

The difficulty begins with the translation of another word pair, “uzbuna i povika,” which Hitrec translated adequately, “hue and cry,” as compared to Hawkesworth’s clumsy translation: “noise and excitement.” Another difficult structure, “Svijet mu je tijesan; njegovoj sili nema mjere ni karara,” was translated descriptively by both translators, with Hawkesworth dropping the end of the sentence, “ni karara”: “The world is too small for him; there’s no limit to his power” and “The world was too small for him. His strength was boundless, no one could match him” (by Hitrec). The translation of “nas kaurluk” as “our Christian pigs” is too strong. Hitrec’s equivalent, “infidel rabble of ours,” is closer to the original save the second part of the compound, “luk” (which, incidentally, is analoguous to the “luk” in “pashaluk” where “luk” means territory or domain). Hitrec came up with a unique interpretation of other difficult spots, such as: “Lijepo se izbezumila raja i povilenila,” translated as “the rayah went plain off their heads and ran amuck,” a rendition closer to the original than Hawkesworth’s, “Our rayah quite lost their wits.” Both translators endeavored to retain Andric’s intonation and syntax (the word order). They had to throw up their hands, however, when confronted with Andric’s use of aorist (“bijaste,” “digose,” and “salomise”) and the use of Turkisms.


Apart from the errors analyzed above, all translations have rendered Andric’s original well-at least on the informational level. Passages of excellent renderings abound-as demonstrated in the following two examples taken at random:

I. Nastao je klepet cepenaka, vrata i mandala i razlegao se kao tutanj i prasak za letnjih oluja sa grddom i grmljavinom, kao da se lavine kamenja osipaju sa svih strana niz travnidke strmine, sa gromkom orljavom, i prete da zaspu varos i sve zivo u njoj (p. 169).

(1) There followed the banging of shutters, doors and bolts, which resounded like the rumbling and rattling of a summer storm with its thunder and hail, as if avalanches of stones were pelting down the hill slopes of Travnik from every side, with a roar like thunder, and were threatening to crush the town and every living creature in it (Johnstone, p. 164);

(2) The air was filled with the banging of shutters, gates, and door stanchions, echoing and re-echoing like the rumble and clap of a hail-bearing summer storm, as if stone avalanches were rolling down the steep slopes of Travnik from every side, with a thunderous sound, threatening to bury the town and every living creature in it (Hitrec, p. 146);

(3) There was a clatter of shutters, doors and bolts which rumbled like the cracking and rolling of summer thunder storms with hail and lightning, as though avalanches of rocks were hurtling down the steep Travnik slopes on all sides, with a loud roar, threatening to bury the town and all living things in it” (Hawkesworth, p. 134).

II. Ono sto je odavalo pravi zivot i istinsku snagu toga coveka, to su bile oci. Gas krupne, sjajne oci velikih Ijudi koje snaga njihove misli izdize iznad svega; cas su.ene, ogtre, zlatno-svetle oci kakve se vide kod retkih zivotinja, kuna i lasica, sjajne i hladne, bez raspoznavanja i milosrdja, cas zanesene, nasmejane oci svojeglavog ali plemenitog decaka, sa bezbrilnoscu i lepotom koju mladost daje sama po sebi (pp. 186-87).

(1) The feature which betrayed this man’s real life and true strength, was the eyes. Sometimes the large shining eyes of a great man whom mental force raises above the common; sometimes the liquid, piercing eyes, with golden lights, which one sees in exotic beasts, sables and lynxes, glittering, cold eyes, impersonal and merciless; sometimes the excited, laughing eyes of a headstrong but generous-hearted boy, with the carelessness and the charm which only the youth can give (Johnstone, p. 180);

(2) The feature which betrayed this man’s real life and true strength was his eyes. At times they were large and shining, the eyes of a great man whose powerful intelligence raised him above the common; at times they narrowed and sharpened and became gold-specked, the bright eyes of an animal that is trapwary, a marmot or a lynx, piercing and cool, showing no recognition or mercy; then again the excited, laughing eyes of a goodhearted but willful boy, sparkling with the natural charm and carefree innocence of youth (Hitrec, p. 161);

(3) It was his eyes that betrayed the true life and real strength of this man. At one moment they were the large, shining eyes of great men raised above everything by the power of their mind. Then they became the sharp, narrow, light-golden eyes of some wild animals-martens or weasels-gleaming and cold, with no discrimination or mercy. And then they were the laughing eyes of a capricious but generous boy, with the carefree beauty that is the natural gift of youth (Hawkesworth, p. 148).

