October 14, 2018
"This is a fantastically good English translation of the novel which I purchased online in 2009, from a website that is still up. ."
Stanley Q Woodvine
an illustrator, graphic designer, and a writer,
sqwabb blog - A view from the street, but with no particular focus
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
March 23, 2018
"Far better than the Parrot. I can read the original Czech so much obliged to your translation! ... When I have used your translation, I have done so in league with Parrot's and made my own notes as to the translation choices. It's a tough book to translate, clearly."
Malynne Sternstein, Associate Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Chicago, Director of the Masters Program in the Humanities (MAPH)
January 31, 2018
"... which translation you read will give you a different experience with the titular character, and the story in general. In short, the Sadlon translation gives the reader a novel with extraordinarily more depth and layers than the Parrot translation. ... Parrot’s vernacular obscures the subtleties and nuances that make a huge difference in what Hašek was communicating to the reader. I can’t state this enough, the Sadlon edition is a much different book that unmasks a significantly more intricate picture ..."
Corto, on GoodReads
June 17, 2016
a book to read every few years - always something new to enjoy - as well as what you anticipate from previous readings
Dave Fillary on amazon.co.uk
March 9, 2016
Important book and also a good style. Very interesting...
Martin Horrocks on amazon.co.uk
May 12, 2015
Anti establishment humour and anti war feelings abound... and this series is one of the top, and shows how universal this feeling is.
Andrew J Burns on amazon.co.uk
October 20, 2014
Very good and funny for those interested in the mal-functionings of governmnet (in this case Austria-Hungary in the first world war)
Sophie Ydstie on amazon.com
March 28, 2013
I almost never rate anything 5 stars because I can be very fond of something but still not "love" it. This book is a rare exception and is one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature.
John Schwenck on amazon.com
March 13, 2013
It's good to find a fresh translation of this wonderful book. Svejk has come back to life and lost none of his charm.
locum on amazon.co.uk
March 13, 2012
I bought the first book a few years ago after reading the Parrott translation ... The new translation works much better in English and I eagerly anticipate reading all three together. ... Hasek was a brilliant author.
February 13, 2012
I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone it's a classic and the translation seems excellent to me. Witty rather than side-splitting ... it's just such a pleasure to be able to read this all again. Wonderful, forget the grumblers and grab a copy now you won't regret it! - commenting on Book One (Kindle Edition)
Ludwig B on amazon.com.uk
January 3, 2012
Great old story - very funny. One of the great old novels about the madness of War - World War I. I enjoyed it in my childhood and I also love it now. One of the few books that reads as well when you are an adult, as you remember it from childhood. Enjoy ! - commenting on Book(s) Three and Four (Kindle Edition)
R. Baron on amazon.com
August 25, 2011
Hilarious! I'm a little too old to suggest that I "laugh out loud", but this certainly had me giggling gently in my armchair ... It is so funny because it still rings true. If you've spent any time in any branch of the military, you will see direct parallels. If you haven't, read this to understand where the cynical, black humour of military men comes from. I'll certainly be treating myself to the next two installments. - commenting on Book One (Kindle Edition)
Dave Wilcock on amazon.com.uk
The absurdity of IT departments with top heavy bureaucracy can be compared only with the military bureaucracy and this old book describing World War I is a good introduction to the subject :-)
Nikolai N. Bezroukov, (Budd Lake, NJ) on amazon.com
August 19, 2010
What a great gift to America you have given with your translations of Svejk. Personally, whenever I have a bit of political writing to do, I always read a page or two of whatever volume of the novel I happen to be reading at the time, in order to get into the proper mental mode for my work. Best to you and keep on svejking,
April 18, 2010
I have been through five translations in various languages and it's obvious that all these have their shortcomings, some serious, others less so. This new translation by Zenny Sadlon does, however, come a long way towards addressing the problems of the previous English translation. ... This is a translation I can wholeheartedly recommend, no doubt the best there is in English.
January 15, 2007
Okay, I'm hooked. I read the first couple of chapters of your translation last night and so far I'm well impressed. ... To tell the truth, I always guessed there was a lot wrong with Parrott's translation. ... What I found hard to believe, was that the original would have been written in such a boring middle class tone where Svejk's anecdotes could actually make you think "come on, get to the friggin point." I was sure they must have been written far more entertainingly by Hasek and in a much more proletarian manner. ... Parrott writes in this awful middle class "standard English" which is of course, a language spoken by about 2% of the British population, and which is immediately alienating to most people here. ... Working class American English seems to me to be something that will be understood by everyone here (after all, we all watch the Simpsons) much better than the Oxbridge English of Parrott. ... Like I say, it's 100 times more readable than the Parrott job and speaks the language of the spit and sawdust pub - which seems absolutely appropriate to me.
