Who Robbed Heidi Of Her Prayer?

Center for Slovenian Studies Slovenian Museum and Archives Cleveland State University Kent State University present “Who Robbed Heidi of her prayer?” by Fullbright Professor Nike K. Pokorn.

The presentation will focus on translation practice in Socialist Yugoslavia, paying special attention to the translations of children’s literature. I will present the results of a recently finished research, in which 96 translations of 9 children’s books into Slovene, Croatian, Serbian and Macedonian that were created in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were analyzed. The results showed that almost 80% of these translations were ideologically censored: in particular, passages referring to Christian religion were either eliminated or attenuated. The interviews with the editors and translators of the period and the systematic research of the archival material reveal that the fact that so many translators of children’s literature omitted or replaced religious elements was the result of the self-censorship of the translators who, consciously or subconsciously, internalized the Communist attitude towards religion. The ideological changes of the translations will be illustrated with the examples taken from Yugoslav translations of Johanna Spyri’s novel for juvenile audience: Heidi. Finally, it will be shown that numerous translations that were created in that period are still reprinted or appear in primary school primers and textbooks today.

Short Biography

Professor Pokorn’s research interests include translation theory, translation studies, translation and censorship, directionality in translation and translation history. She is the author of Challenging the Traditional Axioms: Translation into a non-mother tongue, (Amsterdam and Philadelphia 2005) and Post-socialist translation practices: ideological struggle in children’s literature (Amsterdam and Philadelphia 2012). She is also editor of Why Translation Studies Matters with Daniel Gile and Gyde Hansen (Amsterdam and Philadelpia 2010). Forthcoming articles are on self-censorship in the Communist period and healthcare interpreting.


Together with the lecture there we will open the newest photography exhibit of the Slovenian photographer Matej Sitar, called America, My Way. It conists of 18 enlarged polaroid photos, which were taken during his travel through the USA.


The lecture will take place on Thursday 12th of May at Slovenian Museum and Archives (6407 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland, OH 44103) at 6:30PM. The doors open at 6:00PM.

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is in the front or in the back.