This analysis contains comparison of Sławomir Mrożek’s story entitled “Most” with its English translation by Yolanta May.
Sławomir Mrożek addressed his story to a circle of educated Poles, who would understand the subtle irony contained within his work. Mrożek leaves no doubt as to the historical context of his work. Time of the action can be verified by numerous allusions to the Polish post-communistic period. The main character of the story is trying to get an economic aid and as we know from the history, Polish government started granting loans and credits after the economic reform, which places the story in the early 90s. The action takes place in a Polish village. The story is written in the first narrative. Sławomir Mrożek uses irony in “Most” by contrasting an educated expert from the capital with backward society of a village in Poland.
Polish language enables its users to use shortened constructions without subject, e.g. “Most na rzece macie, ale nikt go nie używa”, in English there is no such thing as implied subject, hence the translation: ”You have a bridge across the river but nobody uses it”. The translator split certain sentences into two separate ones to make it easier for addressees to read, e.g. “To nie przez zacofanie, tylko dlatego, że most za komunizmu był zbudowany i ludzie nie mają zaufania.” - “Being backward has nothing to do with it. It’s just that the bridge was built under communism and nobody trusts it.”. The author of the original story uses rhetorical question ”A co czy on coś nie tego…” this point is also sustained by the translator: ”Is this bridge not quite?”. Sławomir Mrożek changed the word order in the sentence “tego kapitaliści nie zrozumieją” to emphasize the meaning and to highlight the most important word. This construction is impossible in English, that is why Yolanta May translated this sentence as “the capitalists will never understand that”. Dialog differs...
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