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Spoiled for choice

IMG_2070Since finishing my 300-page book translation project recently, I am now once again able to read a book of my own choosing for the first time in 5 months. The question is, what book will it be? My “to read” list is oppressively long and my pile of acquired and still unread books seems to multiply as I sleep. But how am I ever supposed to narrow it down to one title when I cannot even decide what language it should be?

It is the plight of many a translator or any other bilingual word lover. We are spoiled for choice.  Learning a new language opens up a whole new world and it can also double the size of your library Рquite literally!

Reading novels is one of my greatest joys and I can still vividly remember the satisfaction I felt after reading my first novel in German for pleasure (Der Vorleser von Bernard Schlink). I then immersed myself in German literature and did not emerge for several years. I now alternate languages with each book I pick up. Once I finish my current German novel it will be time to read some of my mother tongue again.

Do you read multiple languages? And if so, how do you decide which it will be? I’d love any book recommendations you may have as well!


We're Back-

Following a week of technical difficulties, we’re back online. Translating Berlin is in transition right now, so check back soon for a new and improved website and blog.

Why not just plain "water"?

One of the coffee shop chains in Berlin has put out water for their patrons since all that coffee makes everyone so thirsty. They are also nice enough to put a label on it: “tab water”.

Some people think that the only thing required to complete a translation is a dictionary. In other cases -like this one- people think they can do it all without a dictionary.

Foto 2Foto

Spot the Translation Mistake


Can you spot the translation mistake? I took this photo a few days ago on Bernauerstrasse in Berlin. This ice-cream truck is often parked in front of the Bernauerstrasse Documentation Center, where an original piece of the Berlin Wall also stands. You can buy ice-cream here by the ‘Kugel’ or, in the English translation, by the ‘ball.’

Just goes to show that even a one-word translation can be too much of a challenge for the novice translator. Who ever said that all you need to translate is a dictionary?