August 18, 2005
I just finished the first book and only wish I had more. I found your translation better in many ways, whether because the use of language is more modern or because it’s more true to the original, I can’t say. I notice such little things as this:
in the Cecil Parrott translation, Svejk’s trademark phrase is “humbly report, sir, that ... “
in your translation, it’s rendered as “dutifully report, sir, that ... “
At first I didn’t like the change, not because of its meaning but because of how it plays on the tongue, humbly report being easier and I believe more commonly used in English (aside from Svejk). The phrase “dutifully report” is a bit harder on the tongue and almost never used in English (outside of your translation). As I continued reading, however, the meaning of the phrase began to resonate: dutifully means that the speaker did or is reporting whatever, not so much of his own volition, but because as a soldier, everything he does is subject to his being ordered. The difference in meaning is huge, though since I neither speak Czech nor have a copy of the book in Czech, I can’t say which is truer to the original. From what I know of the Czechs I have met, I believe yours fits the passive-aggressive posture of Svejk and as I’m told – by Czechs -- but haven’t witnessed, of many Czechs.
Of course, there are many other differences that I find reflect better on your translation. I do speak and understand German, so the use of the terms “putzfleck” works MUCH better than Parrott’s use of “batman,” which no longer retains much of its original meaning in English thanks to the comic book hero of the same name. Putzfleck is so “typisch deutsch” that it makes me laugh each time I see it.
Long story short, kudos on your work and I certainly hope you finish it.
August 10, 2005
i am bout halfway thru yer translayshun of svejk. caint hardly putt it down. it moves much faster than the everyman liberry edishun i red, witch thats the cecil parrott translayshun that reads lack twuz frum the 19 th centry. yers reads lack tiz one of the mos modurn novels of the 20th cent (n i dun red most of em). i hope ye kin perseveer till ye git all them books translated.
November 18, 2004
Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoyed your translation of Book One. I see where the English might have a problem with the odd colloquialism here or there, but boy, does it read a lot faster than the Parrott translation!
Karl J. Paloucek
Tribune Media Services
November 17, 2004
... the novel's continued resonance suggest how deep a nerve Hasek touched. His comic hero highlights the illogic of war so brilliantly that Svejk's character has been absorbed into Western culture, speaking to many generations and their different wars.... it is a relief to get to page 752 in the clunky 1970's translation by Sir Cecil Parrott, once the British ambassador to Czechoslovakia but no literary stylist. ... [it] has such stilted language that reading it is a slog ... A more recent translation of the first volume, by Zenny K. Sadlon and Mike Joyce, is far more fluent.
Critic at Large
The New York Times
November 13, 2004
We are trying to get the best translations of the books we choose and were very happy with what a nice job you did on Svejk, getting across the intelligence and subtlety and avoiding making it farce.
Board of Directors
Czech and Slovak Cultural Center of Minnesota
October 12, 2004
I bought the old translation of this book for a class, and then I happened upon this translation on amazon.com. I ended up buying it, and now my only regret is that I will have to read Books Two and Three from the old version. The translation allows for fluid, enjoyable reading, filled with an irony and humor that I have rarely found in translations of any book. ... I will be eagerly awaiting the further translations by Zenny Sadlon and Mike Joyce, because the older translation does not even compare to the older, and, frankly, less funny translations. ... Unlike other anti-war protestors or observers in most other anti-war tracts, Svejk stands out as someone who accepts the premises of the ruling class to such a degree that they are, themselves, embarassed to have set them forth. I thank goodness that this new translation lets that shine through, far from the old and stilted language of past translations. It is worth the money and time to wait for the new volumes of Books Two and Three to be published, and to buy Book One in this new translation, rather than to waste any time and money on an old translation that misses the point and insults the spirit of the genius Jaroslav Hasek who so beautifully and hilariously told the story of Svejk the good soldier and his fateful adventures.
Daniel N. Lenhoff
April 5, 2004
I read a chapter of Parrot's translation only after reading yours. Yours IS much better. Captures that lively, humorous, satirical mood unlike the staid British translation. I like British humor, I like Czech/Slovak humor, but it did not meld.
