In Mailbox this week: Hašlerky one more time, response on Facebook, differences between sound and text in Radio Prague's programmes. Listeners quoted: Tom Caprioli, Justyna Joanna Jot, Siegfried Rambaum, Martin Vala.

Hello and thanks for tuning in to Mailbox, a weekly forum for your views, comments and questions.

Last week we talked about the traditional Czech herbal candy Hašlerky and whether it could be obtained in Los Angeles, California. In the meantime we received this e-mail from Tom Caprioli from the United States:

“In response to Vladimir Val Cymbal's request for a source for Hašlerky in the United States, I have found a store in New York City that serves Czech and Slovak products. They sell Hašlerky both original and extra strong. By the way, the candy Hašlerky was named after the ‘author and singer Karel Hasler’ [as you write in an Arts programme from October 8, 2004] I hope this helps.”

Thank you, Tom, both for the information and the correction of the typo I made in that article back in 2004.

Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you feel like commenting on any of our programmes or if you spot a typo, for that matter. You can do so by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or if you are on Facebook, you can easily comment on the features that Radio Prague posts on its profile page. Let me quote the Facebook comments attached to the link to the November 17th special “Národní třída: prominent Prague boulevard that has witnessed history”:

Národní třída
Justyna Joanna Jot wrote: “I'm fond of this boulevard. :)”

And Siegfried Rambaum said this: “A great report! What is the music about 4:15 into the feature?”

The music is the fourth movement of "My Country" by Bedřich Smetana, called "From Bohemia’s Woods and Meadows". Radio Prague broadcast a special programme about that as well, last year:

And Siegfried Rambaum replies: “Děkuji. I got two recordings of ‘Má vlast’ from the local library. Amazing, how much different orchestras differ in their presentation.”

It’s not often that we get mail from people listening to or reading our programmes here in the Czech Republic. Martin Vala who lives in this country, sent us this message in Czech which we are quoting in translation:

“I’m glad I have found a chance to read while at the same time listen to a text in English but I can’t help asking what causes the tiny differences between the recording and the written text. Is it because the recording is made first and the transcript only subsequently?”

I can think of several instances when such differences can occur. One is that you write a script first, record the programme and find that it’s too long. So the recording is edited down but the text can be posted on the web in its original length. Also if the programme relies heavily on sound, the text needs to be edited to be understandable also as a written article. Very often the interviewees are not native speakers of English and can make small mistakes. We feel it’s not unethical to improve the grammar in the written text, of course without changing the meaning.

Thank you as always for your comments and please keep them coming. To wrap up today’s Mailbox, here is our regular quiz question:

This month we are looking for the name of the Czech-German author and historian who was born in Prague in 1896 and died in 1970 in Rome.

We await your answers at [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic by the end of November. Next week in Mailbox, we will disclose the identity of the mystery man and announce the name of the lucky listener who will receive a Radio Prague goodie bag for his or her correct answer. Until then, happy listening.