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.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Babai / Father (Germany, 2015)

Drama, 104 min., written & directed by Visar Morina for Niko Films.
Under its working title of My Father, I translated a variety of synopses and treatments as well as the screenplay of this feature-length movie for Alias Film& Sprachtransfer.
The plot to the movie, as supplied on the Niko Films website: "Ten-year old Nori (Val Maloku) and his father Gesim (Astrit Kabashi) earn their living by selling cigarettes in pre-war Kosovo of the nineties. Gesim will hear nothing of Nori's mother. He is an expert at escaping the past and now he wants to flee Kosovo, without Nori. But the boy tries everything in his means to prevent his dad from leaving. An accident results. The shocked father takes Nori to the hospital. When Nori gets out, his father is simply gone. Angry, yet determined, Nori sets out on a perilous journey to find his father and indeed finds him in Germany. With the persistence only a child can have, he confronts his father and cannot forgive him for desertion." 
Babai is proving to be a film festival favorite and is raking in the nomination and awards.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Artists Labels of Fattoria Nittardi / Die Künstleretiketten von Nittardi

Nittardi is a family winery situated in the heart of the Chianti Classico region of Italy. The earliest known reference to the property, which is located on the boundary between the provinces of Siena and Florence, is a document from 1183 that refers to a defensive tower known a "Nectar Dei". By the 16th century, the expansive property belonged to the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Over the centuries the property changed hands often until, in the early 80s, it was taken over by the Frankfurt publisher and art gallerist Peter Femfert and his wife Stefania Canali, a historian from Venice. They restored Nittardi with love and care, and replanted the vineyards. Their son, Léon Femfert, has been involved full time at the winery since early 2013.
In honor of the artistic history of the winery, every year since 1981 a well-known artist has supplied the artwork for the label as well as the wrapping paper used for the Casanuova di Nittardi Vigna Doghessa wine bottles. The list of participating, internationally renowned artists includes, among others:  Hundertwasser, Corneille, A.R. Penck, Mitoraj, Yoko Ono, Horst Janssen, Valerio Adami, Eduardo Arroyo, Elvira Bach, Robert Combas and Mimmo Paladino.
To the thirtieth anniversary of the wine label tradition, Nittardi published this book featuring the complete collection of the by then 30 different artist labels and corresponding wrapping papers. The texts were supplied by the respected wine experts Jeannie Cho Lee MW and Thomas Schröder, and I did the translations.
The book, as well a broad selection of the fine Nittardi products, can be obtained at select fine shops or online at Stefania Canali.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Head Cold / Schnupfen im Kopf

A Film by Gamma Bak, Germany 2010, Running Time: 92 min. In German, English and Hungarian.
Head Cold was the first of Gamma Bak's film projects that I ever worked on. I translated a variety of subtitles and text cards, the press release, and diverse informational texts. I'm not really sure how Gamma Bak came to use my services, but since then she's pulled me in on a number of projects in which she was involved, including her recent documentary Engelbecken, and the J. Jackie Baier documentaries House of Shame: Chantal All Night Long (2011) and Julia (2013).
German Trailer:
Over at imdb, hudsonwa of New York, New York, has a good synopsis/review of the feature-length documentary:
"A plain-spoken and honest answer to the question, 'What is it like to be psychotic'? To start, there is the great loneliness of serious illness. The title refers to a comment by Gamma Bak's partner at the time, during her first crisis: 'This is all like a head cold, it will pass.'
"Gamma Bak had her first psychosis in 1995, when she was thirty years old, working as a film director and producer in Berlin. Bak was supposed to be part of the free generation – a Jew from Hungary, who never knew totalitarianism, living a free and easy life in an open society. What she got instead was an adult life punctuated by seven episodes of schizoid-affective psychosis, in and out of psychiatric institutions, treated by a total of fourteen doctors and six psychologists, and prescribed twenty-four different anti-psychotic drugs over fourteen years.
"Bak tells her story through a series of interviews – with friends, ex-partners, colleagues, relatives, a fellow patient, and with herself – and clips from previous films, including East… West… Home's Best (1992) and Eine Frau und ihr Kontrabass (A Woman and Her Contrabass, 1994).
"There's no trace of exhibitionism in Bak's relentless gaze, and no voyeurism in this documentary. Instead, the film grapples openly with questions of responsibility for one's own life, and the necessity of walking through what cannot be overcome."
English Trailer:

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Kleist File / Die Akte Kleist (2010)

(52/43 min.) Directed by Torsten Striegnitz, written by Simone Dobmeier, Hedwig Schmutte & Torsten Striegnitz, produced by Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, Berlin, in coproduction with rbb and cooperation with ARTE, funded by the Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg.
In 2009, I translated the original treatment, synopsis, and storyboards to this documentary film starring Meret Becker (of Killer Condom / Kondom des Grauens [1996 / trailer] and Wetlands Feuchtgebiete  [2013 / trailer]) and Alexander Beyer (of Sun Alley / Sonnenallee [1999 / trailer] and Good Bye Lenin! [2003 / trailer]).
The documentary, as explained in the press release: "Potsdam, the 21st of November, 1811. [...] Early in the morning, Henriette Vogel had herself dressed in a white dress with cambric lace. Then [she and Kleist] went for a walk in the forest, hand in hand. Now, at the side of the lake, they have ordered coffee and are playfully relaxing like two infatuated children. A few seconds later, two gunshots ring out: The first bullet hits her directly in the heart, the second one hits Kleist directly in the head. A short time later, the two bodies are found by the Prussian police in a sand hollow close to the lakeshore. In the minutes of the investigating officers, it is noted that no weapons were found at the crime scene. [...] What exactly happened at the Lesser Wannsee lake? Why did one of the greatest German dramatists have to die a violent death at the age of 34? The police reports made at the historical crime scene reveal when the couple arrived at the inn, what they ate in their last hours, and even how much the saw cost that broke on Kleist's skull during the autopsy. But all the available details do not answer the question: Why did Kleist have to die? Is the death the result of an adventurous biography, or does it actually present the key to understanding the brilliancy of his work? [...] We start, after 200 years, by re-opening the file. Was Kleist shot by someone? Or did he shoot himself? On the basis of the Prussian protocols we reconstruct the crime scene; we return to the original location and, with the assistance of actors, we recreate the possible sequence of events — in all possible variations. Was Kleist the victim or perpetrator? Was it a political intrigue, a relationship drama, or an act of desperation?"
Watch the documentary and find out.