Assen Zidarov – “Radio Bulgaria, my love”


Since it emerged 82 years ago, Radio Bulgaria has remained loyal to its mission to present an authentic image of this country to the rest of the world. Its poly-thematic profile and the specifics of the Bulgarian language have made the process of translation of broadcasts and articles into nine foreign languages a challenge. This has mastered the skills of translators who successfully handle any translation regardless of the subject and the style of the original. Their translation work displays invariably excellent quality.

The professionalism of the foreign language teams of the Bulgarian National Radio are epitomized by the persons who have dedicated a lot of time and effort to Radio Bulgaria including Bulgarian-British intellectual Petar Ouvaliev (a.k.a. Pierre Rouve), actor Joko Rosic, translator Krastan Dyankov. For them their job at BNR was a privilege and this shows in their interviews kept at the National Radio Golden Archives.

Today we meet with one of Radio Bulgaria’s golden voices, a professional who has been lucky to work with some of the veritable legends at the international service – Assen Zidarov. Apart from a long-standing translator and presenter at the French Section of Radio Bulgaria Assen – after his retirement, is still remembered by his colleagues as The Cyclist. The stocktaking that he makes is that he has cycled about 140,000 km including three tours of the Czech Republic that he completed with his daughter. His greatest passion though remains his work for Radio Bulgaria. He goes back in time to that period of his life:

I should like to say that I am exceptionally happy to be interviewed by Radio Bulgaria where I spent my entire career. In the course of 39 years I worked for the French Service and I have great memories of that time. Apart from translation and presentation of programs I also took several hundred interviews. I hosted my own show ‘Sofia, my love’ which our listeners in France and Belgium liked a lot. It included reports from various points of the capital city. One of the most successful ones was a 50-minute program focused on street musicians. I toured many places and recorded their music, asked them questions and translated all this into French. I spent a long time editing the sound material with sound engineers. In this show I included at least ten performances of different musicians. Some of the shows were devoted to my favorite streets. One of them was very poetic as it presented Tsar Ivan Shishman str. I imagined how the city woke up with the first passers-by.”

The kiss

We met with Assen Zidarov also on the occasion of the photo exhibition that he has mounted at the House of Cinema in Sofia. It is on until 7 June, has the motto Photo Fantasy and is full of unexpected imagery. Photography is the latest passion of Assen Zidarov. The mastery and hard work invested in the creation of the photos helps us see a lot of trivial objects in a new and unusual way. It is remarkable that the photos which are more like works of fine art have been created with very little help from the computer. Due to eyesight problems Assen avoids spending much time in front of the computer screen. He recaps that he is happy with the insights that photography gives him. This is how his vocations and hobbies actually pay off.

The messenger

English Daniela Konstantinova

Photos: courtesy of Assen Zidarov
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