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Czech translator takes a public stand against xenophobic comments
Czech translator takes a public stand against xenophobic comments
20 Oct, 2018

The cover of ‘Linie Krásy’, Michala Marková’s translation of ‘The Line of Beauty’ by Alan Hollinghurst

Michala Marková, a renowned translator from English and French, wrote an open letter to the Czech Radio Council, expressing her concerns about the unacceptable statement of one of its members, Tomáš Kňourek, who reacted to a broadcasted excerpt from her translation of The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. Mr Kňourek called the author a ‘lecher’ dressed as a writer and his writing ‘filth’, irrelevantly attacked the United Kingdom and its approach to migration, mentioned the Muslim minority as ‘people’ in quotation marks, and implicitly suggested censorship would be welcome  while attacking  the editor in chief of the highly acclaimed radio station.

The Czech Literary Translators’ Guild OP (http://www NULL.obecprekladatelu NULL.cz/) supported Michala Marková in its open letter to the Council and the Parliament, in which it stressed that such hateful vocabulary from a person with influence on culture is most alarming, questioned the competence of Mr Kňourek to hold such a position, protested against attacks on freedom of speech, literature, art and quality media, and warned against stealthy attempts to reintroduce censorship, an unfortunate part of   the Czech Republic’s history.

The case  has received great attention and has been widely discussed in the media. OP would like to pay homage to Michala Marková, who did not hesitate to stand up for culture and  demonstrate  the role  translators  can play. The importance of public reaction is confirmed by the case being reported in The Guardian (https://www NULL.theguardian NULL.com/world/2018/oct/14/booker-novel-sparks-czech-free-speech-row?CMP=share_btn_tw&fbclid=IwAR1B9poyz3n2YkUnZIXsK5u5SACptmOSjX4oSh9w0g9_WBSFnnEWNytlgTw).


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