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 Vestnik. In 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 Vorzugsschüler, Karriere, Kranke Menschheit, April. Die Geschichte einer Liebe, Der blinde Spiegel, Stationschef Fallmerayer, Triumph der Schönheit, Die Büste des Kaisers, Der Leviathan, Die 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 Else, Spiel 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.