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Ural Life & Culture
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Masha Terlezkaya

Linguist and Translator
B is for Books

Interlinear Translationby Lilianna Lungina 
 Lilianna Lungina is known in Russia as the translator of Karlsson-on-the-Roof and Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Fewer people know that she translated two more books by Astrid Lindgren – Emil of Lönneberga and Ronia the Robber's Daughter. Lungina translated a lot of other authors as well, but mostly we love her for Karlsson-on-the-Roof.
 Today I would like to tell you about her autobiography book Interlinear Translation.
 Originally there was a documentary autobiography film Interlinear Translation by Oleg Dorman. There are 15 series in it. It was shown on Russian TV in 2009. And then on base of this video where Lungina herself tells us about her life – was made the book. The book contains some materials, which were not included in the film. As well as a lot of pictures.
 The fate of the film was difficult: during 11 years bosses of TV channels refused to show it. And only in 2009 it was finally shown to Russian people.
 It happened so that I read the book first and have not seen the film yet. But I`m going to watch it sooner or later.
 But let`s talk about the book now. First of all it`s well written. Secondly – it`s very interesting. Lungina tells us about her childhood, her youth, marriage and family, about the political situation in the USSR at that time – a lot of interesting and sometimes scary information. And she also tells us about her work as a translator and about her communication with Astrid Lindgren - they knew each other, met each other and even corresponded in a very friendly way.
 Reading Lilianna Lungina`s book one understands once again that there are no boring lives. Each life is interesting in its own way (if we are talking about decent people and not about some outcasts). Or maybe I just love to read autobiographies (I really do). There is some light in this book. Though the times were hard enough and Lungina`s life was not all roses. But somehow she managed to stay optimistic and positive. Reading this book you will find a lot of famous people of the epoch there (in spheres of politics and art) – Stalin, Brezhnev, Khrushchev, Solzhenitsyn, Shalamov and so on. And she writes about them as well, about their deeds.
 And of course as in any other autobiography there are a lot of personal details in the book.
 The most interesting part for me was the part of the book dedicated to Lilianna`s job as a translator of fiction literature. Lungina`s way of translator was long and challenging. She was Jewish and at that time in the USSR there was an order not to give work (translations) to Jewish people. But that was about French and German. But! Lungina found a way out. There were no competitors in sphere of translations from Swedish and Danish. And she did it! She became a translator of fiction literature. She got her first order when she was in her forties. Since that time she translated and translated. A lot of authors, several languages. A talented person, what can I say?
 In 1990 she wrote a book in French Les saisons de Moscou about Russia during the Soviet times. The book got a prize of Elle magazine.
 And then was this autobiography film and later the book.
 I wrote this article with a special pleasure because I was writing about a translator. More over – about a translator of fiction literature. And the most inspiring thing in her story for me is that she got her first order for a translation of a book when she was in her forties and still managed to become a well known translator. For me it means that if you want to get something (if you really want) – you can do it. Even if it takes a lot of time, even if it takes a lot of efforts, even if at first the results are small and moderate. You still can do it. The main thing is to do your best in trying to obtain what you want, to work diligently and not to lose hope. I would also add to it – to use all the chanses. That is how this book by Lilianna Lungina inspires me!
 And as for Lilianna herself, she died in 1998. As far as I understood, she died as a happy person. Her two sons became well known people in the sphere of art. And we read and reread her wonderful translation of Karlsson-on-the-Roof, admire her and Astrid Lindgren and remember them both!

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