Engineering Manager | Trail Runner | Stockholm, Sweden

Do you want to read Hungarian sci-fi?

Help SFportal win HUF 1 million on a tender by Budapest Bank to be able to enjoy the works of contemporary Hungarian science fiction authors translated to English.

Their aim is to organize an anthology of short stories and select a novel then have them translated into English and publish both on as an ebook. Any future income from the sale of these ebooks would be used to fund more translations.

If you believe this is a noble goal help them win by voting for them on Facebook. (The tender runs under the name of SFportal editor-in-chief, Jun Miyazaki.) The system allows one vote per person per day so remember to vote every day until the end of the first round on 5 August.


I’m actually surprised no-one has complained yet about the site being English. Apart from the voiceless masses who just stopped reading: logs show the number of visitors about half – at best – of what it used to be.

If there were expectations that I’d return to Hungarian, I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint. I actually like as it is, accessible by an infinitely bigger number of people than when it was written mainly in my native tongue.

I’m sorry for those who will have to miss out this way. I tend to think not knowing much English is like living without a limb lately. And I’m disinclined to be apologetic about the fact that I do speak the language.

Funny though, when I was home for the summer even my mother chastised me for – in her words – being snobbish and looking down on dubbed movies and TV shows. She’s right though, I really don’t like watching movies translated to Hungarian anymore if the original was English. I don’t doubt that the dubbing can be excellent quality and we have many talented voice actors. Nevertheless the movie inevitably changes, since no two languages have identical words and phrases. Some nuances are lost, some are added.

The best thing about knowing a language is when you start to understand the little details. Find the untranslatable sentences, phrases that only seem to make sense in that particular language. Try watching a standup comedy for instance. Understanding those completely is – I believe – a sign of proficiency.

If this is pretentiousness or arrogance, I can live with it.


Okay, Harmonic is a great widget for the Mac. It downloads the lyrics for the music you’re listening to in iTunes. Quite nice, since it passes it right to iTunes and it gets saved with the song. Next time you plug your iPod in it even gets transferred to that as well. Now, what’s the problem? Stupid people. Seriously, how bloody hard is it to get right… especially for a native speaker:


For the uninitiated, let me do the honours: your is a personal pronoun denoting possession; you’re is a contraction of you are.

It makes my brain bleed to read lyrics like this:
“Maybe your a sinner into your alternate life, …”
(For a bonus you can tell me the title of the song the line’s from. Google is cheating.)

If people decide to share the lyrics of a song and post it to a site (all lyrics sites have private contributor sources) how on Earth can they be so terribly ignorant as to make basic mistakes like this? How can they not care about what they put out for everyone to see? Aren’t they fans? It truly boggles the mind.

Please, God, make them stop butchering the language…