All renditions of the first paragraph slightly deviate from the original-save in conveyance of Turkisms (“cepenaka,” and “mandala”). All translations have done admirably well with “sound-echoing” vocabulary (“klepet,” tutanj,” “prasak,” “gromkom orljavom”) using similar lexica (“banging,” “rumbling”‘ “rolling,” “pelting”-in Johnstone-“banging,” “rumble,” “clap,” “rolling down,” “thunderous sound”-in Hitrec, and “clatter,” “rumbled,” “cracking,” “rolling,” “hurting down,” and “loud roar” in Hawkesworth). Hitrec does not translate, for example, “mandale” as “doors” only, he adds a modifier (“stanchions”) to it. Likewise, Hitrec’s use of”thunderous sound” for “gromkom orljavom” reflects the original more accurately. Although all translations of the second paragraph seem to duplicate each other, Hitrec endeavors to be more creative. Hitrec, for example, does not render “redkih livotinja” as “exotic animals” (as Johnstone erroneously does in spite of the fact that “kuna” and “lasica” are natives to Europe and do not inhabit Africa only) but as “an animal that is trapwary”-interpreting the original more correctly. Hitrec’s creativity is demonstrated in many other instances. Hitrec used “gold-specked” for “zlatnosjajne” (versus Johnstone’s “with golden lights” and Hawkesworth’s “lightgolden”). Hitrec opted for “powerful intelligence” for “snaga misli” (versus Johnstone’s literalism in his “mental force”) and Hawkesworth used “power of their mind.” In his translation of both passages, Hitrec comes closer to the original than Johnstone and Hawkesworth do. This supremacy of Hitrec over Johnstone and Hawkesworth is evident throughout Hitrec’s entire translation.

I wish to express my gratitude to Sabira Hallilovic, a graduate student of the Jena University, Germany, for her proofreading of the Serbo-Croatian citations and for her valuable suggestions to improve the structure of the cited text. Delo Ive Andrica u kontekstu evropske knjizevnosti i kulture (Belgrade: Zaduzbina Ive Andrica u Beogradu, 1981) 852.

Delo Ive Andrica 841.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate the reviews to verify this information, which has been confirmed by several European teachers and lecturers of Serbo-Croatian.

See Lauren G. Leighton’s comments in Munir Sendich, English Counter Russian: Essays on Criticism of Literary Translation in America (New York: Peter Lang, 1999) xii-xiii.

Leighton in Sendich, English Counter Russian xiv. Leighton in Sendich, English Counter Russian xii.

Ivo Andric, Bosnian Story. Translated by Kenneth Johnstone (London: Lincoln Prager Publisher Ltd., 1958). Bosnian Chronicle, by Ivo Andric. Translated from the Serbo-Croatian by John Hitrec (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963). Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls. Translated from Serbo-Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth (London: Forest, 1992). All further citations from these translations are indicated in the text with translator’s name and page numbers in parentheses. 8 Ivo Andric, Travnicka hronika. Konsulska veremena (Belgrade: Drzavni izdavaiki zavod Jugoslavije, 1945) 13. Further references to the Serbo-Croatian text are to this edition, with page numbers given in parentheses.

9 This does not mean that “kantar” is used only by Bosnian Moslems; Bosnian Serbs, its peasant population in particular, us” “kantar” as well-as another word for “vaga” i .e., “scales.”

10 The “kapetan” is used in the formulation of “gradski kapetan,” i.e., a “fortress commander,” and not as “town captain.” Here the adjective “gradski” refers to the secondary meaning of the noun “grad” (or, rather, “gradina”) used as a “fortress”-not the “town,” as some English translators of Andric’s works have commonly interpreted (see The Damned Yard and Other Stories. Ivo Andric. Edited by Celia Hawkesworth [London: Forest Books, 1992] 5).

One immediately thinks of the use of “Slavic antithesis” in the famous Bosnian Moslem ballad, “Hasanaginica”: “gta se b’jeli u gori zelenoj?/Al’ je snijeg, al’ su labudovi…./Nit je snijeg, nit su labudovi.” (BISERJE. Izbor iz muslimanske knjizevnosti. Odabrao i priredio Alija Isakovic [Zagreb: Stvarnost, 1972] 73.)

The glossary of Turkish words and provincialisms (sic!) ending the text of the first edition of Andric’s novel defines the entry for Ulema as “svestenstvo,” a collective noun for Serbian priests. Members of the Bosnian Ulema are the Moslem priests (notably the “hodzas”). The Ulema is headed by a Reis who is the highest Moslem authority in Bosnia.

13 In his “Letter from 1920,” Andric elaborates in more detail on his use of “Turkish hour”: “The clock on the Catholic cathedral strikes the hour with weighty confidence: 2 a.m. More than a minute passes… and only then with a rather weaker, but piercing sound does the Orthodox church announce the hour, and chime its own 2 am. A moment after it the tower clock on the Bey’s mosque strikes the hour in a hoarse, faraway voice, and that strikes I1, the ghostly Turkish hour, by the strange calculation of distant and alien parts of the world” (The Damned Yard and Other Stories 1 17).

Copyright Canadian Assosciation of Slavists Sep-Dec 1998

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