April 3, 2004
concerning ... new English translation of "The Good Soldier Svejk" by the author Zenny K. Sadlon. ... I thought his first book was very funnier than the earlier English translation.
Austro-Hungarian Land Forces Discussion Forum
March 28, 2004
. . . I want to read the next three books. Your translation of the first book was so good, I felt the lilt of the Czech words behind the English translation.. . . Please hurry with your translations.
Verne E. Rezabek
August 30, 2002
Yes, there can be a near-perfect translation
I own this book and the Czech original. Before I got this particular translation, I used to feel sorry that my American son would never be able to get a glimpse into the mentality of a nation living at the bottom of the food chain, powerless but never defeated. This book captures perfectly the spirit of Svejk, his seemingly pointless rambbling, apparent half-wit, and his truly folk origin. . . .
October 5, 2001
A Translation That Serves Justice To Hasek's Language
As someone who has lived in the Czech Republic for a number of years and who speaks Czech at an intermediate level, I can safely say that this translation is far superior than the Cecil Parrot one. As a student of Hasek's work, I have read the Parrot translation three times, so when I picked up Zenny's translation and started to read, I was electrified. Here was the language that most Czechs were sure could never be translated. Instead of holding back as Parrot did, Zenny unleashes the full volley of Hasek's humor, not afraid to use the vulgar language that Hasek often employed. This book brings the reader much, much closer to the spirit and character of the wonderful Svejk. I praise Zenny for a job well done and can't wait to read the next installation of the book.
So for all those Czechs out there who thought that this book was not translatable, read this one. You will sure be surprised. And for those of you who don't know who is this Good Soldier Svejk, I suggest that you get your hands on this book and start reading. Hasek employs the type of humor that has you laughing and crying at the same time, because he uses humor, irony, satire and a healthy dose of truth to expose the absurdities of our modern world.
September 7, 2001
I just finished reading your translation of Book One and thought it was outstanding! I was immediately struck by the freshness of the language and how closely you kept it to Hasek's use of Czech. I didn't realize how stilted Parrott's language was until I read your translation. Three cheers for a job well done.
January 3, 2001
I first read "Svejk," probably more than 35 years ago, in Paul Selver's original English version. I believe Parrott improved significantly on that translation. Sadlon and Joyce, to my mind, have taken things a step further by restoring the book's fresh, journalistic, crude energy.
January 2, 2001
I must say that I am ecstatic about your new translation of Svejk. I was entertained in the same degree (and in the same spots) as by the Czech original. In addition, this new translation also preserves the rhythm of the sentences, their overall sense and spirit.
That is all which the old translation lacks in a catastrophic measure. The old translation is awkward to a, as we say in Czech, "break-neck" degree, unreadable, and for the common reader hard to understand. I think that the old translation should have never appeared in the book marketplace - alas, it happened.
As a native Czech I can tell you that the author of the previous translation (perhaps due to his intellectualism) did not get what Hasek’s novel is about at all. His language is the language of high society evening parties - while Hasek’s Svejk speaks with the tongue of public houses in the fourth [i.e., grade D, the cheapest] price category.
I am convinced that thanks to this new translation the resurrection and the rediscovery of this never-to-die book for and by millions and millions of readers in Anglophone countries is taking place indeed.
Zdeněk Smrčka, M.D.
The Czech Republic
December 3, 2000
I have been trying to read the Penguin translation for 3 weeks now and I can't get into it. After reading your promotional material, I feel like I am wasting my time. Can you please send over 3 or 4 copies of YOUR translation to me?
December 12, 2000
Thank you very much for sending the books. We are all reading them. It is a fabulous translation! I am almost finished reading your translation! It is so much better than the Penguin [edition]. Thank you very much for sending it over.
Director of Public Relations
Chicago Opera Theater
October 15, 2000
I have been gobbling up Svejk the past couple nights. The Parrott translation used to put me to sleep. This translation makes me laugh so hard I have a hard time going to sleep.
National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library
Cedar Rapids, IA
September 24, 2000
Please advise when books 2 and 3 will become available! I am very pleased with book 1 and can hardly wait for the next 2 books. Please accept my compliments for a fine piece of work!
September 1, 2000
I just wanted to say thanks for the new translation! I became curious about Svejk's adventures while reading Milan Kundera, then read parts of his stories in German translation and have wanted to read about them in English ever since. I'm thoroughly enjoying your translation. Please hurry with the subsequent volumes!
August 7, 2000
Can't wait for books 2 & 3!