Monthly Archives: November 2010

Goethe for a grey November day

Building your business is like planting a garden. A fellow translator once said that and I liked it then.
Looking out of the window on a grey November day, the idea sounds less tempting.
Well, it might be right with regard to careful planning and selecting the best suited soil, plants and fertilizer – but what about Darwin and survival of those that adapt best?
What about the joyful discovery of new developments, of beautiful wild flowers and berries, what about attracting birds and butterflies?
On a grey November day, let’s support the artistic angle of the language business.
The land of translation is like the land of song: Infinite and inspiring, disregarding whether you’re dealing with joyful, exciting, simple, complicated or even dull varieties.
You struggle, you discover, you enjoy the plenitude.

And, as for the building aspect, there is an ever true stanza from Goethe’s ‘Singspiel’ (playlet) Lila, set as a song (‘Beherzigung’) by Brahms and other composers:

Cowardly thoughts,
in anxious vacillation,
sissyish* hesitation
fearful lamentation
will not change adversity
will not set you free.

Opposing all force
staying true to one’s course,
never to yield,
maintaining your field,
will call the arms of the Gods
to your side.

*mmhh, obviously Goethe and his contemporaries wouldn’t have used the term “sissyish”. The Man himself called it “weibisch”, woman-like, effeminate – nothing to do with political correctness, it sounds wrong nowadays. Even someone’s attempt to translate the thought by spineless doesn’t cover the idea. Tough luck for our sisters called Sissy – the word fits best.

Matilda the Musical – Magic for souls of all ages

This post has now historic value. It was written on 11th November 2010, after only the second night of what was to become an incredible success story. For up-to-date news please check
Matilda, A Musical” at the RSC. Last night, second night performance, wow, what a treat. For a more in-depth review see: I had read Matilda, along with most other Roald Dahl books, to my then young sons in the late Eighties, in the German translation. Oh how we loved the power of cleverness, how we cheered and felt with Matilda. Last night it all came back to me and again, twenty years on, growing up felt like a thing yet to be done.
Wow, congratulations to the production team! Marvellously done, Tim Minchin.”When I grow up” had me cheering in tears! Young Adrianna Bertola as Matilda was the mate every girl would like to have, the daughter and granddaughter we’d all adopt immediately and I’m sure, grumpy though Roald Dahl was said to have been, he would have adored her impersonation of this great character.
Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchball had us all in stitches – superb, just the right mix of threat and ridiculousness – and of course, Lauren Ward as Miss Honey oh how sweet, a little girl’s dream of a teacher, and what a wonderful singing voice!

Thanks to the RSC for this great production!
By the way, I have been wondering but not done any research on it, yet, did J.K.Rowling have Matilda at the back of her head, when she first developed the idea of Harry Potter?

Markets or windmills?

A glorious late autumn day is laughing by my window, laughing at my chase of wild internet geese, giggling at the sight of an optimistic one-person business trying to pick up threads on the global translation market.
Lovely India, why does my heart sink at the sight of your name?  Venerable China, how come you’re worrying me? Is the global market just a giant Kinderdijk, the Dutch windmill wonderland? Are internet hunters just armies of fameless Don Quixotes?
Thank God, my good old personally known customers are still around – however, they could do with some company.

English French Dutch to German translation? Contact me

Dragons around

Back from a marvellous weekend in Cardiff. Such a pity that Wales lost to the Aussies – the trouble with a live match is that ref decisions can be even more mysterious than on TV.
The one good thing about being further and further removed from the age of wanting to be a princess is that you can enjoy dragons unrestrictedly – and, wow, what a great sight they all were…

November light

What a lovely morning. The sky is looking youthful and full of promises. As Max Frisch said “Anything is possible, nothing has happened, childhood fears have fallen down like shells – in a little white dress you are standing there in a meadow, a human being without entanglements, and high in the morning’s blueness, high the clouds are sailing, behind leaveless boughs..”
World, here we go – translating and summarizing a company newsletter first: how nicely creative machinery can be at times.

November start

2nd November, what a good day for a fresh start. Today, I’m meeting a French friend who is interested in sharing business ideas – finding translation customers but also drafting the offer of language courses for businesses in the area. People want to do more business with Germany and France, it seems.