German translators take their case for better pay to court

Deutsche Welle has an article in English on German literary translators, with a picture of Harry Rowohlt in his Lindenstraße role.

2 thoughts on “German translators take their case for better pay to court

  1. … “There is only one Dan Brown, one John Grisham and one Joanne Rowling in this world,” he said. “But just in Germany there are several thousand translators who can translate these works.”

    I guess he means “can” as in “are, in principle, able to”, not as in “will produce a German version that is just as funny, witty, exciting, etc. like the original, reads like one, and will sell like one, too” – to keep in line with a sentence earlier in the text which I personally like very much: “several different groups of artists, including translators” :-)
    It is not very difficult to convert high-quality literature from abroad into “schlock” through a bad translation. I’ve been trying to read Mark Costello’s “Paranoia”, a highly praised novel, for quite some time now, but keep throwing it at the wall in frustration after a few pages. It’s full of nonsense like “ein Auto mit geschwärzten Fenstern” and has at least three typos per page. (And I will never be able to lend it to anyone withouth them taking me for a lunatic, because it’s full of comments)

    Phew, that’s my daily rant over with ;-))

  2. Nicolette: right: I don’t think in the case of Karin Krieger that Piper Verlag did themselves any good when they found another translator. And being able to translate Brown or Grisham or Rowling so it reads fluently is not a trivial ability.

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