Welcome to Est. 1999, the official blog of Abraham Translations. As is perhaps easy to surmise, the name of this blog reflects the year that Abraham Translations was founded.
It all began with the correction of a few texts that had been translated by another time-pressed translator. Within the year, translating had become my main source of income; now, it has long been the only way I put bacon on the table.
I am rather proud of many of the projects on which I have worked.
Est. 1999, basically, is a visual confirmation of past projects, a blowing of my own horn, a presentation of translator-related topics, and an occasional departure into other areas that I deem worthy of presenting. Enjoy.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Swimming Pool - Der Tod feiert mit / The Pool (2001)

German Trailer:
One of the first screenplays I ever worked on was an early version of this slasher directed by Boris von Sychowski. The movie's two main distinctive features are a particular nasty death involving a waterslide and machete, and a then-unknown James McAvoy (of The Last King of Scotland [2006 / trailer] and Wanted [2008 / trailer]) as one of the body count. The fact that the cast was international was one of the reasons an English-language script was needed.
English Trailer:
The screenplay translation job actually belonged to the talented translator Finbarr Morrin, but for a variety of reasons he pulled me in to help. We were allowed to suggest alternative dialogue, a rarity when it comes to screenplay translating. And though the final script filmed obviously went through many more hands (a whole secondary subplot was later added), when I finally caught Swimming Pool on DVD I recognized at least one of my lines: a "joke" said in passing that was so timely — it was tailored around the then-current pop hit by the Bloodhound Gang, The Bad Touch, and the lyric "You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals; so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel" — that it's incomprehensible to today's audience.
Remember the song? Refresh your memory with the video below.
Bloodhound Gang, The Bad Touch:

Friday, 13 February 2015

Nikos the Impaler (Germany, 2003)

We all start somewhere. When I started out as a translator, I did a lot of projects for Subs, Hamburg, but then they began relying on in-house and local talent, my prices slowly went up as I gained experience, and, finally, all those I knew at the firm moved on to new stages in life such as other jobs or children. Nowadays, in general, I don't work all that often as a subcontractor anymore, as most of my clients contact me directly, but Subs did help get my initial experience, for which I am forever grateful.
Among the many projects I did for them way back then was to translate a treatment to this low budget and high-gore splatter film directed by one of Germany's premier purveyors of cheap, socially unredeeming cinematic gore and guts and breasts, Andreas Schnaas. My taste in films is rather broad, but I do admit to being a fan of cinematic flotsam and guilty pleasures. Thus, I rather enjoyed the job — and, later, when I finally watched it, the entertainingly trashy gore flick that is Nikos the Impaler.
Trailer to Nikos the Impaler
(Possibly NSFW):

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Cargo: Comic Journalism Israel-Germany

In 2005, Jens Harder approached me to do the translation to Ticket to God, his installment in the 6-story collection published by the Berlin-based Avanti-Verlag, Cargo: Comic Journalism Israel-Germany (ISBN-10: 3980942899 / ISBN-13: 978-3980942898).
Over at Atomic Avenue, Jack Abramowitz says the following about the collection: "Six artists — three from Israel and three from Germany — went on a sort of exchange program. The Israelis visited Germany; the Germans visited Israel; and both groups detailed the impressions they received from their trips.
For some reason, the Germans' impressions of Israel are more engaging. Is Israel inherently more interesting than Germany? Are the German artists more talented storytellers than the Israelis? Is it just dumb luck? Whatever the reason, Tim Dinter, Jan Feindt, and Jens Harder tell us quite a bit about Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, The Church of The Holy Sepulcher, and life in a Bedouin village. The contributions of Yirmi Pinkus, Rutu Modan, and Guy Morad, while still enjoyable and exhibiting talent, tell little of Berlin; rather, they resemble 'what I did on my summer vacation' reports.
Even though the stories may tell readers less about Deutschland, they still say much about the artists. Morad's Memories, for example, is presumably autobiographical. It's as well constructed as any tale of pure fiction could hope to be, even though its Kreuzberg setting is not indispensable."
This is to date the only graphic novel I've worked on. The other times I've been approached to translate one, I've had to pass up on the project — less due to the meager budgets than to the unrealistically short schedules demanded.
A general hint to all clients strapped with a low budget: if you want to get a quality translation at a low budget, make sure that you trade-off by offering the translator a longer-than-realistic schedule and not an unrealistically short deadline. No translator is happy to do a low-paying job with a stressfully short deadline that literally prevents a quality translation. A professional translator is likely to say "No" to such a project simply because it's fraught with negatives: you get less pay but double the stress, and you also have to turn down other small, beer-paying jobs that you might have slipped in in-between were it not for the tight schedule.