Gospel translations

Here is the latest translation that I have done for Gospeltranslations:


New German poem

After my brief, albeit successful, encounter with poetry in 2015, I haven´t had much opportunity to try my hand at verse, until last Friday, when I went along to the "Schreibwerkstatt" (writing workshop) at the Freitagsklub of the Deutsch Centre Manchester.

The theme for the evening was "Zu Hause sein" (being at home) and under the masterly guidance of our tutor we first did some brainstorming and talked about our background and experiences, before jotting down some ideas. Ilja then gave us some prompts and invited us to take notes. Finally, after reading a motivational poem, we were given some time to work on our own.

I felt quite inspired and came up with a very good outline, which after a good nights sleep and some tweaks developed into the following:


Da komm ich her

Ich komme von ganz oben

von den hohen Bergen

den mächtigen Bergen


beeindruckend, umwerfend

im Norden und im Süden

man weiß immer wo man ist

wir wissen immer wer wir sind

weil bisch a Tiroler, bisch a Mensch.


Ich komme von ganz unten

von einfachen Leuten

Bauern und Arbeitern

alleinstehenden Frauen

wir kennen unseren Platz in der Gesellschaft

weil so wie de des samma nit


Die Große bin ich

und doch ganz klein

lief noch ehe ich gehen konnte

zum grünen Fluß

zum Baggersee

dann mit dem Rad

in die Stadt

die Stadt mit dem goldenen Dach


Ich komme aus dem Vorort

dem neuen Vorort

Betonklötze, Hochhäuser, Industrie

daneben das Dorf

das so heißt wie das Getränk

Felder, Brauchtum, Vieh


Ich komme von vielen Sprachen und Ländern

aus Europa komme ich

der europäischen Union

aus der Gemeinschaft

der Gemeinschaft der Völker

der Gemeinschaft der Kulturen

der Gemeinschaft der Familie

der Gemeinschaft Christi

jeden Sonntag

jeden Tag


Ich komme vom Essen

selbstgekochtem Essen

gesundem, abwechslungsreichem Essen

Essen, das wichtiger ist als Kleidung

Essen, das Leib und Seele zusammenhält


Ich komme daher, wo man dem Nachbarn gefällt

wo Freundlichkeit und Höflichkeit zählt

und niemals ein Schimpfwort fällt

man sich aber trotzdem streitet

und die Meinung sagt

manchmal nur hinterm Rücken



Ich komme aus dem Land der Bücher

dem Land der Wörter

der Wörterbücher

wo viel gesagt wird, ohne etwas zu sagen

weil, des müss ma uns nu überlegen,

schau ma mal,

des hat ja nu Zeit.


Ich komme aus dem Grünen

grüne Bäume,

grüne Wiesen,

grüne Gedanken


und sparen, sparen, sparen

des könnt ja noch für was gut sein


Ich komme aus dem Zwiespalt

der Enge und der Weite

der Bildung und der Kenntnislosigkeit

des Glaubens und der Gottlosigkeit

der Arbeit und des Trödelns

dem ewigen Naja


Naja, da komm ich halt her









NWTN Social Saturday

On Saturday, 3 December the NWTN held its very first Social Saturday.

About 15 of us met at the YHA to discuss the merits or otherwise of Google Translate.

Angela Sigee, the organiser, had brought along some fun and interesting articles in various languages, alongside their Google-Translate-translation into English.

We split up into language groups and chose one of the articles each to discuss and study. In my German group we chose an article from a Swiss satircal magazine about health remedies. The English translation was in some parts not too bad, but in others barely comprehensible. There were also some hilarious instances when the wrong option from a variety of possible solutions had been chosen.

At the end we all came back together again to compare our findings. Similar observations were made in the other groups, but it seemed that Google-Translate fared better in more common languages like French or Spanish, but did quite badly in Czech or Polish.

All in all it was reassuring to see that the input of human translators is still necessary and we are still some way (if ever) from being replaced.










Translation Slam 

Same Differences? A Chinese Translation Slam with Nicky Harman, Helen Wang and Lyn Marven

Nicky Harman

The Chinese Translation Slam was held at the Victoria Gallery & Museum on Sunday 30 October from 5pm - 6.15pm. 

Distinguished translators Nicky Harman and Helen Wang both translatd the same extract from Louis Cha’s wuxia martial arts novel, Legend of the Condor Heroes, and presented their versions to the audience. They talked about the difficulties they faced and the choices they made.

There was lively discussion afterwards and some intersting input from some Chinese students in the audience. 

As I am currently working on my first novel translation, it was quite reassuring to hear that these well-established literary translators were having the same struggles as I have and that they were using similar solution-finding approaches to me. 

I was also fascinated by the additional complications that you have to consider when translating from Chinese. For example, there might be one symbol in Chinese that stands for a complicated concept - so in English you may need a full three sentences in order to describe it. There are also no tenses or expressions for singular or plural. 

All this would explain why the two versions of the same extract read very differently. It could have been two different books, in fact.

A very insightful evening which demonstrated the very personal and creative act of translating.















Stephen Spender Prize - Translation Award

I am delighted to announce that my entry "Title Colon Dictation" received a commendation in the Open Category of the Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation

Each year, since 2004, translations of poems from any language into English have been awarded prizes in three categories: 14 and under, 18 and under, and Open. I entered the open competition with a translation of "Überschrift Doppelpunkt Diktat" by contemporary German poet and comedian Michael Schönen, and I am very pleased that the judges considered it to be among the top eight out of 300 entries.

Please find my entry and the accompanying commentary here.

The full list of winners and commendations is here.

I was quite impressed by some of the entries from the younger candidates, "Allegro" by Beatrix Crinnion being a personal favourite.

A big thank you also to judges WN Herbert and Jo Balmer for the special mention in their comments.