I’m in the revisions stage now, and going back through an earlier section, I found a parenthetical note to myself that says: “no way, samovoz,” and then the page number in the hard copy.
The English passage in question is this:
No one saw him as he was leaving, and no one knew when did so. But he left in time, when it was still possible to take one’s own car to Zagreb and onward, to who knows where.
The time in question is approximately 1944. The “he” in question is a high ranking Home Guard officer from Croatia, stationed in Sarajevo, which means he was watching the political landscape carefully to figure out when he would need to escape, as the Independent State of Croatia began to collapse. The word samovoz is where I’ve got “one’s own car,” which is not much of an attempt, I realize, to convey all the nuance of the Croatian word. The problem is that it was a neologism for car under that particular regime, created probably around 1941, as the Independent State of Croatia itself came into being.
I have toyed with three or four different possible ways of sneaking more of the ideological content in somehow. While it was probably a German car, calling it a “fascist car” seems odd and might create more confusion than it’s worth. Creating some sort of Orwellian neologism in English might be fun, but that too would likely put too much emphasis on what is, in effect, a subtle passing comment by the narrator-author, which serves to situate the text historically. It could also imply a bit of the officer’s own viewpoint through the use of the word he might have used.
This is one I think I may have to let go.