Vol. 1 No. 1 (2023)
Essays by the members of the Hieronymus Translation Studies Research Group

From the United States (via the Soviet Union) to Hungary: The first Asimov translations in the Kádár era

Anikó Sohár
Pázmány Péter Catholic University
Pázmány Papers vol. 1. nr. 1.

Published 12/18/2023 — Updated on 06/13/2024


  • literary translation,
  • indirect translation,
  • translation under Communism,
  • science fiction,
  • censorship


Isaac Asimov was the favourite American science-fiction author in the Kádár era due to extraliterary reasons, many of his works were therefore translated when science fiction, a previously prohibited popular genre was introduced to the Hungarian public. This paper analyses the first two Hungarian translations, that of a short story entitled ‘Victory Unintentional’ and that of a collection of short stories entitled I Robot. Both indirect and direct translations exhibit multiple traces of censorship and revision, significantly changing the structure, atmosphere and message of the original works. The paper also calls attention to the need to gather information about the literary translators of the Kádár era as long as some of them are still alive, make use of oral history.