The German market has a strong appetite for Hungarian music exports – but the path to selling their work overseas remains a rocky one for most Hungarian artists. While the language barrier is often cited as the main cause, Gyorgy Szabo argues that it is an economic rather than a language issue. Overseas markets are comfortable with Hungarian language artistic products – especially classical music – but the pathways for an artist to take their creations overseas simply don’t exist in most cases. Szabo, who used to head the Trafo House of Contemporary Arts in Hungary, has complained the country is not focusing enough on creating international events that allow for regular contact between Hungarian artists, and foreign business people who have the power and connections to bring their productions to other markets.
Outside of Hungary, however, there are events which help to consistently spread Hungarian arts – as evidenced by the latest Hungarian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Amongst the line-up of films is Just The Wind, a promising creation which is being put forward as a strong contender for best foreign language film at the next Academy Awards.
But even the type of artistic products being produced in Hungarian are beginning to shift. For example, a recent ebook entitled K-9 Commando has become wildly popular in Hungary. The book tells the real life stories of police and army dogs from all over the world. The popularity of the book has led to it now being translated into a German and other languages for foreign markets. The translation process makes works originally created by Hungarian authors much more accessible to foreign markets – but that process is not available for creators of certain art forms, such as music, which loses much of its original effect when translated.
In other news the Hungarian government has been engaged in discussions over how to best help Hungarian language speakers living outside of Hungary, who often face difficulties when it comes to freely expressing Hungarian culture and speaking their native language. The talks focused on Ukraine, Serbia and Romania, and various developments in language learning programs and laws in those countries.