Translating Karel Capek's lesser-known works into English

Andrew Malcovsky, an American trained in Slavic languages, is translating the works of the great Czech writer Karel Capek into English. Capek's RUR gave us the word "robot" and has been widely translated, but many of his shorter, lesser-known works are not available in English.

His Final Affairs

The tram clanks and rattles its way uphill towards the Olšanský cemetery.

"Look," a short little man says to a younger chap in a rabbit-fur coat, "Something's being built there; it will be a school or maybe a cinema. You know, I'm really glad I got to see him one last time. 'It's you,' he said. I don't think it really helped him much, but a man must show his friendship. 'I've come again,' I told him, 'but you'll be running off already,' I say, and meanwhile–"

The young chap in the fur coat nodded his head mournfully.

"I took the medal with me, so he would be happy," the little man continued, "and he said, 'My God, is it you?' You see, he recognized me. And I told him, 'Jozef, it will pass.' And he says: "Maňička, give me some of those giblets.' So she gave them to him, and he only took two bites, just pecked at them, but he didn't eat a thing. 'Maňička, give me some of those giblets," the man repeated, touched.


(Thanks, Andrew!)