Three Cases of Plagiarism

In the past year the Bul­gari­an Trans­lat­ors’ Uni­on has dealt with a num­ber of cases of trans­la­tion pla­gi­ar­ism.

Last March Prof. Ana Dimova, lit­er­ary trans­lat­or and BTU mem­ber, pub­lished an art­icle entitled The (Un)known Joseph Roth: Trans­la­tion or Tran­script in the renowned lit­er­ary news­pa­per Lit­er­at­uren Vest­nikIn the art­icle she com­pared a recent trans­la­tion of Joseph Roth’s stor­ies into Bul­gari­an by Vladko Murdarov („Легенда за пияницата светец“, Black Flamingo, 2015) with her own trans­la­tion of the same stor­ies of thirty years pre­vi­ously („Гробницата на капуцините“. Избрани творби. Народна култура, 1986) and found the dif­fer­ences min­im­al. BTU’s Pro­fes­sion­al Eth­ics Com­mit­tee decided to invest­ig­ate the case and asked for an expert opin­ion. Ger­gana Fyrkova-Angelova, PhD, schol­ar and lit­er­ary trans­lat­or her­self, ana­lysed the two Bul­gari­an ver­sions of the same works (namely Der VorzugsschülerKar­ri­ereKranke Mensch­heitApril. Die Geschichte ein­er LiebeDer blinde SpiegelSta­tion­schef Fallmeray­erTri­umph der Schön­heitDie Büste des Kais­ersDer Leviath­anDie Legende vom hei­li­gen Trink­er) in detail, tak­ing into account the spe­cif­ics of the ori­gin­al texts and con­cluded that in their oth­er trans­la­tion work the two trans­lat­ors have their own, very dif­fer­ent approaches, that Vladko Murdarov used Ana Dimova’s trans­la­tion, mak­ing insig­ni­fic­ant cor­rec­tions to it and that, in short, his trans­la­tion can­not be con­sidered an autonom­ous work. On the basis of Fyrkova-Angelova’s expert opin­ion, BTU pub­lished an offi­cial state­ment claim­ing that Ana Dimova’s trans­la­tion had been bor­rowed from dir­ectly by Vladko Murdarov, and con­demned the unlaw­ful deed.

Sev­er­al months later, the Pro­fes­sion­al Eth­ics Com­mit­tee received anoth­er notice of pla­gi­ar­ism: this time it was about the trans­la­tion of a col­lec­tion of stor­ies by Arthur Schnitz­ler („Като насън“, Black Flamingo, 2012) by Vladko Murdarov. The ana­lyt­ic­al expert­ise of Ger­gana Fyrkova-Angelova con­cluded once again that Murdarov had delib­er­atedly used pre­vi­ous trans­la­tions of the same ori­gin­al texts (Fräulein ElseSpiel im Mor­gen­grauen, Traum­nov­elle), trans­lated respect­ively by Nikola Tol­chev, Panayot K. Chilkov and Nedyalka Pop­ova, mak­ing min­im­al changes, not related to exist­ing mis­takes. BTU pub­lished anoth­er offi­cial state­ment defend­ing the copy­right of the trans­lat­ors whose work had been stolen and drew atten­tion to the fact that a second trans­la­tion of Schnitzler’s stor­ies was pub­lished in Bul­garia not because of defi­cien­cies in the first one but because of the fin­an­cial sup­port by for­eign cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions.

Finally, Kon­stantin Iliev, a dis­tin­guished Bul­gari­an play­wright, author and trans­lat­or, wrote a let­ter to inform BTU that his trans­la­tion of Die Klein­bür­ger­hochzeit („Избрани творби на Бертолт Брехт“, т. ІІІ, Народна култура, 1985) had been pla­gi­ar­ised once again by Vladko Murdarov („Едноактни и пиеси уроци“, Рива, 2009). Iliev him­self gave repeated and irre­fut­able proof of the deed. BTU con­demned the unlaw­ful prac­tice of trans­la­tion pla­gi­ar­ism and declared its resolve to con­tin­ue defend­ing trans­lat­ors’ rights.

All state­ments by BTU and Ger­gana Fyrkova-Angelova’s expert opin­ions are avail­able on the BTU’s web­site and have been pub­lished in the cul­tur­al press. Kon­stantin Iliev’s let­ter is pub­lished in Kul­tura news­pa­per.