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.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Bloemaert Effect: Colour and Composition in the Golden Age

Catalog to the exhibition at the Centraal Museum of Utrecht, (11 Nov. 2011-5 Feb. 2012) and the Staatliches Museum Schwerin (24 Feb.-28 May 2012). (Hardcover, Michael Imhof Verlag [Dec. 7, 2012] ISBN-10: 3865687318, ISBN-13: 978-3865687319, 192 pages)
This Abraham Bloemaert catalog was actually a project of my fellow translator Finbarr Morrin, but due to the size of the job he (as is common in the business) pulled in a variety of translators to help, including moi. In all truth, I enjoyed the job immensely and was rather jealous of being only a subcontractor.
We went to the opening of the exhibition in Schwerin, which in itself was an excellent show of an excellent artist. Throughout the entire show, English and German explanations of the relevant history were found in large type on the walls and, next to each painting, small edited and/or partially re-written versions of the explanatory texts of the catalog, including those I had done.
Somewhere along the way, however, the decision had obviously been made that all the new English-language texts on the walls as well as the rewritten explanations didn't need to be checked by a native speaker. The result? The very first sentence at the entranceway had a glaring grammatical error, the first of a variety to be found in the welcoming wall text. In fact, so many of the English wall texts we read in the exhibition were equally flawed that we stopped looking at them. It truly hurt to see texts that had been translated with love and care mangled by the editing and re-writing of someone who obviously thought their English-as-a-foreign-language skills were too good to require checking by a native speaker.
But then, that happens often with translations: the contracting client, convinced of his or her own abilities (or the abilities of some subordinate), rewrites and edits and changes the text(s), creating something that is embarrassing to a native speaker and absolutely mortifying for the original translator.
Luckily, the texts as found in the catalog were not retouched, and the publication remains of the kind that a translator is proud to have taken part in.

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