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):

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