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.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Hotel Sahara (2008)

(Documentary, 86/52min, written and directed by Bettina Haasen, produced by Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, development funded by Media Development and UNESCO, production funded by FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, DFFF, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, and MEDIA Program.)
Some projects go a long way back. My first involvement with this project was in 2005, when I translated some early documents related to the film’s development. I was to work on and off on various texts for the next two or three years. Then, as normal, nothing — until one day I noticed that the documentary film had been released. (Often I find that out accidentally when channel hopping and I catch this or that production I once worked on being broadcast on arte, 3Sat or some German regional broadcaster.) 
To use the synopsis at Gebrueder Beetz: "A dead-straight, endless road leading to nowhere. And at the end of the road: Nouadhibou, a town in the West African country Mauritania,* bordered by the ocean on one side and the Sahara Desert on the other. A bleak and inhospitable departure point for the tens of thousands of people that pour in from neighboring countries, all with only one dream in mind: Europe. Hotel Sahara is a film journey to the last invisible border separating the West-African coast and Europe. The bleak city on the Atlantic Coast is a metaphor, a point of arrival and of departure, a gathering place of broken dreams — a place of waiting for that better life on the far side of the Atlantic. It is above all a no-man's land, a place of endless waiting and endless hoping. The film reveals how difficult it is to differentiate between 'true' and 'false' refugees. Is one 'real' only when threatened life and limb? What if one simply desires to escape a deadening lack of perspective? With an observant and cautious eye, Hotel Sahara documents how closely the dream of a better life is linked to sudden stagnancy, and how much patience is required to wait for years to finally, perhaps, arrive somewhere."
* A country, interestingly enough, in which owning slaves was still legal up until 2007. 
A serious film for serious times. One that shares its title with a non-serious film full of white folks from less serious times, 1951: the British comedy feature directed by Ken Annakin and starring Yvonne De Carlo, Peter Ustinov and David Tomlinson.
Trailer to
Hotel Sahara (1951):

Saturday, 19 March 2016

God Bless Iceland (2009)

God Bless Iceland (58' & 70' & 100') was written by Titti Johnson and Helgi Felixson, the latter of whom also directed. A ma.ja.de. production made in co-production with Felixfilm (SE), Irisfilm (IS), SVT (SE), RUV (IS), and NDR; and in association with arte, YLE (FI) DRTV (DK) and TV2 (NO). Supported by the Nordic Film & TV Fond and IcelandicFilm Centre.
Under its original working title, "Point of No Return", I translated and/or corrected a few funding applications for this documentary, and later I also translated some of the voice-over commentary. (Please note, I did NOT do the subtitles; had I, they would've been cleaner and with fewer mistakes.)
Deckert Distribution, which distributes the documentary, gives the following summary: "The financial crisis has hit the core existence of no other country as hard as the small nation of Iceland: A country, that in the last years has been one of the most prosperous nations in the world, suddenly becomes a metaphor for the global crisis and a proof for the uncontrollability of raging turbo-capitalism.
"In the last months the world is shown a series of dramatic pictures: Outraged demonstrators in the centre of Reykjavik, finally the resignation of leaders in banks and government as well as the election in May 2009.
"God Bless Iceland tells the story of the financial crisis in Iceland, diving into the very real and daily confrontations of the calamity, which undermined not only the economy of Iceland but the very identity of the small island nation as well."

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Midsummer Night's Tango (2013)

Made in co-production with Illume Ltd. (Finland), Gema Films (Argentina), SF and 3sat, with the support of the MEDIA Progamme of the European Union, and funding by Filmförderungsanstalt – FFA, Mediaboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Finnish Film Foundation, and the Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales.
English Trailer:
Midsummer Night's Tango_Trailer from gebrueder beetz filmproduktion on Vimeo. 
Written and directed by Viviane Blumenschein
I translated two or three different treatment versions to this documentary cum road movie in 2011, when its working title was Cheek to Cheek – An Argentinean Discovers Finnish Tango / Wange an Wange – Ein Argentinier entdeckt den finnischen Tango.
The description of the final version, Midsummer Night's Tango, as found on Gebrueder Beetz: "Finns have a quirky sense of humour – and are a bit shy. But: Tango is THE folk music of the Finns. The documentary discovers the Finnish tango from the viewpoint of the singer Chino Laborde, the guitarist Diego 'DIPI' Kvitko and the bandoneonist Pablo Greco. The three Argentine musicians travel to Finland to find out whether Aki Kaurismäki is telling the truth when he asserts that tango music was invented in Finland."
Actually, "Argentinean tango" is a misnomer in the first place, as tango arose simultaneously on both sides of the Rio de la Plate in the lower income areas of Montevideo, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, towards the end of the 19th century. 
For your listening pleasure,
the most famous "Argentinean tango" ever written: 
La Cumparsita, composed in 1916 by
the Uruguayan Gerardo Matos Rodríguez:

Saturday, 5 March 2016

LOUISE NEVELSON – Creativity shaped my life

(ISBN-10: 3925782826, ISBN-13: 978-3925782824)
DIE GALERIE, Frankfurt, published this catalog to accompany their career review of the great American sculptor Louise Nevelson. The show ran from 5 June - 6 September 2014. The 120-page, bilingual (German and English) catalog included an introduction by Peter Femfert and texts by Louise Nevelson; Bruno Corà, the director of the Cassino Museo Arte Contemporanea; Dr. Christoph Grunenberg, the director of the Kunsthalle Bremen; Dr. Andrea Stoll; and Damiano Femfert.
The full piece: Untitled, 1982 (Photo: Die Galerie, Frankfurt)

The on-line journal Articulating had the following to say about the artist and show: "The work of American artist Louise Nevelson, one of the most significant sculptresses* of the 20th century, has left an indelible mark on the history of art. Despite the multitude of influences that shine through her art, Nevelson's work defies any specific art historical categorisation. The exhibition LOUISE NEVELSON - Creativity shaped my life in Frankfurt's DIE GALERIE is a retrospective journey of the artist's work in all its essential facets. [...]"
*I can't help but wonder: Does one really still refer to women sculptors as sculptresses? Most women I know would claim otherwise. What's your opinion?