Ildikó Hizsnyai Tóth or Ildikó Hizsnyaiová was born in 1966 in Šaľa. She is a Hungarian translator, translation theorist and journalist. She studied Hungarian and Slovak Language at the Faculty of Arts of the Comenius University in Bratislava, where she later received her PhD and taught from 1997 to 2018. As a theorist, she focuses on proper nouns, their application and creation in translation, and she is also the author of various studies.
She translates from Slovak into Hungarian, especially contemporary Slovak literature, scientific publications, and screenplays and subtitles for film. She is the author of book translations as well as a great number of translations published in magazines. She was awarded the Imre Madách Prize three times, for her Hungarian translation of books by Peter Pišťanek (2000) and Pavel Vilikovský (2003, 2012), and she has also received the Literary Fund prize for a bilingual publication (2008). As a resident in Banská Štiavnica, she was busy translating Pavel Vilikovský's book Letmý sneh / Fleeting Snow.
As part of the Trojica Air program, each resident has a public presentation together with the author they are translating. Since Pavel Vilikovský had passed away, the organizers decided to offer a closer look at the translational work of his books into different languages. Aside from Miroslava Vallová, translator and former director of LIC / The Slovak Literary Center, and Mrs. Hizsnyaiová, the English translator Júlia Sherwood, and French translator Peter Brabenec were present. They were talking about the translational possibilites of Vilikovský's literary language, e.g. sharing experiences with translating the title Letmý sneh (Fleeting Snow). You can watch a recording of the event on the YouTube channel of LIC. More information can be found on Facebook.
Below you can find a few answers Mrs. Hizsnyaiová gave about her residency. The interview by Michal Kríž in its original, uncut version was published in the magazine Štiavnické noviny.
You are translating a work by Pavel Vilikovský. How is his book interesting for you as a translator? And how, do you think, can it be interesting for readers in Hungary?
I have come across his novella Večne je zelený / Ever Green Is in 1989 as a Slovak literature student; at the time, he started publishing again after a longer hiatus. His extraordinarily rich language and style finesse reminded me of my favorite Hungarian author Peter Esterházy. It was love at first reading, altough I did not know then that I would become a translator of his. I have translated two of his novels, and both received the Literary Fund Prize for best translation. Pavel Vilikovský is known to Hungarian readers thanks to the publishing house Kaligram. They published an edition of six of his books, and all were very well presented. Pavel Vilikovský is the best known and most popular Slovak author in Hungary. I am currently translating his novel Letmý sneh, which will be the seventh published in Hungary. Aside from that, I have tackled Vilikovský from the position of a theorist, since I have taught artistic translation at the Department of Hungarian Language at the Academy of Arts of the Comenius University in Bratislava for twenty years. I was part of raising a young generation of translators on both sides.
What are your thoughts on the work conditions you have at the residency, and on Banská Štiavnica as a place for your challenging intellectual work?
The conditions are ideal: my main work tools are silence and tranquility, which I have here. I am very thankful for this opportunity. I have a particular relationship to this town as I was here a couple of years ago, translating the tourist guide 7x7 about Banská Štiavnica. Later, I translated Katarína Vošková's book Putovanie Kalváriou (Wandering the Calvary). The Calvary is a favorite of mine, a baroque jewel connecting architecture and nature in a beautiful way. I feel at home here, I like the history of the place and I admire its residents for breathing life into this town through their activities.