No Good for Nothing, in Translation

I’m delighted to see my translation of my good friend Nadya Radulova’s remarkable poem Нищо и никакво не можа (No Good for Nothing) published in Scotland’s very own Interpret Magazine.

I’ve not spoken Bulgarian now for a good year and a half, and so my Bulgarian is incredibly rusty, being pushed out by Mandarin and Taiwanese Hokkien. So it’s nice to be revisiting the language.

Here are the opening lines of my translation:

They told me that I hid them in the dark, in the attic room,
so nobody would touch them
and I forgot them for days on end, left them hungry. And without water.
They buried them, without showing them to me.

And here’s the opening of the original:

Разказваха ми, че съм ги скрила на тъмно, в таванската стаичка,
никой да не ми ги пипа,
и съм ги забравила дни наред гладни. И без вода.
Погребали ги без ми ги покажат.

I don’t know if I’ll find my way back to Bulgaria and translating from Bulgarian again, but if this is the extent of my career as a Bulgarian-English translator, then it’s been a privilege to have been entrusted with the work of such an extraordinary poet.

You can read the whole poem on the Interpret Magazine website.

Image: Broncia Koller-Pinell: Silvia Koller with Bird Cage, c. 1907. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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