Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's 1990 translation is largely regarded as the canonical English translation today. For this novel, they were awarded the PEN Translation Prize. This hardback edition was released by Knopf Doubleday.
Their version preserves the spirit of the original while updating it to modern sensibilities. It is accurate and elegant, with a clarity that makes sense of an often confusing work.
This version has been praised for its translation of Russian literary terms which are difficult for English speakers to understand. An example is the use of "besmirchecen" instead of "berührt". Which means "touching" but also means "polluted".
Beside being accurate, another reason why this translation is good is because it brings out the essence of the story. The authors don't try to put their own interpretation on the text which would change the spirit of the story.
Sometimes people think that changing some words might improve the quality of the translation. For example, some people think that using more colloquial expressions would make the story more accessible to readers. This isn't true though; only parts of speech, syntax and sentence structure can be changed without changing the meaning of the text.
People also tend to like or dislike particular characters or events in the story.
Katherine Tiernan O'Connor and Diana Burgin (Ardis, 1995). If one is interested in understanding what Bulgakov actually wrote, Burgin and O'Connor's translation is by far the finest. They have the benefit of some 30 years of Bulgakov studies, which they take into account in their translation, which is accurate in every detail. Their interpretation is subtle yet clear, and they avoid any possible misunderstanding. This translation is not intended for those who want a novelized version of Bulgakov's life; rather, it aims to convey his artistic vision as faithfully as possible.
When it was first published in Russia in 1966, this novel caused quite a stir because of its explicit sexual content and satirical view of religion. The KGB ordered that all copies be destroyed and anyone found with a remaining copy be punished by death. Although censorship laws had been passed prohibiting publications that were considered harmful to society's morals, no other book had ever before been banned on these grounds.
Because of this threat, only a few people knew it existed until 1990 when it was finally released from its prison. By then, it was too late - the damage had already been done. But even now, twenty-five years later, it continues to sell well over 100,000 copies a year. This shows how important Bulgakov was to Russian readers at the time he lived.
He used his fame to criticize many aspects of Soviet culture, including religion, so this made him very unpopular with the authorities.
Edition for the Modern Library Online versions are available for free from MIT and Gutenberg. This is the only single-volume Plutarch translation I've ever seen, so if compactness and keeping everything in one location are important to you, this may be the greatest Plutarch translation for you. Otherwise, try the Loeb Classical Library edition by Herbert Weir Smyth (1906). It has very full notes and an excellent index.
Which translation of "In Search of Lost Time" is the best? The Moncrieff-Gilmartin translation is largely regarded as the best English translation. This edition was released in 1989.
Other translations include: the Wollheim translation from 1962; the O'Shaughnessy translation from 1973; and the recent New York Review of Books translation by David Luke.
The novel has been translated into more languages than any other work except for the Bible. It has been translated into Afrikaans, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
It was also translated into Albanian during the time that Italy and Switzerland were negotiating an agreement under which Italy would exchange territories with Switzerland. When it was discovered that this agreement would make Italy too small a country for the book to remain eligible for the Nobel Prize, it was decided to exclude it from the deal. The government of Albania refused to accept the translation as valid until today.
Finally, there is a rumor that In Search of Lost Time has been translated into Hindi but this has not been confirmed by any source other than our own belief.