The second translator at the Trojica AIR residency 2022 is Diana Pungeršič from Slovenia. In Banská Štiavnica, she is translating the book Naničhodnica / The Good-for-nothing Woman from Jana Juráňová.
Diana Pungeršič (1984) is a literary translator of Slovak and Czech into Slovak, literary critic, publicist and host. At the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, she has studied Slovenian and Slovak language with literature and sociology of culture. She was born, lives and works in Slovenia.
She has translated the works of Pavol Rankov, Daniela Kapitáňová, Víťo Staviarsky, Juraj Šebesta, Marek Vadas, Dušan Mitana, Jana Beňová, Anton Baláž, Ivona Březinová, Petra Dvořáková, Iva Procházková and others; she translates passages for literary magazines (Sodobnost, Literatura, Mentor, Pogledi). Diana also publishes literary interviews, essays, organizes and hosts literary events and has founded a reading club. She is a member of the juries of several literary competitions and awards.
The translator and author presented themselves at the traditional event for the TROJICA AIR project, hosted by Dado Nagy, on Thursday, March 10. You can find the video on our YouTube channel.
We also bring you some answers from the resident about what the work is like in Banská Štiavnica. The entire interview, conducted by Michal Kríž, was published in the magazine, Štiavnické noviny.
What works have you translated so far and what feedback to them has been received from the Slovenian public?
Besides the aforementioned book, I’ve also translated Rankov's Matky / Mothers, which is a very successful book among readers. We have welcomed the author in Slovenia twice and I will definitely translate his works again. This was followed by a translation of the novel Kniha o cintoríne / Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book by Daniela Kapitáňová. For this translation, I received an award given by The Slovenian Association of Literary Translators to a young translator. It has a peculiar style of storytelling, as Samko Tále is a mentally handicapped man and his language is really specific. Then I have translated the books of Víťo Staviarsky (Kivader in druge novele / Kivader and Other Novels), because it seemed important to me, to bring the life and fate of Slovak Roma closer to the Slovenes, through the eyes of an author who has a deep understanding of our human weaknesses. It was an honour to translate the great Dušan Mitana – his iconic collections of short stories Psie dni / Dog Days and Nočné správy / Late-night News, which are also close to my heart. There is Café Hyena / Seeing People Off by Jana Beňová and Keď sa pes smeje / When the Dog Laughs by Juraj Šebesta, which was awarded as the best translated book for children and young adults in 2019. Quite recently, my translation of the novel Tábor padlých žien / The Camp of Fallen Women by Anton Baláž was published. It is a story about the re-education of Bratislava prostitutes and it also mentions the Knights of Sitno. :) Literary translations from Slovak are still rare in our country (as compared to those in the Czech language), so I choose books thoughtfully; I am aware of the privilege as well as the responsibility. The feedback from the readers and scholars confirms my belief that I am on the right track.
What translation are you working on during your stay at TROJICA AIR?
I am translating Naničhodnica / The Good-for-nothing Woman by Jana Juráňová, a novel about 80-year-old Mrs. Ľudmila, who has nowhere to go after being discharged from the hospital. This ethically and socially sensitive story addresses the issue of selfless help, as well as the problem of aging in a world which glorifies youth, beauty and sturdiness. Naničhodnica helps us to see and perhaps to better understand ourselves, that is, the dark face of our society, which fails to care for the sick, vulnerable, and elderly... It is a powerful story that shows us a mirror. I believe it will appeal to Slovenian readers as well.
Are you in Banská Štiavnica for the first time? How does the city seem to you and what are the working conditions created by TROJICA AIR?
It's a charming town. I feel like a queen here; the accommodation is spacious and the atmosphere is calm, perfect for work. The city itself and its surroundings offer so many possibilities... for a trip or just wandering the picturesque streets; there are galleries, museums, castles, cafés and above all nice people! I think I’ve just discovered my favourite Slovak city.